Apologies for being a bit quiet on the blog front lately - I've missed my own self-imposed deadlines due to a number of reasons, all of which can be conveniently bundled under an umbrella called 'Life'. This then resulted in me beating myself up (figuratively, of course) for being late, which then led to further procrastination, which then led to wallowing...and so on...
Then I paused.
I took a breath.
And during that reflective pause, I realised a few things about myself that have surprised me and motivated me to be just that little kinder to myself. I know a lot of you are juggling work and home, so hopefully these reflections can help you be kinder to yourself too ❤️
It's okay to not work 9-5
This was a surprisingly big realisation for me. I think I had it in my head that I needed to replicate my old office working patterns to make me feel valuable and productive. Really? Then why did I leave that environment in the first place?
I left it in the first place because I needed flexibility to care for our little guy during his leukaemia treatment (and by extension, the rest of my family). This means that if I need to do work in 30-minute blocks at various points throughout a day, then I'm allowed. It also means that if I don't work one day, or don't cross off everything I had originally planned, or (shock horror) don't post on Insta or write my blog or draft an email campaign...it's OKAY. I am allowed. I am allowed to enjoy a cup of tea and a magazine. I am allowed to stop working when the kids get home so I can play with them or cook a meal with them.
As someone who used to plan for a living, this one was was a real smack in the face. I spent January planning: I had a detailed 'to-do' list for every day of the month focusing on what to post on Insta, Facebook, Twitter, on my blog...marketing, selling, PR...the whole nine yards. I set sales targets and tried to budget. And then it depressed me and drove me under a dark cloud for a good month. Seriously. But why?
Light bulb moment: I can't be flexible and available to care for my family if I've structured myself into a nightmare of unachievable tasks (unachievable due to my need to be flexible...blah blah blah). If I need to be flexible, I need to be flexible with myself and my own "structure". Not rocket science, I know, but rocket science for me. I have learned, that over many years, I have forced myself into a structured existence that is NOT. WHO. I. AM.
So from now on, I will use a high level "framework" (I can't escape entirely, I guess, I DO love a list!) within which to creatively grow my business in an organic and gentle way. Which feels more like me and is frankly much, MUCH more enjoyable then stressing over missing an Insta post that no one knew was overdue anyway!
Kids are part of me so they're part of my work
When you have kids, there's no escaping them (ain't that the truth). Even when they're not home, their stuff is everywhere or something needs to be done for them. The plain and simple truth of running a business from home, as a mum, is that the kids are a big part of not only my 'why' but also my 'how' I work from home.
The beauty of this is that I can take the time I need to make their lunches, drive them to and from school or activities, and make it to school at the drop of a hat if one of them needs me. But it also means that I am available to take the time I need to make their lunches, drive them to and from school or activities, and make it to school at the drop of a hat if one of them needs me. Yes, it's a double edged sword, but a rewarding one.
Which means you might call me and hear screaming in the background (hopefully not mine, but I can't promise that), or you might get an email on a Sunday evening when I finally have a few moments to catch up on admin. It doesn't mean I value your or my business any less, just that my work is woven into the fabric of my family and 99% of them time, the two can't be separated.
This photo perfectly sums up trying to work with the kids around - there's always a little surprise (or mess, or asking for a snack, or screaming) happening in the background - my background.
Chaos happens - and I'm learning to allow myself the headspace and time I need to embrace it, cherish it, and work with it and within it instead of fighting it. You can't have flexibility without allowing yourself to be flexible. And you can't be there to care if you're not there - fully in mind, body, and spirit - to care.
I hope you can embrace your chaos and make it a valuable part of yourself too ❤️