As I sit here to write this post, I’m reflecting on managing motherhood and work. I had put my son, Nalin, to bed a bit ago and then promptly went to my small office, sat down at my computer, and proceeded to bust through some emails that have been stacking up as well as drafting and sending wedding estimates.
Earlier in the day, I made an errand to pick up seeds and managed to sow a bunch of things in the greenhouse, meet with a client, consulted with another farmer-florist, and I also, somewhere in there, managed to get groceries for the week. It was presidents day, and most people had off work.
Small business owners rarely ever “take off” work. Especially not farmers. We have to plan well in advance and try really hard not to work. I recently saw on Instagram, a post that read, “Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” where the later was crossed out so that it read, more appropriately, “Love what you do, and you’ll kinda work all the time” Hah. This is so true.
So how do we manage it all as business owners, mothers, farmers, and florists?
You’ve heard it time and time again… business owners wear so many hats! We not only are good at our trade, but we have to handle all the marketing, accounting, customer relations, pricing, website, social media, etc. etc. Be grateful if you are able to hire out any of these tasks, but for a lot of small business owners, we wear all these hats for far too long. Burn out is a real thing, so how can we avoid it?
Let’s say you’re a mother (or father), too. Well, your duties just tripled and if you work from home with your kiddo(s), well good luck to you! Everything, with kids involved, takes literally twice the amount of time as it would on your own.
So how do I manage it all? I get asked this question A LOT. Usually, it’s rhetorical. People will just state this out of amazement, but not really expect an answer. Well, here in this post, I’m going to try my best to answer because I bet there are others out there trying to juggle it all just like I am!
I am a small business owner. I am a single mom. I am a farmer, and I am also a florist. My life sometimes feels like one great big balancing act!
Some of my success I can attribute to my own character. Drive, determination, and resilience seem to be inherent in my nature. A lot of what I do, though, are simple lifestyle changes or perspective shifts that help me to stay balanced and manage all the things. I’m going to highlight some of them…
Staying Organized: This is key! You have to have some order to your work space, computer files, paperwork, calendar, tools and supplies, etc. If your work spaces are messy and chaotic, you’ll spend more time shifting through the crap and feeling discouraged than if you could just walk into your space and start the task at hand. So if you’re not an organized person by nature, set aside some time to make your spaces organized. It will really help!
Positive Self Talk: How do you talk to yourself in your head? Do you constantly put yourself down or worry about what’s to come? If so, you need to shift this! Everything is energy and the law of attraction says that what you put out into the world is exactly what you receive back. If you are negatively affirming yourself all the time, that is the energy you’re sending out and it’s the same energy you are going to attract back. You will be in this perpetual cycle. Instead, you can choose to make the cycle positive! Send yourself positive thoughts and you will be rewarded with positive energy. An easy way to do this is through affirmations on sticky notes. I do this all the time, in fact. I will write something positive on a note and stick it somewhere I’ll read it often. Reading it will help re-train your brain to think this way, even if you don’t believe it at first! Some of the things you could say are “I am so loved” “I bring so much joy and beauty to my community” “I am supported” “people value my gifts” You get the picture!
Continually Shifting Focus in a Positive Way: My work and being a mom with my son at home most of the time are very intermingled so I’m constantly being pulled between mothering and working. It’s true I include my son in a lot of my farming and I can see how that’s benefiting him so much; However, there are times that he needs just my pure focused attention (and it’s more-so the younger the child). So rather than getting frustrated and annoyed that I can’t complete a work task, I instead shift the focus of my intention. I tell myself that I will tend to his needs fully before coming back to my task. Whether that’s getting him a snack, changing out his soaking wet tennis shoes and socks, or watching him learn a new skill or show excitement over something, each moment should be experienced with presence and I will keep my attention on him as long as he needs. Children should be your priority, but it definitely is hard when you’re trying to manage all this work with them around. I get it. This is not to say that whenever you’re child needs something, you drop everything to tend to them. Often I tell Nalin to wait, but whenever I do shift focus to him, I do it positively and presently. Even if the present moment sucks, still being with it and accepting it, will help to ease stress and anxiety.
Setting Smaller Goals: This sounds weird to say, but especially running a business AND being a mother, I have to not make sure I’m not constantly falling short of my own expectations. To do this, I just set smaller goals. You may think of it as a reality check, or be real with yourself on how much you can accomplish. This was hard for me to learn because I hold very high standards for myself and I expect a lot out of myself. I usually think I can accomplish WAY more in a day than is realistic. If you operate like I did, you’ll always come up disappointed. So instead, just be real from the get-go! Don’t make your daily list too long. Make it actually achievable
Self Care: You need this to keep going. To stay sane, stress free, and balanced. Try to set aside time for the things you love or things you can relish and relax in. Whether that’s a yoga class, a hot bath, going for a walk, journaling, or anything else soothing, you need regular doses of this. Self care does not need to mean a grand vacation! Simple things you can do for yourself at home should become part of your routine. This can be as simple as making yourself a nourishing cup of tea. Love yourself and honor all this hard work you are doing! Keep filling up your cup and you’ll be able to show up as your best self!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and un-balanced, I hear you. You’re not alone. I hope some of these perspective shifts can help you on your journey. Know that you are doing the best that you can! May you continue to offer your unique gifts to the world, love yourself, and live presently.