No one ever said that balancing work and parenting would be easy. Just take a look at this NY Times article I read last evening. Whew! It’s a crazy time at our house on the airport. Summers are busy with flying and Martin working with various pilots in one form or another. We’re doing some major projects for Gadanke. And of course, our most important job now is being mom and dad to Baby Niklas.
We’re seven months into being work at home parents. Of course it’s just the beginning! But I thought I’d share what is working for us right now. This list is both for you and for me on the days when I think I’ll never be caught up.
Balancing work and parenting. What’s working:
1. Let go of some tasks when you need to.
Yes, for me that was this blog for a short time. I hated being away from you. I tried to jump back in, but the truth is that I don’t have time to do everything. My to-do list has to be around 1/3 of what it used to be if I want to be realistic. By blogging a little less, I was able to write a few articles for magazines. (I’ll share those when they’re in print!) I also started writing a monthly column about being an entrepreneur and mom over at Life Your Way. I certainly have enough crafty, lifestyle, and home project ideas to write daily again, though I haven’t quite decided how much I want to do that as really fabulous opportunities present themselves (all because I had been blogging for so long).
2. Keep a realistic to-do list.
I stopped keeping a daily to-do list. What a sanity saver that has been! Instead, I keep a running list of projects I’ve got going. I include the steps I need to do and highlight what’s urgent. When nap time comes, I’m not scratching my head, wondering what to work on any longer. I just pull open the Pages document and scan what’s highlighted.
3. Know the difference between awake work and nap work.
There are a thousand little things that I could easily fill those precious nap hours with. This is where that project list comes in handy. It’s full of things I do during nap time. (Like this blog post!) Then when Niklas is awake, I can steel away a few minutes here and there to post something on Facebook. (And isn’t the Gadanke Facebook page becoming fabulous?!) Or I pay bills, catch up on a few customer emails, or write a quick letter.
4. Realize some days will be great work days, and some won’t.
I quickly saw that there were some fabulous days where I could accomplish a lot. I’d naively think that the next day would be exactly the same. Surely Niklas would sleep in, take long naps, and not go through three pairs of pants again. Oh how every day is different. When I accept this reality and embrace its beauty, my days are better. I know that what really matters is that we’re all fed, rested, and smiling at the end of the day.
5. Ask for help.
I currently have two assistants at the journal shop, Gadanke. They’re really awesome ladies that help me fulfill orders and get them to the post office. They make funny faces at Niklas, and he makes them back. They help keep me prioritized, and I’m just so thankful for everything they do. None of this is possible without them. But I was lucky, too… I asked for help.
6. Do something FUN together.
Niklas and I rock out together at music class every week. We’re always dancing and playing patty cake at home. But being in a weekly class with other babies and their moms is an absolute highlight for us both. There are no distractions except that cute little baby girl that keeps flirting and reaching for Niklas’ hair!
Work-life-balance. I don’t think there’s such thing. But there is something about feeling fulfilled and happy, and that’s exactly where we are. Have a great weekend, folks!