On the first birthday of my daughter, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned about “work-life balance.”
First off – one year!?! Wow. That went so fast-slow-fast-slow.
A lot of folks ask me how I like being a Mom. Answer: I love it. And, I also always say that I enjoy it most when I get to be fully present with my girl.
I enjoy it way less when I have a quick email I want to send, and my daughter is screaming in her high chair.
In other words, I love my work, I love my daughter, and… When I’m being pulled in opposite directions, not able to fully focus on either, it can suck.
But here’s what I’m super grateful for:
That I have freedom and flexibility. I have been able to design a business for myself over the last 5 years that allows me a huge amount of flexibility. I work from home, and I don’t start coaching til 11am, which means every morning, I get to be with my daughter until I start work. I stop work at 5 because that’s when I need to be with her.
This means I’ve had to get even more prioritized and efficient so that I can do everything in my business between 11 and 5, Monday through Thursday (not that I never sneak in some work after she’s asleep, but I try to keep it to a minimum).
That I love my work. Thank goodness I’m on purpose! Thank goodness for my amazing clients and colleagues!!
Because I’ll be honest, there are many moments I don’t want to work at all. I just want to go play in a park with my tiny girl who will grow up so quickly.
And in those moments, I pick her up because I can’t resist, and give her a hug before going back to my work, and then I do my best to create better boundaries, be more focused when I’m working, and to get support from colleagues, friends, coaches, assistants, experts, so that I can spend as much time with my family as possible.
I’m still sometimes sad to close the door and go back to work (although sometimes I’m totally relieved, lol!), but if I did not love my work, I’d be incredibly frustrated to have to do it each day.
I also find it amazing that even if I’m incredibly tired, when I go to facilitate a retreat or work with a client, I find this natural energy flowing. I believe this is the energy we receive through being aligned with our soul/heart/nature/whatever works for you.
That nothing’s sacred. What I mean by this is that I’m willing to let things go in my business and life. If I were super attached to my ideas of how something was “supposed” to look, or that I had to do a certain thing to succeed, I’d be screwed! I have let go of so many things since my baby came into this world. And it feels great. Except maybe the dirty house.
I’m also open to following new ideas if they can make life more easeful. For example, I was asked by enough people to start a beginner’s coaching group, and I went for it even though it wasn’t in my plan, and it filled easily and starts next month.
That it’s not true that you have to work harder to earn more. I have powered through the belief that I need to work harder in order to make more money. It’s just not true. I am earning about the same as I was before I took maternity leave, and I am working way less (from 5 day weeks down to 3.5-4 day weeks).
Now, the task is growing revenue while shrinking down to 3 days. I feel confident it’s possible if I’m aligned and strategic (and patient!).
My big takeaway is that it’s really no different than before.
I’ve always been obsessed with how to get super aligned, strategic and focused in our businesses, so that we have time for the other parts of our lives (or to start new projects in our businesses). So now, with a child, I’m just upping the ante, and I get to hone my skills even more.
And, even though life is even more full, the assignment I so often give my clients is the one that’s still most important for me:
Take breaks. Go outside. Slow down. Recharge.
And… I’m still figuring it out!
- I am nearly always tired. This impacts how much business development I can do between clients and means I may get less done and it takes longer to achieve goals.
- Basically, when I’m not working, I want to be with my daughter. This leaves little time for exercise and self-care (plus when I am free, I’m tired, see above). I have not yet prioritized much alone time outside of work, nor exercise and getting outside on my own (though I do go outside a lot with my daughter, at least).
- While the energy flows through me when I’m with clients, doing a lot of outreach and marketing feels exhausting (giving public talks right now, for example, is challenging).
Most of all, I feel for the mamapreneurs… it’s not easy! I have amazing support from my family and an already-established business. I recognize there are way more challenging situations out there, including simply having more than one kid, a not very/not at all present co-parent, limited financial resources and not to mention systemic oppression and the societal expectation that women be moms + breadwinners + plus gorgeous and thin and all that.
So I salute you moms, and thank you for teaching me. It’s not an easy path, I worry that it’s not going to work sometimes too. But I take deep breaths and remember how worth it is to me to have this flexibility in my life right now.
There is much more to learn, and I look forward to sharing the fruits with you with the intention to make all of our businesses more efficient, easeful, and enjoyable.