Five years ago I quit my full time job that I’d been at for 17 years. It was my comfort zone. A safe place to land every day when my kids were little and I had no idea what I was doing.
I turned 40 and got pregnant with Zoe, my second. After I had her I felt the call. I didn’t want to return to work full time. Coming home at 6 pm when she was going to bed by 6:30 just didn’t feel right. Our family time was too important to me. And I KNEW there was a better way. That ‘way’ looks different for everyone. For ME it looked like baby steps to start. Backing out slowly from my full time corporate job and paving a path of more freedom.
I went down to 30 hours a week. Then 20 hours a week. Grateful my job was so flexible and accommodating. I think these days more businesses are willing to be flexible on work schedules and hours. But most Moms that I know are afraid to ask. Less then a year later I was gone for good. I took that LEAP and left. And started my own coaching business.
And guess what? I never looked back.
The freedom far outweighed the stress of starting my own thing. It took a few years to navigate how all of this works. Do I hire a nanny? Where do I work from? What will that look like? What hours do I work? I’m happy to say the whole process was better than clocking 40 hours a week in 1 building, in 1 office, sitting in 1 chair. If you’re on the fence I encourage you to take that LEAP. If you’ve just embarked on this journey I applaud you. If you’ve found the right and perfect fit…TEACH ME. Either way I have a few suggestions.
Here are the 5 things that helped me balance it all:
Ease into it. You’re not gonna have the perfect situation to start. You need to design this new routine for YOU.Feel it out and see what works and what doesn’t. When I quite my job I thought I could just work from home with my infant on my lap. That DID NOT WORK for me. Then I hired a sitter and tried to work from another room. That didn’t work either. It works for some Moms. But not all of us. So you have to ease into it and see what fits. Practice over perfection. Always.
Your weekly schedule. Plan out your ideal days. What days do you need day care or a sitter? Do you have more energy and enthusiasm for your work at the beginning of the week or the end of the week? Is there a day you’d love to volunteer at your kids school. Can you leave your Fridays mornings open? Can work start after your morning workout? Keep the focus on what is IDEAL. You may have to work your way up to it. But at least you’ll have something to strive for.
Time for YOU. Don’t forget about you. I never work on Wednesdays. My husband and I both take that day off. Our kids are in full day school now. So we have the WHOLE day together. We workout together. Shop for groceries. Have a marriage meeting. (I highly recommend those) We planned this day into our weekly schedule. It’s important for our relationship. We call it our “date day.” We both look forward to it every week. I also don’t work Fridays after noon. That time is set aside for me. I might get a mani or do some shopping or go to Target. But I leave that time every week open. It’s a flexible time I easily FILL every week but I keep the focus on ME, not work and not our household.
Block time. I found it really beneficial to block exact hours when I’m working. Mondays from 9 am – 3 pm. Tuesday from 10 am – 3 pm. And Thursday from 10 am – 5 pm. Fridays 8 pm – 12 pm. During those hours I schedule clients, meetings, interviews and time to write and build and launch everything in my business. I don’t order groceries during block time. I don’t schedule play dates. I don’t do the dishes. I don’t fold laundry. I don’t research a new ballet class for my daughter. I even breakdown those hours to more specific hours. Whatever works for you. When we can go ALL IN with our work load. Then we’ll be ready to go all in with the house, or the kids or our other activities. Block time really helps.
Your atmosphere matters. I started working from coffee shops. That was OK but didn’t feel right. I don’t even drink coffee. Then I worked from a beautiful space, but I was there alone. In a huge dimly lit, overly sexy room. Fun for a while, but still not ideal. I’ve figured out what is ideal. When my surroundings inspire me I get a lot more accomplished. I now work from Soho House when I can. The beautiful décor inspires me to dream big. The service is amazing. The food is healthy. Great atmosphere. And enough privacy to GSD. When I do stay home I work from my front porch when I can. It’s my favorite place in our house. Or from our living room by the fire. Both of those rooms I love being in. Our atmosphere matters. So don’t just sit on your bed and work away. You can triple your productivity with the right surroundings.
Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. When I started my second business I got masterful at delegating. I use a virtual assistant and a personal assistant. I know, I know, I can already hear the “oh easy for her, she must have the money.” I definitely didn’t when I started. I am a huge advocate for working moms to use assistants because of how much money it SAVES me. When I first hired a personal assistant. Someone to grab groceries if I needed them and can’t get there. To order replacement parts on the 3 scooters that are broken in our garage. To pick up the unicorn piñata I finally found right before my daughters birthday. And to submit a claim to our insurance provider for the ER in Mexico. (Don’t ask…)
That submission, that I would have NEVER done, saved us $600. Which paid for my personal assistant for at least 3 months. She also returned some new throw pillows that I decided not to use. I would have returned them late. Had a credit and never used it. Another $200 saved. I could go on and on. I hope you’re convinced that you CAN and SHOULD delegate. Even if you delegate to a nanny or ask your partner for more help. Delegate out what you can’t complete and what you need help getting done. You’ll feel lighter. And you’ll get more work done for SURE.
Listen, there are no rules here. And no perfect way to run a household, raise amazing kids, and work from home. But I’m confident if I can do it YOU can do it! It’s an art, not a science. Be sure you ease into it. Once you get your schedules down don’t forget about time for YOU. Block the hours in for more productivity. And 10 X it by asking for help and delegating what you can’t get done. You’ll find so much joy along this journey your freedom will feel better than ever. Enjoy every minute of it.