How I learned to do it all as a work-at-home mom

How do you do it all? I want to be a fly on the wall in your home!” asked a friend on Facebook, when she heard about my latest venture.

My short answer: I don’t.

Yes, my friends, sorry to disappoint, but I just don’t do it all.

As someone who manages her home, raises her daughter and creates content and communities for businesses and bloggers worldwide, it just.isn’t.possible.for.me to do everything.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean that if I don’t do certain things, they don’t get done.

They oftentimes do.

For instance, laundry is still done at our house {thank you, Lord!} but the difference is I no longer do it. My husband does. {thank YOU, Lord!}

On the other hand, I no longer make my own laundry detergent because I just didn’t have the time. Nor do I do complicated crafts with my daughter.

So, how does one decide what to do, what to not do and what to get done by someone else?

Here’s what worked for us, as a family:

1. Identify what’s key for your family

For our family, spending time together – reading, traveling, playing – eating healthy, staying healthy, and having a reasonably comfortable and clean home is key.

Knowing what’s key to your family or having a family mission statement is key to helping you decide what are some of the things that absolutely need to get done.

We call these our family energizers since they fuel us with energy and enthusiasm so needed for everyday life.

This also helps you create a list of things that don’t really need to get done.

For instance, staying healthy is key to our family so I needed to get exercise done. But making gifts for everyone from scratch wasn’t on our list of family energizers, so I’ve stopped aspiring to do this.

2. Figure out what other family members can pitch in with

Once my husband and I knew what’s key for us, we decided to work together to split the chores as much as we could and hire out some of the others.

Laundry became his baby while sorting and folding it became mine. Buying groceries is what he loves, while everyday tidying and deep cleaning is my zone of genius!

3. Look at outsourcing or hiring help for a few tasks

Since both of us work from home, we couldn’t split every single thing, even after we’d added quite a bit to the list of things we didn’t need to do.

So, we hired out. We don’t have certified babysitters available here in India and didn’t want a nanny for our daughter.

But I can and I did hire a cleaning lady who comes into sweep, mop, and dust the place.

So, the housecleaning does get done – just not by me.

The key is to know which tasks or chores you can outsource so you can work on your business and focus on the tasks that only you can do. Again, knowing what your family values are comes into play here.

4. Keep your eye on your business goals and values

Finally, being a business owner means that not only do I need to decide what’s key for our family and do away with tasks that don’t sync with our values and mission, but also replicate the same with our business.

Knowing what your business goals and values are help you to keep you focused and stop shiny object syndrome in the tracks.

Working online means being smack dab in the middle of Pinterest, Facebook, blogs and so much more “noise” that it can get tough to keep your eyes on the goal.

Before we jump into yet another “project”, we ask ourselves whether it takes us a step closer to our goal or moves us away from it, and if it does take us closer to where we need to be, is it a task that we can hire out to our team or does it need us to work on it.

These questions as simple as they seem help us to get things done and do away with others.

So, if you’re a work-at-home mama wondering how your friend does it all, remember, maybe she doesn’t. And maybe you shouldn’t either.

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7 Comments

  1. Lydia @Five4FiveMeals

    This is JUST what I needed to read today. I am taking on more hours with work, but I don’t want my children or home to suffer. Thank you!

  2. Mel

    Love these tips. In this very process right now. Learning that if I want to nurture my business and my family, I need to priortize, cut out the unimportant and let go of some expectations.

  3. Caroline

    As someone who aspires to truly do it all but realizes the precious moments and days of my daughters’ childhoods, I so appreciate the simple common sense in this article. Many thanks!

  4. Fawn DeMurl Carriker

    Sensibly and beautifully expressed. I once heard a wise woman say, “Yes, you can have it all, but not all at once.” Throughout the seasons of our lives we must decide what to hang on to personally and what to share with others, whether family members or employees. In our family I (the grammy) have taken on the morning routine, getting granddaughters up and delivering them to school. My daughter and son-in-law share most of the cooking duties, depending on who is home. I do laundry for myself and the girls, and we all pitch in with other chores. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what works best for each family. And sometimes we need to re-negotiate as our situations change. Thanks for a lovely post. – Fawn

  5. Beth

    This is something I am constantly concerned with. Thank you for the added insight!

  6. Chandana

    Your tips resonated with me. As a write-from-home-mom of a baby boy, I’m constantly trying to do what I can and delegate what I cannot or do not want to. I also have remind myself ever so often to not do everything that catches my interest.

  7. Jack B

    I am currently in the Army stationed in S. Korea away from my family for a year again. I became interested in tiny houses about a year ago, I was having problems with my marriage because when I have to leave for work sometimes I don’t come home for a year it’s very hard to deal with. I realized that now that my son is graduating high school I won’t need a two or three bedroom house especially if his mom and I can’t work it out. We’ve been married for 18 years and if it ends or if it doesn’t I am getting out of the Army and living my life much more intentional. I don’t want to have to work 10 or 12 hours a day like I did before the military and I don’t want to have to be gone all the time like in the military. I want to build a nice 20 foot house and go where every I want and if it turns out I don’t like it there I can just move it. I won’t have to worry about selling my house or getting out of a lease. It’s time to live my life for me for a change.

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