Each weekend a new “Brunch” post will feature thoughts about balancing family and self care with working in an always-on Internet environment. This edition is by Rachel Goldstein.
As a parent who runs a successful Internet business, you probably assume that I have no free time to spend quality moments with my 4 young children. I have to admit that sometimes it is a struggle to place my priorities with my children, as I really enjoy the work that I do. As the bread-winner and the caretaker of my family, I am being pulled in both directions. When my priorities are out of place, I snap out of it by simply reminding myself that I started this business 10 years ago so that I could stay home with my kids. My solution to balancing my career-life with my family-life is a bit unorthodox, but it works very well for me and my family.
In order to be able to work full time for my business and be there emotionally and physically for my kids, I changed my schedule drastically to fit my family’s demands. Two of my kids are in school and two of my kids are still at home with me during the day. Every morning, after I get my older kids off to school and my younger kids dressed and fed, then I set 30 minutes to an hour aside for myself to answer morning emails (sometimes there are 100s). I put off writing back to emails that don’t seem urgent. After that beginning block of time, I dedicate 45 minutes out of every hour to spend time with my kids (for every hour they are awake). The other 15 minutes of every hour is put towards answering emails or getting smaller business tasks completed.
When I spend time with my kids, I make the most of this special time together. We sing songs, read books, tell stories, and play games with each other. During the kids’ afternoon nap and after bedtime at night, I get the bulk of my work done. I normally don’t get to sleep until 2 or 3 AM, depending on how much work I need to get completed. And if I can’t get what I want done, I have to just relax and try to get it done tomorrow. I have to remember that there isn’t a boss breathing down my throat to get the work done, it is only my inner drive that is pushing me so hard. I know that I need more sleep than I am currently getting, but this is my way of balancing work and motherhood at the same time.
My kids know that they are much more important than my work and that they will always come before the business. However, the older kids are also starting to understand that I have to work in order to pay the bills. I try to make every bit of time with my children special, and every chance I get I try to turn every day trivialities into a silly joke to make them laugh. People are always mentioning to me that they have never seen kids who smile as much as mine, and even though this is partly genetics to blame (I smile a lot too), I would like to think that it is also because I am doing something right.
Thank you, Rachel!
Rachel Goldstein is a graphic designer, web designer and muralist whose hard work created a business that allows her to stay home with her kids. After a few years, her husband Josh was able to quit his full-time job and work on the family business from home as well. Together, they run more sites than you can shake a stick at, including these familiar resources: