Balancing work and parenting when the office is in your home

I am a mom first. Loving three little humans is my most important work project. I also write some code here and there, contribute to marketing projects, and get involved with startups. But, before all that, I am a wife and a mom.

More than 10 years ago I walked away from a huge job – the kind of job they make movies about. I was a key player in a startup venture launched by a multibillion dollar organization. I walked away from that so I could focus on growing my family. At the time, I just did not see a path to both.

Over these 10 years, I forged my path to doing both. I still make sacrifices professionally, and I had to say goodbye to the industry that was my first love. That decision was a great one with immeasurable gains.

My family and I live on Hatteras Island. If you have never had the privilege to visit, you should. I live in paradise. I wake up to the sound of the ocean and seagulls outside my window. We have a consistent breeze and mostly sunny days. We surf, we sail, we fish, and we have so much fun. I am surrounded by a small, loving community invested in my family and children. Many people I love know my name. This is a blessing and privilege I do not take for granted.

Even still, the weight of a mostly solitary, very sedentary occupation affects me. The Covid-19 crisis has been both inspiring and very difficult. School is closed, and so is our daycare. Neither has reopened to us. The co-mingling of my work and family is intense. I have my three children in my office without ceasing.

What I learned through these experiences boils down to Two Really Big Choices:

Take advantage of the freedom to choose where you live and work

  1. Live somewhere that inspires you. Work to live. Never live to work, and check yourself often..
  2. Build active hobbies very different from your work
  3. Get outside EVERY DAY. Rain or shine, cold or hot, windy or calm.

Take advantage of flexible work hours.

  1. Make clean breaks in your schedule. Separate work time from family time even if that means big lifestyle changes. For me it means a workday that starts at 3:30 am.
  2. Be consistent. Follow the same schedule everyday so your family knows what to expect.
  3. Power down. Don’t split your attention during family time

Finally, give yourself a break. Kids are resilient, and caring is more than half the battle. Never feel like “the only one”. Connecting with others who understand is a priority.

You are not the only one because I am right there with you.

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