Yesterday evening as I finally laid down to watch Golden Girls, it hit me that for the first time today I was finally relaxing. My feet were sore, my back was in pain, and I just felt exhausted. I felt accomplished because I had gotten so much done but overwhelmed by how much I still had left to do (this blog post for instance).
Throughout my week, I take on many tasks, mom, student, recruiter, entrepreneur, friend, partner, daughter, etc. I find that 24 hours in a day is just not enough time, especially when you have two small kids constantly tearing your house apart. COVID-19 showed me that having multiple streams of income is important and putting all your eggs into one corporate basket is not always smart. I already had a small business, Sweet Journey In A Jar, but delivering with two small kids was not ideal for me. To add on another stream, I started NuriLamarCandleCo, an online candle shop on Etsy. With both of these ventures, promoting the blog and my two books, all while balancing school and home life, I find myself mentally drained some days. While I haven’t fully mastered my routine, I have developed some ways to help me maintain my mental sanity in the process.
1. UTILIZE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM IF YOU HAVE ONE NEAR BY
With my daughter, I avoided asking for help as much as I needed to. Both grandmothers pushed for me to take needed time to myself but my stubbornness always took priority. I wanted to prove I could handle everything, but in reality I couldn’t. Yesterday morning, I knew I had a lot on my plate for the day. The house was a mess, laundry needed to be done, I had a hw assignment due, 5 dessert pans to make, and 9 candles to set. How was I going to get it done? I came up with the idea of gifting their dad with a day of uninterrupted peace and quiet. While this was his Father’s Day gift, it also served as an opportunity for me to work productively without interruption. I called my mother that morning, made arrangements, and by 11:00, the kids were gone from the house. On more than one occasion, I have utilized both of my kids grandmothers when I had an overwhelming amount of things to do and very little time to get it done. Sometimes we neglect the village of people around us and forget that it’s ok to ask for their help. While, I still was on my feet all day, I cut my time in half and was still able to get in bed at a decent time.
2. TIME-BLOCK AND USE A CALENDAR
I am very into color-coding, whether it be my personal calendar or my work calendar. It helps me to stay organized. I give everything a letter designation such as “B” for blog day or “D” for discussion post. This allows me to stay organized. If I know I have a dessert order for Saturday, then I designate Friday as “S” for Sweet Journey, etc. I can look at my calendar and easily see what I have to work on. My candles have a 1-3 day processing time, so I designate which days candles need to ship by so I know when to start the hand-pour process. Prior to COVID-19, I would label which days Jayden had a baseball game, a school event, or karate class. The last thing I wanted to do was book myself to make desserts knowing my son had a baseball game. Time-blocks are also key. Yesterday I had a friend coming to pick up a dessert pan after 8:00. Knowing how long it takes me to make a Banana Pudding, also allowing for refrigeration, I time-blocked 5:30-6:00 for preparation and 6:00-8:00 for refrigeration. The pudding would be freshly made and cold when she picked it up. During the 6:00-8:00 time-block, I then used this time to prep and bake the cobblers. Then finally, I designated 8:00-9:00 for candle making. This schedule gave me a deadline of 5:30 pm to have all the laundry done and folded, bedrooms/bathrooms clean, and wash/dry my hair, which I time-blocked from 4:00-5:30 pm. I checked my phone while doing each task to ensure I kept on schedule. With kids, this can be difficult to do because things happen but I try to give myself breathing room in case things do not go perfectly to schedule.
3. LET YOUR KIDS HELP
Depending on the type of business you run, this may not always be easy. My five year old shows a lot of interest when I am creating things in the kitchen. He’s an aspiring lemonade business owner so he always wants to be part of the process. While he cannot help me do everything, giving him simple tasks such as mixing or grabbing materials for me include him into the routine. Now we are spending time together and he is learning something new. He uses this time to ask questions and perfect his own skills in the kitchen creatively. I have even taken my son to craft fairs as my junior salesman. We are perfecting his business skills at an early age and I get to play mom and entrepreneur at the same time. My son also loves taking pictures and has a big interest in photography so a lot of my photos are taken by him.
4. DO NOT OVER DO IT
This is most certainly my favorite tip of the four. While no business owner wants to leave money at the door, sometimes you just have to admit when you are unable to do things. If I know I have already committed to an event for my son then I will not take a dessert order for that day. If I am too tired to post a blog post that day, then I’m not posting a blog post that day. You can do something small such as update your social media with a mini post to keep your following engaged if you do not have the energy to dedicate to a full blog posting. Designate days off on your calendar. If you have a shipping business, set your processing to reflect business days so that you have a small break on weekends. No amount of money is worth your sanity. If you are not ok then your kids are not ok. Your energy rubs off onto them and in order to be the best entrepreneur you can be you have to also be the best mom and person you can be first.
What other ways have you found to balance multiple roles?