A friend asked me today to tell her a little about my current “situation”. She wanted to know where I was in life, and what my schedule was like in regards to fitting in my priorities. She was specifically referring to how I was able to fit in good nutrition and work outs since she knows I’m working at home with kids. And I was honest with her.
It’s tough. It’s a balancing act trying to take care of my kids, take care of me, all while learning how to balance life and work. There are pros and cons of working at home. Pro is I’m home with my kids. Con is I don’t always make time for myself. But that’s my own fault.
Working at Home with Baby
After I replied to her, I thought hey. Others could benefit from my story of learning how to balance life and work. I love working at home with my kids, but that doesn’t mean a work life balance has come naturally or easily. It’s a work in progress, for sure. But I decided I should let you all know some of my tips for working at home in the hopes that if you too are finding it hard to fit in what’s important to you, you’d be inspired. Whether you’re trying to fit it exercise, home schooling, or whether you have goals of getting out of debt, or eating better, at least now you’ll know, hey-
I’m NOT alone. Not anywhere close.
Work Life Balance
So where am I currently, in regards to my priorities and productivity? Well…
For one, we’re currently living with my in-laws. That’s a total of 10 people, 6 of which are under the age of 10, all under the same roof, sharing the same facilities and space.
That’s two families, 6 kids, all with different eating habits, wake times, bed times, schedules, ideas on discipline,- in short, it’s a LOT of tension- but also a lot of love since we’re all (obviously) family.
We fight a lot over what’s for dinner, what to eat and when, when the kids will sleep, and when they’ll wake. Noise levels are often oscillating between the whisper of a couple of tvs and then times of people talking all at once, trying to be heard over the others.
My in-laws make dinners/meals for my sister in law and her family next door, and then I usually end up cooking something different for my crew. It’s so many mouths to feed, with so many different tastes, it’s just easier. I prefer cooking super healthy, anyway, and it’s a chance for me to make use of my Young Living Vitality oils.
It all just depends on how everyone’s feeling, though honestly we’ve had breakfast for dinner on several occasions because it’s simple. Muffins are something I can make in bulk and freeze, like the Orange and Lavender Muffins, and then I’ll just do scrambled eggs and oatmeal. Easy, healthy, and everyone’s happy.
Monday through Friday, my husband leaves at 6am and is gone about 12 hours a day, during which time I’m home with my younger three (ages 4, 2, and 7 months) from about 7:30 until 3:00 by myself. Before and after those times, my older three (ages 9, 8, and 6) are home with me, too. It’s busy regardless of the hour. I will say that. We truly are busy, but also blessed. Blessed and busy.
Working From Home
With the ever increasing cost of living, it’s becoming harder and harder to survive on a single household income. My family of 8 is no exception, even with living in the same home as my in laws to save on rent. Which is why I wanted a remote job. Or better yet, one I could do completely from home around my kids schedules. Hence my starting a working mom blog.
My motivation was honestly that my husband and I have a lot of debt, and we’d like to continue chipping away at it. My bringing in an income is pretty vital in our plan to move out on our own, too. Which is why when researching remote jobs and part time online jobs from home brought up nothing immediately feasible, I jumped at the chance to learn more about how to make money blogging.
I stumbled upon Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy during one of my searches and that’s how I first heard about how to make money blogging. It sounded like a real job working from home and I’d always loved writing.
Ruth runs the blog Living Well Spending Less and is also the author of several books, one of my favorite’s being How To Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul. It truly is a great read, which I highly recommend.
Pros and Cons of Working From Home
After reading How to Blog for Profit, I decided that blogging was the best fit for my family and decided to go for it. Blogging was something I could literally do from anywhere- theoretically. But as I soon discovered, living so far out in the country comes with its own set of obstacles when starting a small business.
While blogging would allow me to stay home with my kids, we do live half an hour from the closest town. We truly are in the boonies, and as I soon discovered, our internet only works maybe 2-3 weeks out of the month. We’re on a sort of dish/pre-paid internet and the dish only works semi well as long as it’s sunny with no rain or clouds. It runs slower or not at all after we run out of data.
Then there was my computer situations.
Despite having a fairly new PC desktop by Dell, I’ve honestly been tempted more than once to spring for a Mac book and just take the kids to Chick Fil A where I can take advantage of free WiFi while they spend time interacting with other kids at the play area.
But on top of all of the above, we’re new to the area. And so I’ve honestly been struggling with making connections. Friendship connections.
This place that could serve as the back drop for wilderness films, and we don’t yet have a church here- although we do still watch/listen online (when we can) to our home church, Woodstock City.
Normally, I would seek out social connections via social media. But there again, there’s the internet issue.
Considering the obstacles I’ve been facing… it would be easy to see why I’d give up.
But I haven’t yet. And I won’t. And here’s why.
Setting Goals for 2018
When I was setting goals for 2018, I’ll admit I had a lot of big ones. Both personal, mostly related to my health and parenting, as well as professional ones that dealt with blogging. Don’t confuse busy with productive. Sometimes I’m one but not the other.
It’s all about making your priorities, well, priority. Let me explain.
For example, I can say I want to be healthy. That’s a typical goal or desire for most people, especially around New Year’s Day. That’s when the traffic at the gym surges (for about a month) and everyone buys exercise bikes and treadmills hoping the more gear they have the more motivation they’ll have. But then, after the month of January, it dies back down. The gym goers. The walkers at the local parks. Gone with the month of January.
I remember being a cross country runner in high school and every January, as we’re gearing up to train for track- and those of us that were dedicated knew we had to run all year, not just during season- we’d be out running our typical trails at the park, and for about a month, the trails were actually (gasp!) CROWDED!
And it was our little joke, although it’s honestly not funny even if it is very true, but we couldn’t wait for the crowds to die down, so we could resume running in peace and tranquility, and we knew it was only a matter of time, specifically weeks. Then, poof. The resolution runners were gone, at least until the following year. Sad, but true. And we knew it.
And you know it.
Importance of Setting Goals
When push comes to shove, for a lot of us, we allow the URGENT to take PRECEDENCE over the more IMPORTANT. This is true in terms of our finances… our health… our relationships… you name it.
All good things ebb and flow. You can picture every important aspect of your life being fluid, in motion, like a boat on water.
If you’re putting energy into it, it goes forward. But the minute you pull those oars up and rest, the boat starts moving back. Whether or not we it’s our intention, nothing in this life is truly stagnant. It’s always moving forward… or back. Inaction? It moves… back.
The key is to find BALANCE.
I just explained that in my house right now, the struggle is real.
So what- and HOW- do I make my priorities just that?
It sounds cliche, but I write it down.
Write your goals down. Write out your priorities.
You need to know what you’re working for before you get going.
Next, write down your why. Your why is your purpose, your motivation for doing this. And yes, it can be in the same planner. If you’re looking for an excellent all around way to get your schedule together, I recommend this planner by Living Well Spending Less by the way.
Your WHY is so important. It’s what’s going to keep you going when you want to quit. It’s what keeps me going.
You’re putting in the long hours? But why? Are you eating healthy when everyone around you is sucking down milkshakes and candy?
You’re exercising during family movie night instead of pigging out on ice cream and pop corn, shopping at Goodwill and the Dollar Tree when you just got paid? And aren’t you buying a new vehicle to replace your 10 year plus clunker that’s missing 3 hub caps? No, you’re saving. Practicing self control. Staying healthy.
Because… you’ve got goals.
Setting and Achieving Goals
Write your goals down. Make it visual.
If it’s because you want to be able to afford a nice home in a nice neighborhood years from now, put that. If it’s because you value education and you want to start a college savings for your kids now, put that down. In black and white, Write. It. Down.
If it’s because you envision a day when you are DEBT FREE (this is big) DEBT FREE as in no car payment, no house payment, no student loan no Sallie Mae calling FREE. Then write that down. In a planner, on a post it, doesn’t matter. But write it down.
Know where you are and envision where you WANT to be. Make a vision board. Get creative. Post post-its on your mirror. Have a list with a magnet on the fridge. Because some days are going to be easy, but a lot of days are going to be rough.
So put your priorities in black and white. Write out your why, be as detailed as you want. And pray.
Pray about them. Pray over your goals.
Keep God in the loop.
He already knows anyway, but He cares. If you’re a Christian, you want Him to know, and He does, but He wants to hear it from you.
You’ve got big dreams? Great. Do they align with what God wants for you? I certainly hope so.
For me, I’ll just put it out there.
God. My family. Those are my two TOP priorities. And they require balance.
A little lower down, is my own health and fitness journey, and my business.
What balance looks like, looks like tonight.
Drinking a Shakeology, while blogging, while keeping a couple of valued relationships alive by messaging, while also following up with a friend who has offered to help me get my SEO in order (or however you say it). It’s a fine game of multitasking after a quick prayer has been said, and my kids are in bed.
And while tonight it looks like I’m rocking it, tomorrow night may be different, and that’s ok.
You only fail if you quit. So don’t quit.
Stick with those goals. Write them down. And prioritize (after you pray).
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