From the time I was a little girl dreaming of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always pictured a high powered business woman. I used to play “office” in my bedroom, filing away nonsense paperwork, addressing envelopes to “scribble scribble” and making sure that my desk was organized. I always knew that I wanted a career of my own and to be successful in whatever I did. That hasn’t changed now that I am an adult. That dream is something that I work towards every day and I can be proud of the accomplishments I have made to this point. What has changed is there are now two little faces that grace my home, needing my attention and love constantly. Having to balance the two has been dang hard.
I am blessed to have the ability in my career as a realtor to work mainly from home. I don’t have a 9am-5pm office that demands my presence but I do have a career that takes up nights, weekends and random last minute hours in the day, stopping playtime with the kids in it’s tracts. A career that requires me to be tied to my phone and computer while taking care of the kids simultaneously. (i.e I made dinner tonight with a baby on my hip and my cell phone pinned to my shoulder on a work call)
I worry about my 5 year old seeing me constantly on my phone, or saying “one second buddy, mommy has to just write this one email…” for the 5th time that afternoon. It hurts when he walks away dejected saying “I wish you didn’t have to work.” I wonder what impact it is making when I have to stop whatever story he is telling mid-sentence to take a phone call in the other room. Even though I am not scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, I am still setting the example of my attention on technology.
I have had many sit-down conversations with him trying to explain in the simplest terms why mommy has to work and what I do to help people find a home like ours (my daughter is too young to understand.) I try to include the kids on any work errand I can. I show them videos and pictures of what I did while I was gone for the afternoon and missed out on their park trip, but I find myself constantly apologizing.
The mom guilt is definitely ever present. I can’t help but think that if I had a “normal” job, then maybe it wouldn’t effect them as much. Then I remind myself that they get to see their mom more than most kids with working moms do. It goes around and around like this, in my mind, throughout the day. I know I am truly blessed with a flexible career that allows me ample face time with my kiddos, but I also know that I can always do better to help the balance. One day at a time.
Some things that I could be better at…
- Creating a work space that isn’t my kitchen counter or bedroom, preferably a space in my home strictly dedicated to work. I am not quite there on this one, and hope to have an office in our next home. When I work at the dining table it is much easier for the kids to think it’s playtime instead of work time and the interruptions are endless. When I work in my bedroom, it’s harder to separate work stress with relaxing at night and sleep is harder to come by.
See my Pinspiration here: Home Office
2. Setting work hours and family hours and keeping myself to the schedule. I am an entrepreneur at my core and am passionate about what I do. I enjoy going above and beyond for my clients but that often bleeds into my family time. I know many agents that shut it off at 5pm and also some that don’t work weekends at all. I don’t think I could go that far, but I do need to find a schedule that works for both my family and business.
3. Hustling during nap time and preschool hours. I can’t predict when I may receive calls or when urgent items come up that require my attention. I can however, carve out hours that are convenient for my kids when I attend to my emails and outbound calls for the day. I currently find myself working late nights after the kids are in bed, which isn’t always the healthiest.
There really is no such thing as the perfect work/life balance. I do believe, having experienced both sides of the coin, that working from home does make this concept even harder. I just hope to find a sweet spot somewhere on the sliding scale where my family feels attended to and loved, and my clients feel taken care of and happy. It’s all a work in progress.
Tell me your tips!