So you had a dream! A dream of running your own business, getting payed to do what you love and fitting it in around your kids so you could get to their assemblies and not have to book them into camp every school holiday. And YAY you’re doing it, it’s working – kind of. I mean, your brain doesn’t always function efficiently so you often forget your kids names and you find yourself madly replying to an email or finishing that blog post till late into the evening but still – at least you get to the assemblies, right?
Welcome to my life.
I love it! I love getting excited about my work so much that all the great ideas I have running around my brain can keep me awake at night. And I love being able to choose my own working hours meaning I can flexi-school my kids and hang out being super heroes with them sometimes. It really IS the best of both worlds, and of course, the worst (including the super hero bit).
Because there’s the guilt. The guilt of not doing work when you’re spending time with your kids and then there’s the guilt of not spending more time with your kids when you’re working on the weekend or evening. By the way, please, if you send your kids off with their dad on a Saturday morning – do NOT call it , ‘daddy daycare’. It’s parenting. Just parenting, like every time you have the kids. In other words, it’s his job too and you are doing a GREAT thing by giving him time with the kids alone whether that’s for you to work, clean or do something nice for yourself for a change. Though I bet that last thing rarely happens.
Of all the ‘genres’ of mother I know, WAHMs (work at home mums) are the WORST at self-care. Because every penny you earn feels super super precious and you want to put much of it back into your own business because there’s that new laptop you need and that training thing you want to do and that social media photoshoot you’d love to book.
You feel guilty because every spare minute you have you think you could be working on the business. Because you’re also a SAHM (stay at home mum) and so you also feel a little obliged to attend every PTFA meeting, every awards ceremony and sports day, every ‘mothers day lunch’ (remember to bake a cake!). PLUS you want to go to all of those network meetings, attend those training opportunities, say yes to all the free ‘build your business’ FB challenges and of course, you want to make traction on every single idea you have all at once. Oh and you also want to repaint the walls or clean the kitchen because, this is your office now and the mess is driving you to distraction!
But just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Burn out is a very real possibility for WAHMs and ritual and routine are your BEST way forward for managing all of these demands on your time and attention. So here are my top tips for staying sane, having fun, being a kickass boss to yourself and a marvellous mother to your kids, at least most of the time.
Join the 5am club. Or at least the 6am club. Getting up before the kids may well feel like the WORST, most unimaginable thing you could ever do but just release your resistance for a moment. Let go of the lie-in and just imagine getting up and making yourself a warm tea while the house is still quiet. Of doing a little meditation or yoga, or just writing out your plan for the day so that, once the kids are in school you’re ready to just crack on! Try it, it's wonderful.
Book weekly ‘you time’ into your schedule. I don’t care what you do with your time, but schedule it in like a dental appointment. Or rather, like a hair appointment that you do NOT want to miss because you've stopped looking in the mirror as your roots depress you. Only make it the same time every single week so you won’t forget.
Multi task, in a good way. Got a meeting? Invite the other person to take a walk with you so you get some fresh air, exercise, time in nature and get through your meeting all at the same time. I guarantee the conversation will flow more easily and you’ll come up with a fresh perspective. Another thing I regularly do is stick on a podcast, like the Goodlife Project, whenever I’m cleaning up the house a bit to stop my monkey mind from chatting and stay focussed.
Make friends with other WAHMs! Networking for me is more about feeling like I’m in the right place than it is about learning or exchanging emails. As an introvert thought, actual meetings take a LOT of energy so I prefer to do it online. One group I’m loving being a part of is the Mamas on a Mission facebook group by Lucy Green.
Do exercise that you love! Ah haaa now this is where I nail it. Of course, I'm a personal trainer so you might expect that, but I still have to train myself not just other mothers and I know, without a doubt that more movement/exercise will make you;
More productive at work
Calmer and happier with your kids (and partner)
Feel more kick-ass!
So, why not get to it right now? Here’s a 15 minute workout for you to do at home any time to get you started. Weights not required. You have an advantage by working from home as you CAN work out in your PJ's in your living room. You CAN take a break whenever you want/need and take a walk or do some moves to wake your body and brain up. You CAN make yourself a healthy lunch to keep your blood sugar stable. I know it because I live it. And you can too. Live the dream!
Whatever business you're building, I want you to succeed because when we do something we love, we bring a little more joy into peoples lives. Whatever family life you're leading, I want you to succeed because when we get the balance right, we bring a LOT of joy into the lives of those we care about the most. You're doing a great thing in the world WAHMama, so do the world a favour, and put yourself first for a change.
Health & Happiness
From one WAHM to another,
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