Phew, it’s been a busy May. It has gone so fast and so packed with action but I can hardly remember what we did. Just an exhausted blur at the moment and that underlying nagging of all the things I still have to do and the list of things I had intended on starting but didn’t. Sometimes it all seem quite overwhelming.
Like most mum’s I struggle to get my work/home life balanced, mostly because I generally work from home unless I’m actually shooting. Being a work at home mum is a pretty tough gig. Yes, there is the huge advantage of flexible hours and I can do it in my trackies, but it requires a lot of discipline. Leaving the house to work gives you a sense of separation and purpose that I think working from home doesn’t give you. When I’m working from home, I think “Oh I’ll just throw a load of washing on” and then my brain enters the “Holy crap … I’ve got a hundred things on this week” zone. I’d better also do that grocery shopping, and iron that shirt, and Billie has a friend coming to play on Tuesday so I need to have healthy snacks, notes to go back to school, present for the party on the weekend, bills, vacuuming, cleaning, zzzzzzzz…….. Don’t get me wrong, I know everybody has these things to get done, and working mum’s run around madly doing them during lunch breaks and on weekends. I’m getting more at the mind-set of working from home that makes us (certainly me) feel like we still have to do the whole job of a stay-at-home mum as well as trying to work from home. It takes a lot of discipline and understanding from family and friends to support you working on your business through the day, especially when you are not yet bringing in the big bucks. Getting respect for trying to BUILD a business is a different thing. Money is the one currency that people understand. If you head off to work and receive a salary then you are contributing and receiving validation. When you are working from home, when the housework is falling behind because you are busy trying to build your business, but you’ve only made $200 this week, well, this comes with reservations about the value of it from others. They are not seeing the bigger picture – just the bills and the piles of unfolded laundry.
I over commit myself because I want to be it all. I feel like I need to have the perfectly kept house because I am at home but I also want to build my beautiful business and grow as a photographer, as that makes me happy and I feel has been waiting in the wings for far too long. I want to be the absolutely best mum out there and volunteer at school, go on excursions, cook wholesome meals, let them experience the sports/ventures that might fill there souls down the track. I want to feel like I am contributing to the household income and being a great wife, but in doing so I always feel like I am doing a half job of everything. It appears (despite what my pants tell you) there is just not enough of me to go around. Certainly not enough hours in the day for me to get all my ideas off the ground.
Feeling so short on time made me conscious of how I was spending my time and what was bringing me down. I guess also with my youngest heading to school next year it feels like a natural progression to start thinking about what I want my future to look like. So in the last 12 months I have tried to concentrate more on where I need to be and felt I had a lot more direction, and have spent less time accommodating everybody outside my family. It has come at a cost as not everybody likes change. Some people’s roles in my life have reduced and some awesome people have entered it. It’s all about being myself and being allowed to change and welcoming all that comes with it.
I have no regrets. In fact I feel stronger and braver because of it. The people who fill me up are with me and I feel like I am on the right track. I feel like I am starting to find out where I am headed. This does make me scoff a little at having to pick subjects at school for my future .. in year 10 … at what.. 14 years old? #noidea. It’s taken me another 26 years to work out what I want to be when I grow up! And even then I’m pretty sure that’s going to continue to evolve. In the mean time I am doing the best I can, loving my children, enjoying my business, trying to be the best version of me.
So I am working on surrounding myself with positive people who support the journey and are on one themselves. Nothing better than sharing a ride with someone else right? But I still haven’t found those extra hours in the day so now I’m working on my ‘no’ muscle. Someone posted about this recently and it hit a chord with me, the concept of using this muscle more often. Only accepting work and commitments that I feel connected with and excited about.
I’m also working on time blocking my diary. This is not a new concept but not something I have exercised at home. I live by my calendar but I only have been putting in work/school/kindy/sports/social commitments. For this day forth (sounds official right?) I am putting exercise and kids time in my calendar. I am time blocking those suckers in so they are not the things that gives way to everything else. It’s in the diary as a commitment. So by blocking in some “official” time I get a bit for me, work and a big chunk for my kids and hopefully a bit more balance all around. Time to stop putting myself last – it’s exhausting and not really any good for my family either. Grumpy, tired mummies are bad news.
My husband has been studying so I recently blocked out some time to take the kids to Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens. It’s become one of my favourite places and absolutely in its element in Autumn. This weather recently has been incredible and it seems amazing that we were up there in May … in t-shirts, but I’m not complaining. We had so much fun playing in the leaves and the extra sunshine does wonders for the soul. It reminds me how awesome the journey is and how lucky I am to have all the incredible things I have in my life.