It was school holidays this week and for the majority of the time, while my partner worked all day, my six and four-year-old have been commanding my time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my children to the ends of the earth, and I love nothing more than hanging out with them; chatting, playing, getting more of insight into how their beautiful little minds work but these holidays were different.
These holidays I am also running a growing not-for-profit organisation which is busy and is also commanding my time. I am a mother first, and everything comes secondary to my family, but there have been times this week where I’ve needed to be playing two roles at once.
It hit me one Tuesday when I was typing an urgent email and noticed that it had been quiet for a few minutes. That’s always suspicious. I got up to investigate only to find the kids had borrowed mummy’s permanent black marker pen and had decorated their delicate little bodies as pirates. When I asked them if they’d seen my pen, Kitty, who’s four blurted out ‘we didn’t do it’ and even as I stood them off in front of the mirror, they still claimed that they hadn’t seen my pen! Too funny! It was one of those parenting moments when you’re trying to keep a straight face, but you have to turn just for a second to let the smile out.
So, at this point, I unplugged my laptop, smothered my beautiful babies in cuddles and spent the rest of the day playing and being a mum; no business allowed.
But this got me thinking. There are lots of women and men out there who are playing two full-time roles. One as a full-time parent, the other as a full-time worker. So how do they do it? Just how do people nail this multi-tasking at life thing?
If this is you, here are a few of my tips which you might find useful.
Outsource your housework
If your funds allow, get a cleaner, ironer, dog-walker and chef (ok, maybe I went too far but how good would that be!) but anything that takes your time away from your family or work can be picked up by someone else. Trust me, saving two hours a day/week on housework will benefit your whole family in a very short period of time.
If you’re being a mum/dad, switch your laptop off and put your phone down. Play with your kids, watch a movie, bake but be present with them while they’re with you. If you’re working, go into the office and shut the door. If you’re giving 50% to each, then nobody is getting the best of you.
Take time for yourself
Make sure you take at least one day a week off for yourself (much easier said than done but it’s so important to fill up your own cup, I’ve learned this the hard way by burning out and being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in May 2105). Go for a massage, rest, exercise, catch up with your friends; whatever it is that recharges you and makes you ready to face the day again, do that.
As a mum and a business woman, you’ll need lists upon lists upon lists! I like to separate my lists into work/home but if you are comfortable having one list which includes closing deals and making cakes for the cake stall then that’s your choice!
Figure out what works for you
Hats off to you, you’re doing two of the most important jobs in the world. I know how hard it can be to have to be two people at the same time, but I’m also lucky to have a loving, supportive partner who does everything he can for the family. I can give these tips, but ultimately you just need to do it whichever way works best for you, your family and your business.
For now, I am switching off for the weekend and spending the weekend with my family. Ok, I’m switching off for the rest of today…