Lifestyle

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I have been thinking lately about the “balance” between being a mother and a freelancer. It seems like there is never time to do everything. Recently, (the past year) I made the most conscious effort to put family before anything work related. Here’s what happened, work has lagged a little behind-but honestly not by much. Am I happier? Heck YES! I feel like I have been giving my family 100% and it feels great. No, I haven’t made a ton of money this year. And yes, I could have blogged more, taken on more clients, wrote more guest blog posts, shot more sponsored posts but really I am not sure it would have mattered a ton.

What I do know, is that I went on a ton of family trips, spent time with my beautiful children, drank wine on my patio with my husband and read more lovely books than I can count. So I have to say, life is pretty amazing. With that said, I am always striving for a balance, not a perfect one (there really isn’t such a thing) just one that works right now. Isn’t everyone? Here are my new five mantras to fit in some studio time this fall…

1. Set boundaries on business hours: I wrote about boundaries last week on how to be a better freelancer and I stand by my wacky business hours! I work when the kids are sleeping. Period. If I am working while I am with them, then I am ignoring them and it’s just not the type of parent I want to be.

2. Unplug from your business and plug into your life: Social media has been amazing for me in the blogging and business world. However, if I am trying to edit an Inta what am I missing out on? SO MUCH! Get out there and live! Take tons of pictures, but share them later and not in real time. Stressing over what to say, share or not share is never as fun as living in the moment.

3. Let go of perfectionism: Nothing is perfect, you can only do what you can and what brings you happiness. People aren’t perfect and that is what makes them wonderful. If I don’t blog on a Thursday or show up a little late for pick up, it’s not the end of the world. Everything will be o.k.

4. Get focused and establish a routine: My routine so far has been working. However, we have another little on the way and that is definitely going to get all muddled. I am not sure how it will all work out, but Luke will be back at school and Wesleigh will be at nursery school two mornings a week so that gives some wiggle room to establish a new routine. Just because you get organized, doesn’t mean that your routine is set in stone. It will change and evolve.

5. Cultivate your tribe and support system: You can’t do everything alone and neither can I! I have an amazing family and group of friends to count on. I also have some amazing colleagues I can send work to when I am on maternity leave. You better believe I will be calling on them! Your family tribe and your work tribe are those you can count on for support, but also that you return the favor when they are in need.

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Being a present parent and a productive writer is the hard, but achievable, balance I am striving for. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say raising kids comes first, and so sometimes I have to say no to a really amazing project or that “I can’t” to a killer business trip. If I don’t keep that equilibrium that I love, I am just not positive and happy. Here are my best tips to be your most productive self while freelancing and being a mama.

1. Set Boundaries: Planning a career while raising children means that you are going to have to set boundaries. Working on your own time means that you need to be more clear on exactly what that means for you. For example: when you are working, you are working, period (see #3 for scheduling!). When you are with your children, you are being mindful, present, and in tune. This takes major practice and work on your part but you need to be present with work and with your family to be the most productive you can possibly be. Both parties deserve your undivided attention. Establishing boundaries may also mean something as small as silencing your phone on Mondays or not taking conference calls before 12pm. Whatever your boundaries are, make sure you stick to them!

2. Have a Schedule: It doesn’t need to be rigid, but it does need to be clear. For example, I work first thing in the morning, during nap time, and then late at night. The times fluctuate, but they usually fall somewhere between 7-8:00am, 1-3:00pm and 8-11pm. Notice that when my kids are home or awake, I am absolutely NOT working. I have to be a mindful parent, it’s so important to me. You need to be clear about your schedule, but also have wiggle room for life, children, vacations and of coursegirlfriends!

3. Be Productive: This seems like a no-brainer right? OK, well, it’s not that simple! Being productive means that you have boundaries, a schedule, and a plan-but MOST importantlyyou are PRODUCTIVE during these times. This is why I allow for some schedule wiggle room in the afternoon, because if I am going to web surf during the hours of 1-3 while the kids are at school/asleep, then this is not using my time wisely (I really sound like a mom here don’t I?). If I need that extra energy then I take that nap. I might have to put more hours in another time, but that’s OK. You may not have time to rest, but you CAN take that lunch break, go outside and enjoy some fresh air. Here is the best explanation about being productive by the amazing Marie Forleo, watch here.

4. Have a Dedicated Work Space: This could be at your kitchen table, a home office, a desk in the basement, it really doesn’t matter where it is, as long as it exists. I have a home office but that doesn’t mean I produce better work. The important take away here is that I have a desk, it’s quiet (well during nap time), I have all my supplies present, and I can sit there and work whenever I can. Having a space of your own is important for your brain, it lets your body know that when I am here I am productive and creative. Which leads me to #5…

5. Mix it up: Hit up a local cafe to people watch and get your creative juices flowing. The best type of work happens with a cup of coffee and the buzz of a cafe. Staring at your work space for months in a row is not going to get you fired up to produce. Get out there and find a local spot with great WiFi!

I hope these tips help you to be the best freelancer and creative you can be. Remember if you get stuck, tap into your tribe. Meet a friend or colleague to bounce ideas off of. Also, comment below, I would love to hear how you work!

Photo by Cambria from Cambria Grace Photography

 

 

Currently in FASHION

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Back to School Fashion

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September Craves

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Family Travel to Nantucket

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The family and I are off to Nantucket for one last summer hurrah! We went on a few day trips, but this time we are going to stay for a couple days. One of my favorite things to do (besides relaxing and swimming!) is to pack the kids in the car and drive into town for some shopping and, of course, eating. If you have never been to The Bean, you need to scoot over and get the iced chai tea latte!

It should be interesting because last summer we could throw Wesleigh into a baby carrier and go. This year she will need a car seat, pack and play, and strollerOY! I’ll be over here brainstorming how to lug these all onto the ferry.

I am going to try out Petite Travelers and I will let you all know how it goes! Follow me on Instagram to see our travels.Would love to know how you do day trips with your littlescomment below!

Photos by Rebecca Hansen from First Mate Photo