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Balancing work and family is nearly impossible. Like juggling, only so many balls can be up in the air at one time. When another ball is picked up, another ball must drop. It’s a give and take. A constant ebb and flow. While some of us struggle to maintain both aspects of our lives, others have figured out the tips and tricks to keeping both family and career afloat, without sacrificing our sanity or relationships. Our guest contributor, a mother of three and an Advanced Practice Provider, provides some key insight into ‘doing it all’ after witnessing the success of a close friend.
Growing up, Heather was always that person who did her own thing, at her own pace and was always able to get things done when the rest of us would be struggling or having trouble figuring things out. It was no surprise to any of us when she started her own freelancing business out of college. She was her own boss, able to set her own hours, and provide a real tangible service to her clients. That’s how she met Dave, her husband actually. He was one of her first clients and they hit it off right away. Now, five years later, they have four wonderful kids and Heather’s business is thriving.
I have struggled to keep my own work/life balance afloat and always wondered how she did it. So, one day I met her for lunch and decided to ask her how she does it. How can she keep a balance between her freelancing clients and her family life? How she does it astounded me and made me want to reevaluate how I handle things in my business.
Heather schedules everything. From early morning workouts to lunches with clients or friends like me. “Scheduling is key.” She said, “Without a schedule, I would be jumping from one thing to the next and never get anything done. It helps keep me focused.” But having a schedule can have its disadvantages too she says, “There are times when I just want to play with my children, but I have a deadline. So my schedule has to be modified because I can’t lose precious moments with them, but it all works out.” Flexibility in her schedule helps get her clients’ work done, and also helps to keep her from missing precious moments with her kids.
Be upfront with clients
Having four kids, with their schedules and appointments can cause some havoc when it comes to the work Heather needs to do. “I’m always upfront with my clients. I let them know I have four children, who may demand my time if something comes up. I make it a point for them to know this,” she says. While she understands that some clients may not get this and choose not to work with her because of it, she says that’s fine. There are numerous clients out there who understand. Her clients know that if something comes up, Heather will let them know and make arrangements so that it doesn’t hinder the work she is doing for them.
See the bigger picture
Working as a freelancer from home does have its benefits. Every morning, Heather gets to drop her kids off at school, instead of them having to take a bus. And on some days, she’ll pick them up at the end of the day and take them for ice cream. “Being able to do those things with them, it’s just perfect.” But being able to do that with her two daughters and two sons means focusing on her freelance career, even when there are other things that she would rather be doing. “I have missed my daughter’s basketball games and movie nights with them and my husband, and it stinks, it does, but I know that I’m helping my family grow and setting a great example for them.” Heather tries to see the bigger picture because she knows that the kind of life she’s providing her kids is worth more than any amount of money offered by a client.
Ask for help
Even with all of her success, asking for help is something that Heather is not unaccustomed to doing. “Dave is my rock star. With the girls and boys, or helping me in my business, even in the smallest way, I wouldn’t be where I am without him.” With his own full-time job, Dave helps out however he can. Whether mailing letters or if it’s something with the kids, Dave is there to be her support system. That’s what makes Heather’s business thrive. It isn’t her clients, or her talent, all of which definitely help, but it’s her relationship with her husband Dave, that helps keep things running smoothly so she can focus on the task at hand.
Susy Richards is a lovely mother of three girls (3, 4, and 5 years old) and a simple woman who is ready to share her priceless experience with other mommies around the world. She is an Advanced Practice Provider who passed birth doula and postpartum doula courses at Childbirth International in 2013. Susy is passionate about providing holistic care and is involved in pregnancy research, currently publishing her articles concerning pregnancy on the site rocketparents.com.