Last night I took my girls swimming at dusk.
I am normally very regimented at bedtime, even in the summer, even on Friday nights.
My girls wake up early no matter what time they go to bed. Natalie, especially, creeps into my office each morning, still cozy from her bed. She climbs into my lap for a hug and I hold her for as long as she will let me. When she squirms away, I look at the clock. It’s almost always before 6.
So I’m strict about bedtime, but last night I desperately needed a break and time to reconnect with the girls.
The days — long. The pace — hectic.
I took a day off on Tuesday to enjoy our first ever amusement park trip as a family. We enjoyed a great day, but the day off meant that I spent the next three days, all day, in my office.
Honestly, it feels off balance for me.
A summer that began with ideal days —work early, breakfast and exercise with girls, work, and a long afternoon break with the girls again— has somehow morphed into a summer of work — a quick breakfast with the girls, then back at my desk until supper time.
I want to discipline myself for more balanced days.
Yet this early stage of business building is intense, and more difficult than I anticipated.
And long work days mean sometimes I have to throw my routines out the window to enjoy a summer evening at dusk, even if it means the girls will be cranky in the morning.
Tell me something! How do you balance the demands of work with time to enjoy family? What routines do you stick to? Which ones do you abandon?
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
I followed Lolly Daskal’s lead and happily found myself here. Your post is a nutritional thougt-breakfast. I admire you and thank you for communicating.
i have been greatly impacted by this couple’s entrepreneurial thoughts regarding their business and experiences: https://bit.ly/MZsmFj. if this is the early stage of building your business then there will definitely be sacrifices to be made, with the assurance that there will come a point that the business will be okay and you can make up for the lost time with your girls.
i’ve tried to practice sticking to the 9-hour rule, meaning to not stay more than 30 minutes before and after shift at work because as it is i already spend approximately 3 hours to commute to and from work. i’ve been a bit successful because my bosses and the nature of our company afford me this practice, although i have to constantly remind myself to not pull off the 15hour a day stunt i did in my previous employment, no matter how much i love the job.
i’ve also thought about setting up my own business, but not in the near future so i can be a stay home mom and follow my own rules. i shudder at the thought now, but hey, if shuddering is a start (at least i’m starting to contemplate) then let it be. that’s also an inspiration from dan and genevieve in the link above.
i love the pic of your girls!
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughtful comment.
I think part of my anxiety stems from my daughters’ expectations. They have never experienced life with a full time working mom. Instead, they’ve grown up with me being very present and available. (I stayed home exclusively for my first 8 years as a mother.)
Bravo on setting and sticking to limits and be sure to keep me update on your plans to start a business. Exciting!
What is the meaning of balance? I ask the question seriously, because how we view balance frames the discussion and the feelings you have about whether you are in balance or not.
If you expectation is that balance is perfection, you will be constantly stressed. Balance is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth. The joy is getting comfortable being at the end of the swing. Tie a big knot on the end of the rope and hang on.
When each of your girls was born did you have time for anything but the new born? I recall the birth of all three of our children and for a time, Karalee and little or no time for anyone except the newest addition to the family.
Launching a new business is in many ways similar to having a child. In the initial stages, the business needs all your time and attention. At times, to the exclusion of everything else in your life. The goal is not to be perfect in balancing both your time and your energy every day, but to do so over time, recognizing at which end of the pendulum you are in any given week.
From your blog post, it sounds like you were in balance. You took a day off to do a special activity with the girls. The day off resulted in you feeling a lot of time pressure to make your new business go. You put in the time needed by the business and then acknowledged and changed your personal routine to do something special with the girls.
It sounds like you are in balance to me.
David, I love that imagery of tying a knot and holding on. I think you’re right on. I need to be kinder to myself and look at life in weeks or seasons rather than days.
Thank you for your constant interest and support!
This rings true to every soul working from home out there. I’m not that soul, but hope to be. I dont have answers about discipline except you either have it or you dont. You do. No doubt about that. Keep on doing the ‘out of routine’ stuff – its SO refreshing and important these days.
Thank you for the encouragement, Sharna. What’s your next step toward your dream of working at home? Let me know if you can help — and check out Dare,Dream,Do at whitneyjohnson.com — her work has been a huge inspiration to me.
I actually find that breaking out of the routine… creating very special memorable times, is a wonderful way to connect. I often work long hours and have to travel a good bit. I try to put as much energy and creativity into my time with my family as I do at work. It’s not perfect, but I do believe a deliberate approach to such breaks makes a big difference.
I love David’s response. Whenever there is more than one thing we love and want to invest time in, it’s easy to experience that ‘tug’ as imbalance. Maybe it all comes down to reframing…the more things we love, the more tugs, the more choices, and the more joy. Maybe the challenge is not to strive for that elusive balance point, but to embrace the imbalance (as you seem to have done last week!). Thanks for igniting this terrific discussion.
I am struggilng with the same issues – but I struggled with them before I was working too.
It’s a deeper feeling of responsibility to both myself and to God to raise my kids well and to put my whole heart into it. But, there is also the responsibility of doing what God has called us to do and that may or may not be full time dote-on-your-kids-24-7 parenting. Nowhere is it made clear that that is the way the world was designed and that children are supposed to get constant attention and support.
Balance. Give them time when you can and provide for their needs. God will fill in all the rest.
Happy to struggle through this with you. 🙂