3 Ways to Bring Harmony (Not Balance) to Your Work/Motherhood Mix
Did you know we had TWO beautiful bouncing babies join our IOD family in 2021?
Josie’s daughter, Maddy (AKA our fabulous Director of Operations) welcomed a darling daughter in April ( her first ), and my ( Sally’s ) brood added its sixth cherub in August. That means there are THIRTEEN kids (and not a moment of quiet) among the IOD team!
Our office has always been a place where children are welcome. In fact, supporting working moms who want to bless their families with income while keeping being a mama as first priority is one of our core values! After all, We’re a full-blown family business so it’s usually all hands on deck!
High chairs, playmats, and burp cloths are just as essential as Moulds, Stamps, Inlays, and Transfers when it comes to getting our work done. But when we first started in business, it was a real struggle. While finding ways to integrate working with motherhood hasn’t been easy, it’s been a constant part of our journey.
In the hopes of helping other women who have babes on their hips, toddlers in tow, or tweens and teens in the mix, we wanted to share what we’ve learned about combining motherhood and work.
No time now? Pin this post for later.
Now, grab some coffee (or tea) and chat with Jos and I below.
THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN MIXING WORK & MOTHERHOOD
1. PERFECT BALANCE IS AN ELUSIVE MYTH
Some of you may not know that for my husband and me the journey to parenthood was filled with infertility and many miscarriages. It was painful and hard but I wouldn’t trade it for the world as God moulded us through that season. When we finally experienced the miracle of having children, we were especially mindful of the importance of keeping them as our priority.
At the same time, Josie and I have true entrepreneurial spirits and are always thinking of new ideas and ventures. This meant work and family life were ever-changing as careers grew and kids joined the family.
What we learned was this – there is no perfect work/life balance as a mom. Even when you think you’ve found the perfect system or schedule – one child will get sick, or their ages and stages change – and your “perfect” system fails.
After years of frustration from futile searches for the perfect formula only to be left in a puddle of mom guilt, I had an “ah-ha!” moment! I let the idea of “balancing work and life perfectly” go and I simply embraced a flexibility mindset, seeking harmony instead of balance. I realized nobody has “the secret formula” because there is no secret formula! For Josie and I, we found a blending and integrating model to be effective in aligning our actions with our priorities.
For us, blending and integrating looks like this – “Let’s shift and try this for today and tomorrow might look different. I might be interrupted to care for my family and I won’t let that frustrate me, I will do my best to embrace change and remain flexible. I will always make sure my husband and kids know they are more important than work.”
2. EFFICIENCY ISN’T THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
This one is huge because many of us tend to think, “I’m not being productive enough. My time isn’t being used efficiently. If I was more efficient, my business would experience more financial growth.”
We often hear people talk about success and it usually equates to using your time the most efficiently to earn the most financially.
Yet for us, success means having a business that involves our family, or blends with our family, in a way that works for our family. That means our first measure of success is harmony and emotional health in our homes and not efficiency and financial growth. Those things are important, but they are not the most important. This mindset allows us to have peace when our day bounces back and forth between zoom calls and bottle feeds.
Neither of us has it all figured out and we’ve hit some dead ends along the way.
Josie started out thinking all she had to do to make work and motherhood mesh successfully was to train her kids. One example of this is she would say to her son, “Gavin today mommy is going to focus on her work. If you need something, you can ask Daddy.”
That didn’t work at all and as she found herself scolding him one too many times, she came up with a better approach. Instead, when he needed to ask a question, Josie stopped, listened, and gave him her full attention.
This was a challenge because Josie is someone who has to work at deep focus and cannot easily return to it when interrupted. Stopping to listen to Gavin and what he needed took her out of her flow, and getting back into it again was difficult.
BUT it was worth having that point of connection with her son in the moment. In that moment she prioritized mothering effectively instead of working efficiently. Of course, there are times when you need to steal away for some uninterrupted time, but that is the exception and not the rule for us and our families.
3. INTEGRATING YOUR KIDS INTO YOUR WORK IS SO GOOD FOR THEM!
In other countries, moms have no other option than to bring their children to work with them.
Their kids learn and start helping out in the business at a young age. This is so incredibly enriching for them and an integral part of their growth. They feel empowered as a contributing member of the family.
That’s not as much a part of Western culture as it is in other countries. We live in such a fast-paced, career-focused world here in America. We’ve heard other countries describe us as “living to work” instead of working to live.
Anyone who has involved their kids when doing chores or baking in the kitchen knows it is not the most efficient way to do things, but it sure is effective in training them to be great humans. Involving them in your business can be just as rewarding.
All of our kids have had a hand in building our business, from helping with video work to unloading boxes, there really is something for everyone to do at almost any age!
(TIP: It’s possible to make your kids employees and allow them to use that money for things you normally pay for. This teaches them money management, gives them confidence, and is a tax write-off for you! Of course, we’re not accountants so consult with a professional about tax laws where you live.)
Bottom line, you get to decide what works best for your family and your business. You prioritize the way that works best for you.
We’d love to keep this conversation going, so if you have ideas to share about this topic, drop a comment below!
And if you want to know a bit more about IOD and our families…
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