3.5 years ago, I shared my daily rituals of being a work-at-home mumpreneur. One of my gorgeous readers asked for an update on how things have shifted since then.
So, I thought I’d share with you the behind-the-scenes of what a day usually looks like for me as I tango between motherhood, owning a business, creating, and living a life well loved.
7am: Beth wakes up beside me. She cooes, plays with her hands for a while. I keep napping. When she gets restless, I sleepwalk her out to Chris, pass her off and go back to bed for a 20 minute nap to catch up on missed zzzzz’s as Beth still wakes up a few times during the night.. I don’t like napping during the day, so a little sleep-in on my own does wonders.
8am: Eat breakfast – usually it’s a Bounce protein ball and a Nudie juice. Do the usual tango of getting kids out of pyjamas and into clothes.
9am: Either go out for the morning (go grocery shopping, visiting friends or have a mini roadtrip) or have a “Happy Home Day” (do crafts, gardening, cooking, little house renovations).
Midday: I take a quick drive into the village and buy lunch (usually Japanese, Vietnamese or Indonesian. Most typical: tempura vegetables & teriyaki chicken on rice with a “full fat” Coke. Yep. I know that’s wildly un-PC, but it’s my thing currently, and I’m cool with it). Check the mail. Talk shit with Cindy the Post Office Lady.
Head home. Eat lunch with my little family on the verandah.
1pm: Breastfeed Beth in bed. When she falls asleep, do the soft creep out of the room.
Head off to my studio office just off our garage.
Work for a few hours.
What this usually involves:
- responding to emails from my team about current projects we are working on
- writing blog posts
- working on next big project (for example, lately it’s been the 2015 workbook, Academy membership site redesign, and creating new workshops for the Academy)
- managing my team
- studying and uplevelling my education (on business, marketing, software, finance, management)
- painting/drawing/illustrating images to go on Facebook
- connecting with my mastermind sisters.
Ostara has worked out how to get through the closed doors to my office, so usually comes to visit and draw with all my stationery supplies. Chris looks after Beth, and will give her a bottle of goat’s milk formula if she is hungry. If she’s unsettled and he can’t calm her, he brings her to me for a change of pace. If he needs a break to get some jobs done around the house, he’ll hand her to me as well. We’re constantly checking in with each other to see if both of us are getting the time we need to get things done (without going cuckoo).
When the girls are getting antsy in the later afternoon, I’ll take them outside. Ostara bounces on the trampoline, or we have a picnic.
5:30pm: We have dinner super early. At Granny o’clock. Usually we have vegetarian pesto pasta or turkey pasta. I’m gluten intolerant, so pasta is always gluten-free.
7:00pm: I put both girls to bed. Breastfeed Beth to sleep. Give Ostara a cuddle as she goes to sleep. Sometimes I forget that she is still so little and needs Mama cuddles too.
8:00pm: Plop on the couch beside Mr D. Drink a cup of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea. Read magazines, journal, books, needle felt, sew. Chris watches TV as I do stuff. I try not to work at night time, but if I’m feeling a bit behind I will, or if I’ve got inspiration to blog (like I do tonight), I do.
9:30pm: Head to bed to read.
10:00pm: Lights off. Stare out the window at the night sky laden with stars. Listen to Beth and Ostara’s breathing rise and fall.
Throughout night: Wake up in shafts of moonbeam, nurse Beth.
Ostara goes to kindy two days a week.
Usually it’s a bit of a tango getting her there on time.
What most often happens is Chris will look after Beth (it’s usually around her naptime) and I will do drop-off and pick-ups.
On the return trips when Ostara isn’t in the car, I listen to business/marketing audiobooks and Success magazine CDs.
Sometimes I take Beth with me, and sometimes Chris comes as well for a family outing.
I actually really enjoy doing dropoffs. I really like the other kindy parents and it’s like a little social gathering twice a day.
And I like thinking that this is probably the same crew I’ll be hanging with for the next 14 years of Ostara’s schooling.
One day a week, we have a pilates instructor/personal trainer come to our house for an hour to give me and Chris a workout.
After I gave birth to Beth, I was really needing to get my body back in balance after such a long illness, and with still dealing with hypermobility issues. I’d read that pilates is effective in helping hypermobility.
I kept on trying to work out on WHEN to get to a class, but every which way I looked at it, I knew it was going to be a huge amount of effort to get out of the house and leave the kids with Chris. Plus, I knew Chris was wanting/needing it as well.
I TOTALLY hit a money block about hiring a personal trainer. I had this pre-conceived notion of:
Who am I to have a personal trainer? That’s just TOO decadent!
But I worked out that if me and Chris were both doing separate classes, it would be about the same price anyway!
So our lovely instructor comes once a week and we all pile out onto the verandah to do it in the morning sunlight. Ostara does pilates with us. Beth watches from her rocker beside us or gets cuddles from our instructor.
It’s a really great way to start the week, and we feel SO.MUCH.BETTER. in our bodies for doing it.
After Beth was born, I soon found myself drowning in piles of laundry. I was running every weekend around the house trying to get it in enough shape to work for the week ahead. I was getting damn exhausted, man.
I DEFINITELY had money blocks as well about hiring a cleaner. Like:
Who am I to have a cleaner? That’s too much! I should be able to manage it all!
But ALL of my successful business friends gave me a gentle intervention:
Ummm, Leonie… you’re not actually SUPPOSED to do it all. Give yourself some support here!
They all have cleaners, and were shaking their heads at my running, exhausting attempts at Superwoman-ing it up.
So I hired a cleaner. And I knew Chris would be resistant to it. So I told him the day before the cleaner came what was happening. I think he realised by this point we needed more support in keeping up with kids, house, acreage, animals and business.
Want to know how it all went down?
Basically, our cleaner is the greatest thing ever invented on the face of the planet. She comes for five hours every week. Does all our washing, folding, putting away of clothes. Makes everything sparkle and shine. After she leaves, me and Chris run around the house giddy, showing each other the incredibly perfect folded towels, how clean the oven is, how shiny the floor feels under our feet now it’s been properly mopped. It’s like a brand new house every damn week!
School holidays have just started, so I’ve asked her to come for TWO days a week so she can help out with kids and Chris can do some work for me. It’s the first time ever we’re having a babysitter. And even though we’re staying here at the house with them to work, it feels wildly luxurious. An extra set of hands! Squeee!
Plus, we just really love having her visit. It’s a nice thing.
My new local project manager, Donna, comes up to our house one or two days a week (I say up, because we live up a mountain!) when Ostara is at kindy.
On those days, we’ll do brainstorming face-to-face, planning, and a team meeting on Google Hangouts with Joyce, my US assistant.
I try not to work at all on weekends.
I do this because otherwise I will work every single day for a year and then wonder why I feel burnt out.
Weekends involve usually half a day of outings (take Ostara to ballet/go to the beach/go to the hardware store) and the rest having “Happy Home Time.”
I read the Weekend Australian as my ritual. We do a lot of verandah-ing (i.e. sitting on the verandah, talking, reading, playing with the kids). I always make stuff (food, craft, art, woodwork, toys etc).
SOME THINGS TO NOTE
SUPPORT DIDN’T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT
I know I’m extraordinarily lucky to have my husband at home, and for my business to be at the level of self-sufficiency it is at while my kids are young.
And I also want to share:
It didn’t happen by accident.
It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a surprise.
It wasn’t like winning the lottery.
I have absolutely intended for this to be this way since I was very young.
I’d decided when I was really young (looooong before we started trying for kids) that I would move to the country when I had kids and work out a way to be a stay-at-home-mama AND do my creative business thing.
Chris always says to me
“Just remind people you aren’t an overnight success… every single day for the last decade you’ve been blogging + creating + putting yourself out there daily.”
And of course it’s been one of the biggest joys of my life… of course it has – why else would I have stuck at it?
Steadfast determination and aligning my actions with my intentions brought me here. Aka: doing the important shit every day. Being a determined motherfucker who totally believes in her dream of helping as many peeps as I can.
Was it scary to decide to persuade my love to quit his government job to move to the country and be a stay-at-home dad? Of course!
Did I know that I would make it happen, by hook or by crook?
My faith did. My fear didn’t.
I listened to my faith. And I worked my butt off to make it happen.
I can’t imagine our lives without my love at home with us now. He’s such a huge support for my business, and does much more kid-looking-after than me so I can work.
I am so grateful for his support, love and steadfast faith in me. I totally believe it was a soul contract for us to come together.
I said to him this morning:
I just don’t know if I could do this work without you having my back.
Sometimes it feels really scary to put myself out there.
You are so sage & wise & grounded & give such good advice. You really help me stay centred.
And he said:
You know, even if I wasn’t here, I really believe you’d do it anyway.
Because it’s in you. It’s the thing you love most.
Anyways, what I really mean to say is: he’s hot. 😀
THINGS DON’T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN ALWAYS
Let’s be real here… Things often don’t go according to plan when husbands + childrens are involved!
Some days are a total write-off with sick kids or an emo 4 year old or me being ill (hello three weeks of bronchitis) or a hunky husbo that is needing more time/energy/listening. I’ve learned to be better with accepting that sometimes chaos and humanity happen. And try and just be present with what needs attention in that hour.
In those instances, I assign more stuff to my team, re-evaluate what’s highest priority (coz hey, I’m the boss here, I don’t need to be an asshole slave-driver to myself – it’s taken me years to finally get that), and burn some midnight oil if I need to to get up to speed.
It’s a real balancing act… I try and just turn up to life + business and see what is most needed on that day, and balance that with long-term needs (i.e. my four year old might really NEED me to watch a hundred rounds of her “Pirate and Singing Act”, but I also need some time to focus on my business, and also refill my own well so I don’t burn.the.fuck.out. So I watch her for three rounds (or as long as I can stand) before letting her know that I love you, I think you’re awesome, I need to go to work now, and you can have some quiet play time with yourself, your sister or papa-bear.
I HAD TO GET OUT OF MY “DO IT ALL MYSELF” MINDSET
I used to think I could do absolutely ALL of it.
Now I know I can’t and I’m not supposed to.
It’s good to be supported.
It’s good to balance.
I’m sending all of you mamas out there so much love, time + total heartfelt compassionate understanding,
May all your dreams come true as you do the biggest job on the planet…
I heart you,