Balancing Business and Family: My View

So, ok, I know Evy’s Tree has been completely absent lately as far as blogging is concerned. Today is supposed to be What We Wore Wednesday, but obviously, that didn’t happen…oops! The good news is: the main reason we have gotten behind is because we switched from blogger to WordPress {what do you think?!?}, the bad news is: we could have resumed the blogging a while back, but unfortunately, life has been pretty hectic over here.

First of all, we are washing, folding, cutting all our fall material. It’s been a mad house over here. Our little factory has been explosive and most of the time Sarah, Jen and I can’t even find the computer. :( So sad. Today Sarah and our new helper Lisa came finally finished most of the cutting so we can now see the floor, THANK GOD.

And then there’s my family….If you follow my personal blog, you may have already heard about the change in my family life, but if you haven’t, well, there’s been a switch in my husband’s job. Basically, life has changed quite a bit for us. It’s a good change and one we feel God has directed us to take, but its a big change none-the-less. He has always been around to help out, but now, he’ll be gone A LOT.

I don’t normally talk a whole lot about my family on the Evy’s Tree blog- hence my family blog – but I’ve been feeling an honest streak coming on. If you read my family blog, you know I’m pretty honest {unfortunately, ha} and you will know I’m not afraid to expose some of my insecurities and frustrations with life. So are you ready to hear my heart a little?

I am asked often, “How do you do it all?”. I’ve been especially getting that a lot lately due to Brandon’s job change. The question actually makes me laugh a little, because I’m not really sure what they mean? I assume they are most likely wondering how I run a home business and balance a family. It’s hard for me to digest the questioning because I honestly feel that what I do is really no different than what any other working mother does. I get the kids ready, take them to the sitter, go to work, cook dinner, etc. See, the same as everyone else, right?

But it’s not, and deep down inside I know that.

I know I have bit off a much bigger bite than most jobs when I started Evy’s Tree. And I don’t mean working for yourself is better than working for someone else{ in fact, I question it OFTEN, ha}. What I mean is that working for yourself is often a bit more demanding {and sometimes less rewarding} then working for someone else. You see, I worked for someone else once…I was a 4th grade public school teacher for six years before I had Jake and decided to stay home. But even though teaching is very emotionally demanding and you often bring lots of work home to do on the side, there is always someone higher than you to pass the crud on whenever it was needed. Despite budget cuts, layoffs, etc, you got paid regularly and had benefits. Boy I miss that. But when you work for yourself..the buck stops with you. That’s hard. Really hard.

With most jobs you get vacations {often paid for}, perhaps benefits, set hours, a boss, a schedule. When you run your own business, you get maybe one {or two} of those perks…if you are lucky. Vacations? Right, there’s no such thing as paid vacations. Benefits? Set hours? HA! Nope. Very rarely.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I am very glad I do what I do. And working for yourself definitely has it’s perks. But it definitely is not easy. I don’t sit around all day eating bonbons, as my dad would say {or chocolate chip cookies in my case, ha!}. But how does all this self employment fit in with a family? Especially when you are a mother and raising two very active young children? How does it all balance?

I have no idea. Seriously.

I can tell you what I do. I can tell you how I attempt to keep my head above water. But I can’t say I am very good at it. And I most definitely don’t have all the answers. I am struggling. Probably just like you are, if you are working mom, regardless as to whether you own your own business or not.

Can I be honest? {I know, I already have been, ha!} I struggle so much with dissatisfaction and insecurity sometimes. The best advice I can give anyone I know who is running a home business {or working at all for that matter} is: keep your head in the sand and when you come up for air, don’t compare!! But its so hard not to do…. I know of some very successful young women without families who have online shops. When I look at myself and compare my business to theirs {GASP, yes I do that every now and then, God forgive me}, I get so, so discouraged. They have GOBS of blog, twitter, facebook followers. Their goods FLY off their virtual shelves. They can work as late or early as they want. Push themselves as much as they like. They are very successful. And they should be. They are young and…brace yourselves for it: KIDLESS.

Yikes. Did I just say that?!? Yes, I did. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a slam on kidless entrepreneurs, AT ALL! This is just to point out that us moms, well, we have to remember we are in a different category. Our life is not our own like it once was pre-kids. We don’t have time to focus completely on ourselves {bummer, huh? ha}. Kids add a whole new mix into your world. And, I think, for the better. I honestly am so thankful for my kids. They make my life HAPPY. I would DIE without those two. They are so very wonderful, precious, loveable…DEMANDING. And I am so very blessed to be their mommy. I wouldn’t trade ANYTHING for them. NOTHING. Not even Evy’s Tree.

So the bottom line is: I’m ok with life being a little crazy and unbalanced. I’m ok with maybe not being as successful as I would like. Somedays Evy’s Tree dominates my life, and other days my family does. It’s definitely a see saw type of world for me. And that’s ok. Very ok. Because someday I will look back and realize my kids are only young once….money will come and go, start up businesses will always be there, but my family will only be here for a while. They need me, NOW. And I don’t want to miss it, you know?

So my key in finding balance between family and business, for Moms or non moms alike? Put your family first. Business will naturally follow…and be successful because of your sacrifice. Time with your family is never wasted. I am trying so hard to remember this right now while wading through the throngs of a business start up.

Unfortunately I have by no means achieved this balance. I do fight for it though. Eventually, I will get there…I hope. And I really have not achieved success as a business owner either. Evy’s Tree is still on shaky legs as we grow. But regardless of what happens to Evy’s Tree in the future, I MUST find balance. Because if this doesn’t work, I will have do something else and I will still fight for balance then….So you want to know how I do what I do? How I ATTEMPT {key word here} to keep my life balanced? Here are 10 things I TRY {key word here AGAIN..I am still a long ways away from achieving most of these} to do to keep myself on track:

1. Get to bed a decent time, which is usually around 10:30 or 11 for me. I really need at least 7 hours of sleep. I don’t always make it, but I learned very early on in this, that I was WAY to old {There is a reason why we go to college young, ha} and had entirely too much on my shoulders to live on 3 or 4 hours of sleep.

2. Wake up early, before the kids are up, and have a little “me” time. This is a new one for me, but I learned its OH SO WONDERFUL. For me, this means get up at 6 or 6:30 AM. I make myself a chai latte, eat breakfast, pray, read my Bible, run on the treadmill, shower, dress. I find if I do this before the kids get up I am a happier person and much more prepared to take on the day.

3. Have a reliable sitter. I am sure many people will disagree with me about having a sitter watch my kids during the day. In my defense, the kids are only with them {I use two sisters from a very good family in my church} from 9-2 Mon-Thurs {they take their naps at home} when not in school, Mon and Wed when they are in school and if they need me I am right there as they live just a few minutes away. They are WONDERFUL and the kids love them and their house. Can’t afford a sitter? Find someone to barter with, maybe trade taking care of someone elses kids, so you can work. One of the most helpful things I ever did was find someone who could help me with the kids so I could focus on work and then focus on THEM when they are home. I would NEVER be able to run a business if my kids were running circles around me all day, things just don’t get done, unfortunately.

4. Get good help. This includes a book keeper, an assistant, whatever you need to run your business. This has SAVED me!! It costs me some money and often they get paid before I do, but I have learned that if I am spread thin, I will never be able to run this business at all, so I might as well spend the money to get myself where I need to be to make some money. :)

5. Eat healthy and exercise. I am learning this a big one for me. I try to keep sugar, fast food, anything processed really, to a minimum. I have found that if I am sluggish because of my food intake, then I might as well forget business success.

6. Get organized. ”A clean ship is a happy ship”… When I was little, my dad had that saying hot pressed on a wood plaque and it hung over our pier at our Tahoe house. I used to think it was just a silly saying and would roll my eyes every time my dad would use it on me {usually in reference to my out of control room, ha}, but I have recently learned that there is most definitely something to it. I cannot think if my factory is a mess. I’ve found that just putting things away and running the vaccum at night can make my brain stay focused. Also, cleaning the kitchen and family room EVERY NIGHT makes such a huge difference for me. It just feels so good to get up to clean plate.

7. Family first, then business, then friends and life. I think this one is the hardest to adjust to when owning your own business. Often when you work for someone, you can put friends and life before work. Growing up, I wondered why my dad never had many friends…well, its because he worked for himself {and the fact that he is an introvert played into that as well I’m sure, ha}. He didn’t have much time. :( I find that my friends are often those who either work for me or in a similar field as me. Some of my closest friends have become women, especially moms, who are working for themselves. We have something in common and seem to understand each other when we can’t commit to things or not be available to hang out as often as other moms can. I’m sure working moms of any field can relate to this one as well.

  8. Don’t forget your husband. I have a tendency to work every second I get. This is not good when you have a husband who needs you. I have to remind myself that even though he is self-sufficent and doesn’t need my help to clean, dress and feed himself, he still needs me as a helpmate. {Here is where I insert that I have one of the most supportive and loving husbands on the planet! So thankful for him!!}

9. Get out of the house at least once during the day. Amazing how a trip to Starbucks or a stroll around the Target aisle can force me remember that I live in the real world. There have been several times where I have been stuck in the house for 48 hours straight. Not cool. You start to feel like you are in solitary confinement.

10. When the day is done, it’s done. Be ok if not everything gets finished. This one kills me. Really. I am a task oriented person and I can’t focus if I have projects hanging over my head. My email inbox HAUNTS me. It so does. Pending orders I LOATHE. I think you get the point. But I have learned to say, “it can wait”. When I see my little precious babies crying out for my attention, I realize NOTHING is as important as them. So I have learned to say, “I’m sorry, I will have to help you tomorrow” and ignore the fear that someone will give me bad feedback, or send me a nasty email or tell me that I’m a horrible business owner. The fact that I stopped to help my kids makes me feel like the best mom on the planet and thats all I care about.

Because after a while, if I’m ignoring them…this is what I get:

This is what I get when I ignore my babies. Oh boy.

11. {Right I realize I said 10, but I just can’t leave this out} PRAY, LOVE, LAUGH. These three things get me through life. This business is in God’s hands, and if He desires me to do something else, I will. In the meantime, I will just live life to the fullest, laugh as often as I can and love until it hurts. It makes life worthwhile, you know?

So there it is, my very LONG unhelpful insightful advice. Ha. And with that… I’m curious, how do you balance business and family? I would LOVE for you to share your thoughts, if you have some. It would really help me as a business owner and working mom to hear how you stay balanced…and maybe it would help someone else too! And thank you for listening. We will resume regular programing with DIY Friday. ha.

Big hugs friends! xoxo

14 thoughts on “Balancing Business and Family: My View

  1. 1
    Beckie Pena says:

    Thank you for that word, I really needed to hear it. Lately I’ve been so busy trying to finish up my preq’s for the PA program, that I often shut myself in my room and shut everyone out. My kids are growing up so fast and I don’t want to look back and realize that I’ve missed the most important part of their lives. Thanks Amy, hugs and kisses from southern california.

  2. 2
    Rachel Walmer Moraes says:

    Hi Amy!

    I really enjoyed reading your latest blog as I lead a life very similar to yours except that in addition to doing all that you mentioned, I am also a single mom of two children and the sole provider. Perhaps I can share with you at some later date what I do to “survive” although many of them are already on your list. However, I am curious about one thing that you do not address in your blog: if your reason for quitting your teaching job was to stay home and raise your children, how has having your own business really changed that reality since your children are at the baby sitter’s from 9 – 2 and not in your care? It seems that you are busy working just as much as you were when you were a teacher and still not able to be home with your children. I am wondering if you would address how you see that
    difference? Again, I appreciate your words and your hard work.

    Rachel

    • 2.1
      evystree says:

      Hey Rachel, so good to see you on here! :) Good question, and you’re right I didn’t discuss that. The bummer about being married to a minister and living in CA is that you will more than likely have to work! ha :) So I have to do something, so with that being said, as great of a job as teaching is, and even though I would get the summers off and all holidays, I didn’t feel like I could stop at any time and be there for my kids. If my kids got sick during the school day, I wouldn’t be able to run over and get them. Or if one of them was having a bad day and they needed me, I wouldn’t always be able to take the day off and be there for them Work is work, and its hard to stop at any time, but at least when I work for myself I can completely stop everything if my kids need me and that is the number one reason I left my job as a teacher and work for myself. :) Hope that makes sense?

  3. 3
    Rachel says:

    I have also been self employed, but in my husband’s construction business. I agree with a lot of your tips – good advice =). I had my office assistant basically running the day-to-day office after my daughter was born for several months, until she went on maternity leave herself and forced me back to the office every day. My daughter was 6 months old at the time. I realized early on that I had to have help with the baby. I hired a babysitter to come to my office 4 days/week from 9 to 4. It was the only way I could get any actual work done. And I hired another office assistant as well. And I also had housekeepers come once/week to do the cleaning at home. All this just so I could stay sane! And really it still was not enough. It seemed like the house was always somewhat messy and dinner was never made on time, but it was my best. And then the economy turned south on us, and we’ve scaled back, way back, and now being almost 8 months pregnant I’m trying to scale back my business duties and concentrate being a full time mom. It hasn’t happened yet but hopefully by the end of the year I can have all my duties wrapped up and be done, for good. My daughter just turned 3 and she’s been going to preschool 3 days/week since we turned 2, so it is those 3 days that I get my business work done, well at least for now ;-). When the new peanut arrives everything will change again! We closed our downtown office and I also now work from home, which I think is much more challenging. Even for a really disciplined person the distractions can be challenging. And then it seems I spread myself too thin and don’t get anything done to completion, but just get everything done part-way, which is not good. It’s funny you mention about your friends, that most of them are in similar situations as you. All of my closest friends also own their own businesses. I suppose it’s easy to get along with people who understand exactly where you are coming from ;-). And my aspirations? To open my own etsy shop sometime after peanut arrives… hmmm we shall see…

  4. 4
    Bonny Smelser says:

    Amy what an incredible article! I commend you on your priorities in life! I know from my sister owning her own business and several close friends that when you have a business of your own the positives outweigh the negatives especially when it comes to family!! I love, appreciate and admire you bunches!! I for one am very happy you started EvysTree (a selfish little motive on my part)!! :)

    Hang in there-God is in control!
    I love your articles from the heart!!
    xoxo

  5. 5
    Heather says:

    Posted on Evy’s Tree facebook page as well: Love the post…not a business owner but teach piano 3x’s a week and am currently watching a 9mo old as well as my 6 year old and 2 year old sons- PLUS we have our home on the market trying to sell- My husband and I are both deeply involved in our church(young marrieds directors, music director, church secretary, etc) and my husband works a full time job at the Federal Prison as well as his side jobs- the month of April, between moving my inlaws, working on the house-preparing it to sell, Easter Sunday preperations, Holiday Youth Convention (our youth praise team did the music)practices and then the actually Convention, then daily things like, kids, end of school programs, supper, clean house, laundry, etc… I almost had a melt down- I honestly took a 6 week break starting the first of May and did NOTHING but neccesities and my home and family, they had suffered SO badly…even took a 10 day vacation (without kids) and I am starting to feel like I can breath again. It was a suffocating feeling and one I will not allow myself to get back into…. There has to be priorities and then boundries and I am hoping I have learned that lesson while my babies are still young- can NOT afford to have them grow up and say, “where was my Mom during that time of my life?” Your blog was VERY insightful and helpful, I am actually sitting here enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and computer time while my kids sleep in…”Me time” is a MUST! Thanks for being so open and honest..love it!!

  6. 6
    Simone says:

    I missed my one of a kind wednesday post yesterday….. I’m right there with ya. Had no kids last week for the entire and oh my gosh How different running a business was! Wow! I love your insightful and sweet and honest post. I’m trying to do it all too and every year I say the same things when it’s time to take stock. But our kiddos will grow up and we will get there. Kepp up the good work, Amy! xo

  7. 7
    Mande says:

    Amy, you are one fabulous mama! I admire how you balance it all. Earlier this year I decided to buy my own business and WOW!!! The work is never done and I was very stressed up until a few weeks ago. I am now forcing myself to stop when my business hours end and do the best I can. Sounds so easy, but I have found I am enjoying it much more now. <3 You are an inspiration and I love your posts. Always have. Love you!!

  8. 8
    Deanna says:

    I loved this! Sometimes it’s so hard to see the forest through the trees. You’ve helped me remember that as long as I keep working it my business will always be there but my kiddo won’t be a baby forever and my husband deserves to be more than second. Love, love, love.

  9. 9

    All these tips are SO great. Seriously. I am so bad about going to bed early. I do most of my photo editing & etsy shop stuff at night and stay up until after midnight. I need to give myself a curfew! I did take the summer off for my etsy shop to hang out with my girls & that has been so awesome!

  10. 10

    Can I polish my laminate flooring to seal it?

  11. 11
    google says:

    I liked your article is an interesting technology
    thanks to google I found you

  12. 12

    Would you be enthusiastic about exchanging hyperlinks?

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