I've been told by friends and family members that there is a way to do it all. This happens when I complain that there aren't enough hours in my day to do all of my PR work plus the necessary house tidying before 3. That fine hour is when I hit the "pause" button on work, fetch my two older sons from school and plop them on the floor to entertain their baby twin brothers. While they play, I go back and hit "play" on work while keeping a careful eye on the floor. I resume my tasks while I simultaneously entertain the kids, make dinner (or pour bowls of cheerios) and scramble to pseudo-clean so it isn't total chaos when my husband returns from his hour-plus commute. "I'm sure there's a way to fit in the cleaning too," he suggests gently as I reflect on my busy work day. He says this rather cheerily as he picks off damp Honey Nut Cheerios from the backs of our kitchen chairs. He then tidies up and runs out to the grocery store before getting a chance to eat dinner. I don't "watch the clock" while working from my home office. I often inevitably go over the allotted number of monthly hours for each of my clients because I need to garner results -- "results" being press coverage. Determined to be ever the uber-professional, I strategize, devise, rethink, write and rewrite, pitch story ideas and document all of that work. Hence, there are not enough hours in my day. In an effort to figure out a better way to manage my time (and help my poor husband out!), I interviewed 75 women who work, whether it be professional work or caring for a child (which, of course, is the hardest job) from home like myself. During the course of my interviews, some common themes emerged: having a supportive husband (check! Got that.), learning to delegate (who to?), setting a timer to clean, then getting back to work and cleaning again (sounds like "lather, rinse, repeat," and this occurs in 15 minute increments each), and keeping planners (one unbelievably organized "Alpha Mom" said she has daily, weekly, monthly and yearly to-do planners!). Mia Redrick is a mom not unlike me, who started her own business and works from home. She founded Finding Definitions, LLC, which offers coaching, classes and seminars "on topics relevant for a mother's personal growth on her journey throughout motherhood." She advises moms (she herself is a mom to 3) to "DIPP: Delegate, Incorporate, Plan and Purge." Also the author of "Time for Mom-me, 5 Essential Self-Care Strategies for a Mother's Self-Care," Mia explains how these 4 steps get her through the daily grind:
- Delegate: ask family members to help with household chores or baby duty tasks.
- Incorporate others in your space; consider outsourcing laundry or household cleaning. Hire a mother's helper from the neighborhood to come over for a few hours to give you a hand.
- Plan by taking 15 minutes in the morning and considering what it is you would like to accomplish that day.
- Purge means getting rid of the unnecessary and learning to say "no" to what's unrealistic or too much to take on."