How IS your work/ life balance as a mum? And by this I mean do you ever feel you’ve found a balance – even if just for a split second?
Perhaps you’re a stay at home mum and you work is the house? Perhaps you do early drop offs or family support so you can further your career or make the house hold income balance?
I’ve had this post brewing for a while.
It seems to hit me every single eve as I lay down in the dark to get the kids to sleep how much of a delicate balance our modern life really is. Do you feel that too? I feel it more so in winter with the loss of our ‘outdoor rooms’ and us all in the house together longer.
I do also get a bit of “how on earth do you do it?” . I guess it being the mum stuff and the life stuff? I don’t know whether that’s down to what I put out on social media (the curated life?) or because I see the world (as we all do) in my own unique way and I’ve been cultivating a seasonal practise and balance for a long time.
So… I thought I’d share a post of my top five ways I do life. I’d love to hear yours.
1. Thinking outside the box.
I’ve been self employed since 2008 and working for myself has given me freedom to pick and choose contracts and develop my own offers around life. When I was pregnant in 2014 I actually left a huge contract because it was stressful. I leapt and the universe caught me in ways I didn’t expect! As well as delivering big contracts for arts and heritage organisations, I’ve also worked on smaller contracts for a children’s book publisher, a productivity website and also regularly work for my husband to help him grow his business.
2. Mixing it up
At the moment I’m working one day per week freelance and giving myself space and time to work out how I’ll bring in more income now maternity leave is ‘officially’ finished. (I’m still in shock at how I just cracked on last time round to be honest as working with sleep deprivation is wild).
I enjoy my work but life charges on so quickly and I already grieve for my son’s toddler years. It’s so personal isn’t it but I don’t want Luna to be in childcare until she’s 3. This could change if she shows us she wants to hang out with other toddlers in that sort of environment but at the moment I’ll work part time until she’s 3. Financially, it’s tricky of course but it’s really more about living within our means than it is a struggle. I tend to do the household chores while she’s awake and now she’s one we makes games up around them. This gives me her nap time to do things l
ike stare into space or write a blog.
3. Acceptance and perfectionism (or lack there of)
Luna isn’t sleeping well and she’s been a nightmare to get to sleep. I have to accept this as a phase and adjust my activity to suit. I accept not going to regular baby/ toddler groups as my health anxiety is off the map and I worry about my husband’s health so we do other things like coffee dates and beach/ ikea hangs with friends. I love the depth of friendships and really struggle as in introvert in the baby group environments – I know I’m not alone here. I want to keep my energy for work and do a good job.
I spent all of my son’s early years trying to prove I could do it all and actually behind the scenes I was lonely and wearing multiple masks to prove myself. This time round, I’ll accept all of the parts of what being a working mum actually means in practise. The biggest lesson is to let go of perfectionism and just make the damn thing happen!
4. Environment is everything.
My ideal would be to work at a beach front cafe without the distraction of home in the background but we have it pretty good anyway as our studio has a view of the ocean and it’s all mine on Thursdays as Luna is with her Dad. I’m finding balance in the pace I can work at home and when it feels better to give Starbucks some of my money and stick my airbuds in to cancel out the noise.
5. Keeping the boundaries strong
I don’t have emails on my phone and in 2022 I’ve decided to plot in regular breaks from social media. This means I only think about work while at work on my laptop, while driving or while walking. I also ADORE notebooks and have one for my freelance job, one to review my business plus one for creative writing and my own Creativity Island book which helps me get my thoughts out of my brain, plan things for my wellbeing and lovely things with the kids in tow too. I’m yet to find anything that truly holds space for us as mothers which is why I created it. You can read more here.
How about you – do you have any tips for striking that work/ life balance in winter? Is there anything you could be easier on yourself with tuning into that deep winter rest we all crave. I know for me early nights are key as is my husband’s support with school runs and all the rest. He’s a star!