When my oldest (now 14) was around 7 years old, he thought that a 1 hour ride back home from Six Flags theme park was the perfect time to take up the Tootsie Roll Pop Challenge and see how long it would take to get to the candy’s center without biting. He thought the cartoon owl in the commercial was hilarious, so he wanted to test the theory himself. After seeing the first sign of a caramel center, he yelled from the backseat, “576, Mom!”.
This time last year I was asking myself a similar question after having my baby, “How many days does it take to get back to a ‘normal” routine after having a baby?” As the commercial goes, I was truly convinced that, “The world may never know”. Ha!
My pregnancy came in the middle of a newly launched online business, so I was eager to keep up the momentum after the pregnancy. As a one woman operation, I wanted everything on the front end to look like business as usual, but after a few weeks of basically sleep walking, I knew that pushing myself too hard was not good for me and in the long run it would negatively impact my business. It finally occurred to me that the “old” normal no longer worked and that I needed to embrace a “new normal” if I was going to thrive in my business and especially my home life. I realized that waiting around for the “old normal” to come back would only lead to frustration, but adopting a “new normal”would give me the freedom to experiment without the pressure of fitting into an old mold.
Here’s what I’ve learned about time management, running an online business and blogging after having a baby.
- Work at night and am feedings. Sleep deprivation is a HUGE issue for most new moms. Waking up throughout the night for feedings and then rolling out of bed onto the floor in the morning after 3 hours of sleep is not way to start a work day. Since I was up with the baby at night anyway, I created a makeshift office in my bedroom where he slept. I placed my lap top on an empty nightstand and grabbed a high back swivel chair from my office. I added a few pillows for comfort and a foot stool. I decided NOT to fight the night wakings thing and just go with it. Once I embraced the fact that for 6 months or so, I’d be nocturnal, night time and the early am became my most productive time.
- Be honest with your clients. If you are a freelancer with a client base, the most important thing you can do for your clients and your business relationship is to be open about any schedule adjustments that need to be made after you have a baby. The first 6 months are HIGHLY unpredictable, and therefore, not a good time to commit to tight deadlines. My experience has been that good clients appreciate honesty and are more flexible upfront than if you commit to something that you are unable to fulfill later down the line.
- Give yourself a break from blogging. You don’t have to quit cold turkey (unless you want to), but you can cut it down to what’s manageable for you. This one was a challenge for me because I didn’t want to lose followers and since my blog is monetized, fewer followers means less “clicks” and opportunities to bring in a few $$$. It was definitely a sacrifice for me financially in the short run, but in the long run, it saved my sanity. Blogging uses up a lot of brain cells, Ha! Ha! And trust me, after having a baby, I needed to hold onto whatever cells I had left. I used my time away from blogging to live in the moment without the pressure of deadlines or outside expectations and it was amazing. The break was a huge turning point in how I view my business, my family life and how the two are interlinked.
Our little guy is now a year. For the last 6 months my “new normal” has consisted of answering emails at 3am, typing blog posts with one hand while nursing and trying to keep sticky baby fingers off of my keyboard, but it’s working. It’s not WHAT the normal looks like that matters, it’s whether or not it works for you.
This year I’ll be exploring a new normal and how to tweak it as the kids get older. I’ll keep you posted.
Enjoy your weekend!
Keep doin’ what you love!