by Sara Tams of sarah + abraham
When I decided to start a business, sarah + abraham, in 2007 I was a stay-at-home-mom with two kids ages 2 and 4. I was only able to work when they were napping or having quiet time or after they were in bed. It was frustrating to have so many ideas but so little time to work.
The first winter was especially difficult. I finally started getting some orders, and I was having all of my printing done at Kinko’s, so several times a week I had to bundle my kids up and try to keep them entertained while we waited in line or while I used the paper cutter. Trips to the post office were also no fun at all (for me or for them!)
There were so many times I questioned what I was doing. It always felt like at least one area of my life was suffering as I tried to balance being a stay-at-home-mom, growing my business, being a good spouse, nurturing my friendships, and taking care of myself.
Today my business and family life have changed drastically compared to a few years ago. My kids are both in school full-time and able to entertain themselves for a couple of hours after school, for the past 15 months my husband has been at home helping me with the kids and with my business, and I typically only work about 20 – 30 hours a week while earning the same income that we lived on when my husband was working full time.
There are still days when I get frustrated that I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to, but I’m much more comfortable now with the concept of balance being a continual process, not something that I’m striving to achieve.
I’ll never have a day when I get a lot of work done, meet a friend for coffee, have a great workout, run errands, make a healthy dinner, and spend quality time with my family. I’ll certainly never have a week full of days like that. And that’s okay.
Every night at bedtime my husband, kids, and I each say three things we liked about our day. We do this to teach our kids about gratitude, but it has also taught me to be more thankful for the small blessings that every day holds and to not be so frustrated about the things that I didn’t accomplish.
My advice to other moms who are overwhelmed by starting a business while they have small children at home is that it won’t be like this forever. Your kids will be in school before you know it. Your business will grow and change in ways you can’t even imagine. It’s okay to not accomplish as much as you’d like to as fast as you’d like to – you’ll get there eventually!
If you’re a mom and a business owner, please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on balance and what has worked for you.