Juggling work and family isn’t something I talk about often. I’ve been blessed to work both from home and for myself for the last 16 years so I’ve had a great measure of control over how those two worlds collide and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. While this lifestyle has come at great sacrifice financially compared to a full time career, it has afforded me the opportunity to be the stay at home Mom I always envisioned I would be which I can’t put a price tag on. And at the same time I’ve been able to work creatively and in ways I could have never imagined for which I am beyond grateful. So juggling work and family has been natural for me and because I realize my situation isn’t typical, I haven’t felt like there’s much I can offer here that would be helpful for people working in my traditional ways.
Last October I added a new role to my resume, working locally in commission sales for a franchise of a national brand in the industry I love. While this role is completely outside my comfort zone for skills I use without a 2nd thought, I felt strongly that this opportunity was something I was meant to pursue for that exact reason ~ that it was time to do something different to expand my skill set and learn a new side of the industry.
After almost 16 years working for myself and largely online, I’ve been able to master juggling work and family as a consultant in control of my time. I could accept, or decline, contracts based on my time and financial needs which was awesome. But I also found myself longing to work with people in person. I’ve always loved attending industry events where I get to learn and network with friends new and old, creating interesting stories to share about the experience online and in video, and working brands both behind the scenes and as the face of the brand promoting valuable campaigns to further their message. And I’ve found that the projects I’ve loved most have had me at corporate headquarters in team meetings creating fabulous projects along with those that had me at events working in conjunction with a team, hosting gatherings and working trade show booths. I LOVE conferences, sharing live updates, and all the energy that comes with learning and networking. I’ve been blessed for sure.
I challenged myself to say yes despite how different it was…and so I did. I spent about 2 months in training ~ an easy part time schedule~ and then hit the sales trail hard in December and have been hustling ever since with a more than part time schedule.
And at about four months in, I’m about as unsettled as can be.
After sorting through the layers of discomfort to see if it’s just the vertical learning curve, doing something outside my normal comfort zone, or not loving change, I’ve come to the conclusion that its something more. I’m unsettled because I’m not juggling work and family well. This is new ~ and unwelcome ~ territory for me that has to change. I need to figure out how to move forward knowing that while increasing my income is necessity, the way I work has to be compatible with the way we live. Because I know so many of you walk this same walk every single day I’m thinking there has to be a better way and you just might have some ideas about how. So here are the things that I’m struggling with the most and I’d LOVE your feedback about what works for you.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, my schedule is my compass and in this new role, I don’t know my work schedule with much more than 24-48 hours notice at a time. While I have set hours where I can take appointments, they are set on my behalf and that’s making me all kinds of crazy. Mastering my schedule is my sweet spot. For goodness sakes it’s why I started GO MOM!® in the first place! I live and die by my planner and I’m the first to time block everything I do. But keeping myself open for potential appointments so I can max my earnings is the pits when it comes to protecting the rest of my schedule that has taken a major hit ~ enter making dinner, working out, keeping the business of home running like the well oiled machine it is. So I have some work to do here when it comes to setting realistic expectations about the kind of work schedule I can honor while I take care of things at home.
In my new sales role, the scope of my work is creeping something fierce beyond my scheduled work time and I’ve got to figure out how to keep that in check. With spring athletes and a high school senior playing his last season of tennis, I won’t sacrifice this time as it’s all too fleeting. Which means taking care of post sales call tasks can’t creep into my personal time like it currently does. Streamlining the work flow for maximum efficiency is king here and again, that comes with mastery, which requires time.
For the love. Adjusting to not being able to workout over my lunch hour is killing me. Because I’ve been able to film videos in bulk on certain days, I could then get my workouts in over lunch on the other days and not have to worry about being anything more than cleaned up for the afternoon activities ~ shower, baseball cap, comfy clothes and I’m good to go! Now I’m out the door in the morning with the kids for the day and not back in time to get a work out in before carpool thanks to all that follow up work…see above. My days start at 5:45. In a perfect world I’m a morning workout person. But I’m not a 4:30 am morning workout person. So I’ve got to find a solution. Working out isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity for my health and mental well being ~ just ask the people who live with me.
Never in my 20 years as a Mom have I had such a disinterest in either making ~ or eating ~ dinner. Two things are killing me here. First, I’m not home in the morning or midday like I am so used to being which means not starting the crock pot or buying groceries for the week on a weekday. And that means my easy going meal planning isn’t nearly tight enough for a work pace like I’ve been keeping. The other culprit is I’m trying to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of my afternoons while the kids are doing homework or before I pick them up from practice. Which means I’m not ready to think about dinner until it’s already time to eat dinner ~ translation my people are HANGRY and that’s just a recipe of disaster. I know have to meal plan ~ I’ve juggled dinner with busy sports schedules FOREVER! Just with the luxury of being close enough to home to make it happen at some other time of day. So it’s back to the drawing board to find a new way to make sure dinner is a sure thing.
I had no idea how much I would despise commission sales. Seriously. Why do people do this to themselves? Why am I doing this to myself? I’ve worked on contract forever. I’ve known exactly what I’ll get paid for my efforts from the outset of every contract I’ve ever signed. Which means I know exactly what I can contribute to my family’s bottom line. If I get it done more quickly than I estimate, go me! If it takes me longer, that’s my problem and mine alone. But when I work, I’m focused fully on exactly that ~ doing my 150% best and not worrying about whether or not I’ll actually get paid. In commission sales, it’s all about having a good sales funnel and high closing rate, skills that take time to build and I’m confident I will. But I don’t think I’ll ever lose that anxious feeling that I’m working for nothing until the sale closes. And that’s a new kind of stress I’ve got to get in check.
Dog Mom Guilt
I feel SO guilty about leaving Stanley home alone all day its crazy! He’s 10 years old so for his entire life, I’ve been here more than less. He’s my office mate, my reminder to take a lunch time break for a walk and then hit my elliptical and weights in the garage. He’s my reminder that life is good ~ always happy to see me and hang out. And believe me when you are raising teens your dog is more important than ever if you want any kind of positive feedback for your role as a Mom!
I MISS YOU!!! I’ve not posted nearly as often as I should and it’s eating me inside out. I have a list a mile long of posts and videos to share and all kinds of clever tools up my sleeve that just need my full attention to pound them out. I’ve always been a creative whirlwind and not being able to step off this new merry go round when I want and need to write or film has me conflicted. I’m used to creating my work both in conjunction with an editorial calendar but also when the inspiration strikes. Because I have had such freedom in my days, this was never a problem. Now I need to film and write on a limited schedule and clearly this will take some doing for me to figure out how to make that work.
Change is good even when it’s hard. But that doesn’t mean I’m patient or that I do it very well. This is a lifelong lesson for me and in this season, I’m finding that I have to give myself time to adjust and know that things will settle in. I have to be okay with the bumps and the hiccups while we find a new groove that accommodates this kind of work while I choose to pursue it.
I have to be flexible.
I’ve long said you can have it all, just not all at once. And I still believe that to this day. I’m blessed to have an understanding and supportive husband and kids who are older and can, and want to, do so many things for themselves. This is exactly why I can try new aspects of my work while I continue to pursue what I love to do. Tell me…
How have you fine tuned juggling work and family
when it’s not going so well?
Thanks so much for stopping by…we’ll see you next time!