The Balance Myth – A Maker’s Tips for Prioritizing and Planning

How do you balance it all?! I feel like this is a question women get asked a lot. We are wives, moms, doers of the laundry. We are also women who want to make a difference, build that business, and create that product. We want to contribute and we want to do what makes us happy. We want it all! But can we have it all? No. At least not all at once.

I’ve been in the crochet pattern designing business for 5 years now. I’ve been married for almost 10 years. I’ve been a mom for 9 years. In those 10 years I have come to the realization that true balance is a myth. It’s not real. It’s not possible. Even before Two Brothers Blankets, when I was a stay-at-home mom, balance didn’t happen. Some days the babies needed more attention from me so the laundry and the dishes and the projects had to wait. Other days, they took 3 hour naps and I was able to accomplish all of the things! But I never once had a day where I was able to get every bit of housekeeping done AND spend hours and hours with the kids.

Now, as a business owner, balance is even more of a myth, and that’s OK! My boys are both in school now so I am able to work more of a full time schedule than I ever have before, but when you run a business online, the “work” never truly ends. I believe that since true balance is not possible, planning, priorities, and flexibility are what make a busy life not only easier, but enjoyable too!

Priorities

When raising a family, and running a business, it’s super important to have priorities set in place right from the beginning. For me, the family comes before all else. My husband and kids come first. When they need me, work has to wait. This includes things like sickness, or special events, but also just when they need me to be present in that moment. My next priority is other relationships. I try to carve out space for friends as much as I can. I give myself one day during the work week and only work half a day. This day is for meeting with my women’s bible study and spending time with friends. Being a business owner who works from home all day long can get quite lonely, so working on those relationships outside of the home is a big priority for me.

Then comes work. My business is like my third baby. I love everything about it. Even the hard stuff or the not so enjoyable stuff. So sometimes I try to give this the priority above the others and that can usually cause issues. Please understand, though, sometimes work will have to come ahead of family or friend time. That’s why balance is not truly possible. Just like when family needs me, sometimes the business needs me to work a few extra hours that day or put in some work on a Saturday. That’s where good planning comes in!

Planning

Without planning our life would be true chaos. My husband and I both run separate businesses, so life can become very hectic, very fast. We plan as much as we possibly can, from school pick-ups to what we are eating for dinner each night. Every Sunday night we sit down and plan out our week on the calendar. We sync our schedules and figure out who is doing what so that we each have optimal time to run our business, without it getting in the way of family time or time for each other.

So for us, I typically take the boys to school and Brian picks them up. This gives Brian more time to work in the morning when it’s cooler (he works outdoors). Brian also usually takes the boys to their extracurricular activities in the evenings, while I’m the one to plan, shop for, and cook our meals each day. On days that he can’t pick them up or has to work late, I fill in. Some days I need to work late so he cooks dinner for us. We work as a team and plan as a team so that there’s usually nothing too unexpected in our day, which makes it feel so much less chaotic.

Outsourcing

As my business and my husband’s business grows, one of my main goals is to be able to have a housekeeper come once a month and clean my house!  I would also love to have a part time nanny by next summer to keep my kids cared for and occupied while I work so they aren’t sitting in front of the TV the whole time I’m working! These are true goals of mine and I have no shame in them! One thing I’m learning as a business owner is that I cannot do it all! So I’m going to stick to what I can do and delegate the rest to others when possible! It’s OK to ask for help! It’s OK to get help! I promise!

Flexibility

Lastly, no matter what life situation you are in, flexibility is a must. No matter how much you plan, sometimes things just don’t go they way you planned them to.  The best thing you can do for your own sanity is learn to roll with the changes when things don’t work out how you planned them.  Also, it really helps to get back to your plan as soon as you can.  It gives you better motivation and a feeling of control when you get back on track as soon as possible.

I hope these tips help you to let go of the idea that your life needs to be perfectly balance to be a good parent, spouse, or person. You can visit my youtube channel to see my Instagram live segment on this very topic. Lastly, let me know in the comments how you keep your life as close to balanced as you can!

 

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