When I had Sloan, I knew it would be hard to balance motherhood and a job. But I didn't anticipate how every day would present new challenges and that I wouldn't get things right a good portion of the time. Now that we've settled into more of a routine though, I've become increasingly aware of just how necessary it is for there to be a separation between running a business and being a mom. I'm still pretty new at this whole balancing act, but here are five tips I follow that help me feel like I can juggle it all.
1. Striving versus Achieving - It's really important to remind myself that finding a permanent ideal balance doesn't exist. I cannot be equally successful at work and home 100% of the time and that's alright. However, I can at least strive for a perfect day (where work is efficient and productive, the baby sleeps and eats on her schedule and G and I get time to cook dinner and re-connect over a glass of wine), but it's not realistic to expect that to happen all the time. I've learned to work towards those days, but not to be heartbroken when they (more often than not) don't happen.
2. Have Focused Attention - Working moms tend to overextend themselves and end up feeling guilty when they're juggling work and parenting all at once. I remember there was a time when I was feeding Sloan and realized I could easily be on my phone checking e-mails. So, I grabbed my phone and as I was typing a response to an email, I felt my stress level suddenly rise. I was trying to juggle two things at once and neither work nor Sloan were getting my full attention. Now, I make it a rule that if I am in my work zone, I do work and only work. I wear my noise reducing head phones so I am not distracted, and when I'm with my daughter, there is no room for anything else but her. This new "rule" has helped me feel like I'm giving my best to two hugely important parts of my life without feeling like the other is suffering.
3. Be Generous to Myself - The first time I missed putting Sloan down to bed, I was a total wreck. I had been at a photo shoot that ran late and my anxiety went through the roof. As I rushed home, I was beating myself up, thinking I just couldn't seem to get it right and I felt terrible. But, when I got home, the baby was asleep, healthy, and happy. I think more than anything, Sloan has taught me that forgiving myself and just generally giving myself a break from time to time will lead to inner balance, which makes me a better mom and co-worker all around.
4. Celebrate Even the Smallest Victories - Whether we closed a big deal or I just got everything checked off my to-do list, it's important to celebrate all the victories. Even on days when things never manage to click into place, I take the time to appreciate one thing that went well (which G and I share with each other before going to bed). When I get granular about these victories, it means I have way more "wins" throughout the day instead of just a pass/fail situation.
5. Retain Perspective – When things are feeling crazy, I try and remember what's most important to me. At the end of the day, being able to prioritize my family is at the top of my list, so when it feels like I'm drowning in work and can't get ahead, I remember it's not the end of my world. I'm so lucky to work from home and when I can shift my perspective, everything else seems to work out naturally.