The elusive work/life balance
It's Friday evening and I am siting in my lovely backyard staring at the toys, the flowers and the weeds. What a perfect metaphor for my week. A combination of emotions. Joy and laughter as I watch my little boy learn and grow and spread his smiles but also endure the growing pains as I grow my small business. Here's my scene of reflection.
To the outside world on facebook, instagram and all social media I have the perfect work - family balance. Work is booming and I spend oodles of time with my family.
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure this exists. Though I have only been a mom for less than 2 years so who am I to comment. But it seems to be an illusive dream. Something to strive for that's just always out of reach. Everyone always assumes that because I am self employed and work from home I must have it all figured out. These are the comments that I often get: "But you're so lucky to be home and see your little boy so much", "At least you get to decide your own hours" , "You're so lucky that you get to take vacation whenever you want".
Here's my news flash - it's not what it seems. Sure, it's great to have flexibility if my boy is sick or if we need to go to the doctor. Being my own boss makes that easier but all that means is that it's easier not to work and easier to take a sick day. I do thoroughly enjoy my office space. It's bright and cheery and relatively large given the size of my house. And yes, I do see my boy and my dog loads during the day. It's hard to ignore the barking and the sometimes tears and cries for momma!
But here's the reality. I work fewer hours, accomplish far less than if I was outside my home and when my boy goes to bed at 7pm (yes I know that's early and I am lucky) that's when I finally sit down and am able to get actual work done. The more business is booming, there more I am able to work at all hours of the day/night. I also can't escape it like people who work outside the home. I walk by my office every time I go upstairs, which includes going to bed at the end of the night. My work is ever present. Then there's the vacation thing. I rarely take it and when I do, I end up fielding emails and phone calls the entire time. So I work more hours and relax less. But this is not news to other entrepreneurs.
So, It's sure not what it looks like BUT I AM trying to find balance. I have tried to set aside Friday afternoons as my "Mommy & Joseph time". Most of my clients know that and are very respectful. However there is still always some issue, some order or something that requires my attention. Sometimes my "Mommy & Joseph" time ends up being me trying to work while he turns my space upside down. But he sure is cute ;)
I don't want to sound like a complainer. I actually hate complainers and always say that we make our own fate and create our own luck. So I'm not complaining. Just stating the fact that being self-employed and working from home is not what it looks like. I LOVE what I do. I love creating beautiful and functional spaces that my client's get to call home.
I love my life and wouldn't change it for anything. But these are the growing pains that I hope to overcome. I'm starting to lay the ground work to attract the work/life balance I crave. I have goals to get my own office space (outside of the house), grow my design team with fantastically talented designers, and be there for every moment of my little guy and any future little ones lives so that I never feel like I've missed a thing. Sounds completely realistic right?1
Well, I'm working on it. Any maybe I will always be working on it - but you can't achieve it if you don't try. I am inspired every day through strong like minded entrepreneurs like Lisa Canning & Social Common. Even after a challenging week like I have had, they remind us that WE ARE NOT ALONE. So thank you to all the other self-employed momma's out there for helping me see through the weeds on a night like tonight. And thank you for making feel like it's ok to share my triumphs as well as my struggles.
But now it's the weekend and I am signing off to just be a mommy. See you Monday when it all starts again! And maybe my Monday will be something like this... ;) But probably not. I welcome the challenge regardless.
Anyone have some suggestions on how to achieve this elusive balance? Or at least how to accept it for what it is?