Fussy babies, rowdy toddlers, dirty diapers, a messy house: it’s all in a day’s work for parents of young kids. But what about those who also have 9-5 jobs? How do you juggle it all and not go crazy in the process? And what if you’re actually your own boss – say, as the owner of an online store? Having the flexibility to run things yourself can be both liberating and overwhelming. And kids make the scenario even more extreme, in both directions.
For those of you trying to do it all with kids in tow, we’ve put together a few tips that might help. And please share your own, too, in the comments below! Parenthood is a wild ride, and it’s important to support each other on the journey.
Let your village be your village. It’s likely there is someone in your community who you can turn to for help, be it a family member, friend or colleague. Let them be a support for you when you need it. If they offer to do something, accept graciously. If they don’t offer to help, ask them yourself. They’ll politely decline if it’s not possible. People say it takes a village to raise a child, and they aren’t kidding.
Carve out specific time for working and other time for the kids. Set aside a couple hours of uninterrupted time to do what you need to get done. Set your phone to do not disturb, close the door, put on headphones – whatever it takes to remove yourself and focus. When that time is up, put down your work and devote some time to your kids, giving them your full attention without checking your email or thinking about your next deadline.
Organize yourself the night before. Pack lunches, start the dishwasher or lay out clothes so things run smoothly the next morning. Before you put down your work at the end of the day (or whenever your work block of time is), make a list of what’s most important for you to pick back up on when you start again. That way, you won’t have to retrace your steps; instead, you’ll be able to get started as soon as you sit down.
Create a family calendar. Add birthday parties, business trips, bill due dates, family events – anything you think is relevant for your family to know about. Put it on your refrigerator, or somewhere visible. Review the upcoming week as a family every Sunday. It will help keep you all updated and aware so you’re ready for whatever unexpected curve balls come your way (which will inevitably happen!).
While we’re on the subject of a Sunday pow-wow, Sunday meal planning is a big help, too. Whether you actually make your meals for the week with a couple of bulk-size recipes or you simply plan out the meals you’ll make throughout the week, you’ll need much less time on busy week-day nights to sort out the evening’s meal than you would without anything planned out beforehand.
Limit distractions. Easier said than done, we know, but browsing Facebook for five minutes can easily turn into 20 – precious time that could be spent on your to-do list. Taking short breaks every hour or so can increase productivity, but not if those breaks stretch out too long. Completely avoiding those time-wasters is the best plan of action. Instead, get some fresh air with a 5-minute walk to boost your energy.
Make time for your partner. This may not necessarily contribute directly to your ecommerce store’s success, but it will certainly help your overall work-family balance. It’s easy to put off that date night you’ve been talking about, but do your best to treat it like any other appointment or meeting and make it happen. Your partner likely plays a big role in keeping things in your household running smoothly as you run your online store, so it’s important to make sure you’re making them a priority as well.
How do you plan your time as a working parent? Any tips or tricks you’ve found to help keep you sane? Share them below!