For years I managed building my business while raising three daughters -- now ages 10, 11 and 21 -- and being a wife. I found that for me to be effective to all the areas of my life that demanded my full attention I had to make myself a priority. I had to realize that giving my family 100% and my business the same meant I needed to be the best version of myself I could be. I don't believe in the "work life balance" but rather both operating in harmony. Sure it was chaos at times but it was controlled chaos. A term I used quite a bit with my office staff. Here is some advice I'd like to share that worked for me in creating that harmony we all seek...and it begins with you first.
Set aside some time for yourself
When you are running a business and taking care of a family it's easy to forget about taking care of you. I took one hour off every day, I actually scheduled this time with myself on my planner; on that day, I didn't answer the phone, I didn't do work, and I focused on the moment and tried not to worry about things that where going on either in the office or at home.
It's okay to say 'No'
You say no to your kids all the time but you may find it harder to say no when it comes to your business. Newsflash it's mandatory to say no. If you said yes to every request or opportunity or avenue of work you would be busy 24-7 with no time for your family. There are not enough hours in the day to handle all that is thrown at us. No doesn't always mean no. No could mean not today or not this week but some other time that works for everyone. Learn to prioritize.
Outsource household work
If you can afford it, outsource as much of the household work as possible so you can spend your home and family time focusing on your children and spouse or significant other, or dating life and activities that relax you and enrich your non-worklife. Anyone who knows me knows I love an immaculate space but I don't necessarily want to spend my time doing it so, I outsourced it.
Setting up boundaries for work and motherhood to be separate fosters efficiency in both arenas. When you are working you give your entire focus to your business, and when you are with your children your entire focus is them. Your kids know when you aren't tuned in to them. Kids know when you are secretly checking your I Phone in the parking lot of their school. It means something to them when you are 100 percent focused on them. They remember like little elephants...they will remember.
Don't be afraid to delegate
You delegate at work but find it hard to delegate at home. If you have a spouse or significant other talk to them about how to divide the load for household needs and child-caring. When our children were small and ill or had events at school, we tried to take turns staying home or attending events that were important to them, but also would check with each other to see who had the most critical work-related meetings or events on our calendar.
Moms have to be ready for anything, and you can't take care of your family if you don't take care of yourself. A regular exercise routine is a lifesaver, I plan my workouts for early morning before the kids go to school or during my lunch hour so that I have energy to carry me through my day.
Treat your home office like a corporate office
When you have to go in to an office every day you have specific goals and come up with a plan to meet those goals. The same rule applies when you work at home. Set a schedule and goals just like you would if you were reporting to a workplace. If you have errands to do, calendar that in.
Be flexible and plan for the unexpected
Kids gets sick unexpectedly but you can plan for when they do especially if they show signs in the morning and you ship them off anyway. Each morning I write down the top three things I must accomplish that day, I tackle them first, because you never know when a call to pick up a sick child might quash the rest of the day's work.
Don't feel guilty
Working Moms deal with various types of guilt; the guilt of choosing to work to feeling guilty for taking some time out for themselves and everything in between. There is nothing wrong with contributing to the financial support and stability of your family – and the college fund. It's hard to take time for ourselves without feeling guilty, especially when children need our attention, but a rested parent is more effective than an overwhelmed parent.