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Note from Lisa:
My baby break is continuing, as we’re getting adjusted to life as a family of ten. We’re sure enjoying little Bryson Luke!
Today I’m excited to share Vashti’s post on balancing your home business when your spouse is deployed or working long hours.
Her post really hit home with me, as my husband served in the Navy early in our marriage, and since then, has definitely had jobs where he was away more than he was home. I’m so thankful that he’s now working in a local business so we can see him more!
Take it away Vashti!
Feeling overwhelmed and trying to figure out how you’re going to get it all done when you solo parent a lot?
Are you a work at home mom or homeschooler whose husband often travels for work, or works really long hours?
I can totally relate and I’m here to tell you that even if you feel overwhelmed–like all the time, you’ve got this mama! With the right tools and support systems, we can be successful entrepreneurs while staying at home with our children.
In 2015 we moved back to the United States after being abroad for 5 years. I had delivered our second child about 6 months prior and I really wanted to be able to stay home with her as I had stayed home her older sister.
In March 2016 I decided to start my own virtual assistant business. Now at the time I started my business, my husband wasn’t traveling all the time, and my oldest daughter, who is 4 yrs old, was in pre-k.
Little did I know that I was about to spend 6 months as a solo parent, WAHM, and soon to be homeschooler.
When I look back at it, it was truly overwhelming. But I know that women do it every day. Strong women.
I want to share with you how I get through the tough times and how you can too. This doesn’t just pertain to women whose husbands are deployed, but to those who travel a large percentage of the time or just work ridiculously crazy hours.
I like a schedule. As a planner, this is a key component of maximizing the hours in each day, especially now that I am homeschooling.
However, my schedule is flexible to meet the ever-evolving needs of my children. Initially, I thought I would have to shut down my business when I started homeschooling, but about 6 weeks into it, I figured out that I could perhaps focus more on freelance writing and less VA work, as writing seems to fit into my schedule easier.
In order to maximize my time, I get up before the kids (5:30ish) and start checking email and writing leads, etc. from the bed. I don’t get out of bed because my oldest co-sleeps and has this ninja-like ability of knowing exactly when I get up. It works better for all of us if she sleeps in past 5:30.
So I do admin work, plan my blog, etc. while she’s sleeping beside me. Then around 7:15, I get up, workout and get ready for the day. By 8:30 my youngest is awake, and it’s time to get the kids up, fed and ready for school. We homeschool anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on their attention span that day.
At the end of homeschool, we do family writing time which I learned about from Lisa! My two-year-old is still working on being quiet for 15 minutes, but we’re getting there and I hope I can incrementally increase the time.
Fifteen minutes isn’t a ton of time, but it allows me to catch up on email or work on my writing class, or make a blog graphic. It doesn’t matter what you work on, but it’s great to have a little time.
After lunch, both of my kid’s nap and that’s when I do client work, schedule calls, etc. It’s only about two hours, but I try to use it wisely. Even when I just want to watch Netflix.
When my husband’s home, I work for an hour after he gets home. If he’s gone, I usually work a little after the kids go to bed, if I have any energy left, and depending on my workload.
Your Mom Network
This is a critical component to my sanity and ability to be a WAHM and homeschooler.
I live in Texas and my closest family is 2,000 miles away, so I really had to work on this. Thank goodness for my amazing neighbor and the circle of friends I have made here.
I am so grateful to live in the modern age of IM and Facetime because I do rely heavily on my friends and family that aren’t close by. This is especially the case when my husband is gone. I go to this network to help me make decisions and bounce ideas off of. Without my mom network, this solo parenting gig would be much harder to manage.
Crying is Ok
Being with your kids 24/7 and/or running your own business at the same time while often solo parenting can be overwhelming and some days soul crushing. It is a blessing to be able to stay home and work, while being with your kids, but not everyday is a sundae with a cherry on top.
And that’s why crying is ok. We try so hard to be strong for our kids, and not let them see us upset, but I’ve come to realize that it’s ok for my kids to see my cry sometimes. I am human after all, and not everything is always perfect.
I often feel restored when I just let myself have a good cry. I think we’ve all had those days where the baby was up all night, the dog puked all over the house, and you backed your car into the garage door because you’re so tired and your kids are screaming in the backseat. Give yourself permission to be human.
Ok, I’m not going to lie, I kind of suck at this, even though I know it’s so important, not only for moms/business owners/educators but for our families.
When we’re relaxed, they’re relaxed. If your husband is gone a lot, you might not have much time for self-care. But it can be as small as a bubble bath after the kids are asleep, to a weekend away when your hubby is home.
Sometimes, even a nice walk by yourself is all you need. If you live close to the grandparents, let them watch the kids often. Again, allow yourself to be human.
Don’t Let the Voices In
By this I mean stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Love your life, not theirs.
We are all on a journey, sometimes a really difficult one, and as mompreneurs, we wear a lot of different hats. What works for me, might not work for you and that’s ok.
We each have to find our own path to being a WAHM with a hubby who is gone a lot, and letting in critical voices is the last thing we need. Stay focused on your achievements, how your kids are thriving, and just how awesome you are.
When it seems overwhelming, remember you’re not in this alone. The fact that you are even doing this is amazing and you are a rockstar!