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Balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship is hard. Like, really hard. There are days where I wish I could just go back to working a 9-to-5 and letting someone else handle the stress and day to day tasks of running a business.
And then I look at my daughter… and I realize that this is the happiest I’ve ever been.
You see, running a business while being a mom IS hard. I’m not knocking that. But it’s also totally worth it. I get to wake my daughter up with kisses. I’m able to make her lunch for her. I get to teach her and play with her any time she wants. I can stop whatever it is I’m doing, at just about any time (except when I’m on a call), and dedicate my time and attention to her. And to top it all off, I make enough money to do that. And it feels SO GOOD.
However, it wasn’t always like that. At one point, I wanted to tear my hair out and just quit. I was so overwhelmed and burnt out. I would dread waking up to work on the business that I loved (and still love) so much. It took me time to realize it, but the main problem was me.
So I set out to change myself and the things around me that made me so miserable, because I wanted my business, and my parenting, to work and work well. Here are the 8 things I stopped doing that saved my sanity and made me a better mother and entrepreneur.
Checking Emails On The Weekends
I’ve talked about how I only check emails at certain times during the day, but I also have to mention that I completely stopped checking my emails on the weekends. My weekends are time to be with family and enjoy their company, NOT work. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I will work on my own projects, but I don’t check my email anymore. Why? Because if I do, I’ll start working on client work or answering emails when I should have my focus somewhere else. It’s just better for me to avoid it all together.
Using Social Media On My Phone
Besides Instagram, I don’t have any social media apps on my phone. I would delete Instagram too, but I can only reply back to comments and go live/use stories if I use the app. However, even Instagram is limited, and I only allow myself a few minutes each day to check it.
Here’s the thing, I’m not an “in moderation” type of person. I go overboard. I’m not the type of person that eats fast food just once. I can’t check Facebook just once. If I start scrolling through Pinterest I’ll end up doing that all night. So for me, and my sanity, it’s just better if I get rid of all of it so I’m not tempted. It’s been such a huge help, and I actually go to bed on time now!
Keeping My Daughter At Home Full-Time
As much as I love my daughter, and as much as I love being around her, I realized that she was getting lonely being with me and her father 24/7. We live right across from a school, and she would see kids playing and wonder why she couldn’t play with them. I realized that she just liked hanging around kids her own age vs. with me and her dad all of the time. To top it off, she’s an extrovert, which is the complete opposite of what I am. I didn’t see how much I had been holding her back by keeping her at home full-time.
So, my husband and I decided to put her into preschool twice a week, and it’s been the best decision we’ve ever made for her. She loves going to school and seeing her friends, and her teachers say that she’s a talker and super-duper smart. They love having her, and she loves going. If she keeps this up, we may enroll her 3-4 days a week in the fall. I would still like to continue homeschooling her, but we will see how that goes. At the end of the day, if she’s happier at a school with other kids, then I won’t stop that.
Doing Everything Myself
My husband says I’m the man of our relationship. I’m very much a “provider” type person, and it’s hard for me to ask for help, so learning to give up control was hard for me but so worth my sanity. I remember how I would try to do all of the housework, all of my work, and all of the components of taking care of my daughter. At one point my husband asked me, “Well, what do you even need me for?”.
And that hurt. I just wanted to do what I felt a wife and mother was supposed to do, which is take care of her family. See, I grew up in a home where I always felt like I was worthless, or that if it weren’t for other people, I wouldn’t have what I had. I was a very independent child, but it always seemed like I was looked down on and that I could never do anything right. It was like I HAD to be perfect in order to succeed at the simplest of things. At one point, I was told that I would never amount to anything. So I grew up thinking that I shouldn’t let anyone do anything for me, because if I did, then I would owe them something or they could use it against me later on.
When my husband told me how he felt, that me doing everything actually made him feel worthless, I had to step back and realize that I wasn’t allowing him to contribute to the family. It wasn’t an ego thing for him. It was him trying to be my partner. My equal. He wanted to take care of me too, and he wasn’t expecting to gain anything from it. He just wanted to love me as best as he knew how. And me, being the independent and untrustworthy person I was, wasn’t allowing that.
So after a lot of long talks, and some therapy on my part, we both feel like we are truly partners. We both give the relationship and our duties 100%. Neither of us does more than the other, and we both pick up the slack when needed. I can’t tell you how much weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I now have the freedom to actually have me time and leisure time, all because I gave up some control and let my husband help me!
Hiring A VA
Another way I stopped doing everything myself is by finally hiring a VA (or virtual assistant) to help me run this expanding business of mine. For so long I fought the urge to hire someone because I’m particular and I like for things to be done a certain way. I never thought I would find someone who could do what I do AND do it well. BUT I found her, and I don’t think I’ll ever let her go (no matter how big and bad she gets). She’s been the perfect fit in my business, and I’m so grateful that she puts up with my perfectionist ways and does things that allow me to spend more time with my family.
When I stopped doing everything myself, I also stopped cleaning. Now, don’t get all grossed out. The house is clean. There’s no roaches or huge stains on the floor. However, I have stopped cleaning the house. Instead, my husband (who is a stay-at-home dad) cleans. And he cooks too, when I ask him. And while things aren’t exactly 100% spotless, they’re clean and everyone is happy and healthy. So I’ll take that as a huge win. As for me? Having him clean saves me hours every single week, so I can focus on being more productive and spending more time with him and our daughter.
Dealing With Energy Drainers
Did you know that energy drainers aren’t just in your personal life? They can be in your professional life too! Back in 2016, I got rid of a lot of my personal energy drainers. But for some reason, I still felt like I was exhausted and “so over everything”. That’s when it hit me. I still had energy drainers in my business. There were clients that I didn’t really mesh well with. I had clients who didn’t respect my time and boundaries. I had clients who expected me to have my own private office and not be interrupted ever (even though I’m a mom first).
So you know what I did? I got rid of those clients. Now, I’ll be honest, a few got rid of me too, but it went back to us not meshing well. They were also expecting more out of me than what my contract stated. I would gladly refer them to someone else, because at the end of the day, I’m my own boss, and they can’t tell me what to do. Sounds a little childish and petty, but that’s the whole point of being your own boss! You can choose who you want to work with and how. And if you can’t choose that, then it’s time to see if you have some energy drainers in your business.
Waking Up At 5 AM
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wake up super early to be successful and productive. In fact, I’m living proof that you don’t have to do that. I wake up at 7:30 am every morning now, and I don’t start working until 9 am. And you know what? It’s fantastic. I get more sleep, I wake up refreshed, and I’m ready to tackle my day. I am NOT a morning person. I’m not really a night owl either (unless I have to be). My most productive time is between 12 pm and 4 pm.
So why would I wake up so early? Because at one point I worked at a job that required me to be there before 7 am. So my body had gotten so used to waking up that early that I never really got the chance to sleep like I wanted to. So, I made the decision to just stop waking up at 5 am.
It was hard at first, especially because I had woken up at 5 am every morning for almost 3 years. But now, I wake up around 7:30 am on the dot every single morning, even weekends. It has totally saved my sanity. I no longer have to drink 5 cups of coffee a day. I no longer feel grumpy and groggy. When I wake up, I get up and go about my day and do so willingly. So no, 5 am is not for everyone, and all it did was drive me crazy.
Overall, these changes have made me feel so much better about my personal and professional life, and I’m so glad I stopped doing these things. My sanity has been restored, and it feels so good!