As a maker mom running a busy little handmade biz, people always ask me “How do you do it all?!” I’m not going to pretend like it’s easy to raise children & run a business from home. It’s not easy. I’m not even going to pretend like there’s some magical way to balance it all – there isn’t. But over the last 5 1/2 years I have learned some ways to make it all run a little more smoothly & sanely. Here are three of the most important things I’ve learned.
Get enough rest
No more all nighters, late nighters or up before the sun to get stuff done type scenarios. Getting enough rest is just as important for you as it is for your child(ren). Allow yourself to get enough rest without feeling guilty about it. Not being well rested results in a groggy mama who at best may just accidentally pour orange juice over cereal & at worst may turn into a bed headed monster who loses her temper when she spills her coffee – or who in her sleepy haze packs up the wrong item in an order or sews through the tip of her finger. I’ve done all those things. Believe it or not, parenting AND running my monster making business got a lot easier when I started getting more sleep & taking more to time to do restful things each day, like sit in the sun with my dogs. I became more patient, more happy, more productive. Try it. You’ll like it.
Set a schedule/routine
I don’t mean like a hard schedule, but a gentle one – “sew when the baby takes their first nap of the day” or “work from lunch time til the kid’s get off the school bus”. Whatever works for you! Me, I work from about 9/10am -4pm. The morning hours are taken up usually with computer work (data entry, blogging, social media stuffs & answering emails). I break for lunch then I sew until it’s time to pick up my son from school. It took me years to settle on a routine that worked so well for me, so don’t feel like you need to set yourself up for a 40 hour work week – just dedicate some blocks of time that you can squish in some work & try it out daily for a few weeks, see how the routine suits you. If it’s not working, try something else until you find something that does work for you & stick with it until it isn’t working for you anymore. And don’t forget to pen in days off, too!
I know as a mom, partner & person trying to get your little creative endeavor off the ground while being supported by someone else can make you feel inferior, like you need to make up for your lack of income in other areas – housework, cooking, laundry, shopping. Don’t. I held on to this mindset for far too long & it caused so much undue stress. If you have a partner, reach out to them & ask for help splitting the house duties. My husband & I split laundry (I sort, wash & dry and he folds & puts away), we trade off cooking every other night through the week & cook together on the weekends. I buy the groceries & he puts them away. I sweep & mop, he vacuums. I’m lucky in that my son is older & can help around the house too – after meals he clears the table & loads/unloads the dishwasher. He is also in charge of loading his own clothes into the washer & has been for years. Divide household responsibilities as evenly as possible among the members of the household – even small children can help out with chores like picking up sticks from the yard, feeding the pets, putting away silverware or loading laundry from the hamper into the washer so all you have to do is walk by and start it later. Older kids can take over sweeping, raking, dusting, window washing, even cooking dinner some nights. If you don’t have a partner, ask a friend, neighbor or family member for help with things like mowing the lawn, dropping packages off at the post office or invite them over to watch a movie – and help you fold laundry. Pay them with your awesome handmade goodies & in turn you build a street team to talk about your rad work!