Guest Blog: Work-Life Balance?
Shopping. It’s one of my great passions, and I’ve had the wonderful luck to be able to turn it not just into my hobby but my job, too. I started STEALS.com after I had my third child – it hit me as I was pulling out of the driveway when my maternity leave ended. I wanted to start my own business so I could be financially free, and find a better balance between work and home life. I can’t say I’ve fully mastered work-life balance just yet, but there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that have been a big help.
•Keep work and home separate…even if you work out of your home. Balancing family and work at the same time usually results in less time and attention being given to both. When your focus is divided, it’s difficult to be effective at either task. Instead, work smart. Create a schedule and decide which hours you’ll work, and which hours you’ll have for yourself and your family. When you’re working, close the door and work. This might even mean hiring help to give the kids what they need while you’re at home working. When it’s family time, put the iPhone down for a while and give them your full attention.
• Eat in. When things get hectic, my instinct is to hit a restaurant. But I’ve found that sitting down to a meal together at home accomplishes a few important things. First, it saves money – what working mom doesn’t appreciate that. Second, it’s guaranteed family time, which is especially great after a long day. It also actually takes less time out of your night, when you take into account driving to and from a restaurant and waiting for service.
• Create time for yourself. I think a lot of moms feel guilty about doing this – I know I do sometimes – but it is SO important. Even if it’s just for one hour a day – sign up for a fitness class, take a cooking class, or join a local community group. Everyone needs a little time to herself to de-stress, relax, and prepare for the next day. It’s a critical first step toward work-life balance.
Being a mom isn’t easy, but there are a lot of people out there with a lot of great advice to help along the way. As a new mom, the best advice I ever received was that you can never spoil your baby. I attended to my babies every time they cried and they turned out great! They were always very secure and would go to anyone. Today, Easton is 19 (yes, it’s true!), Brandon is 12, and Jane just turned 7. The advice I regularly give is that your heart will guide you. You know your baby better than anyone else – trust your judgment and be confident in your mothering. And when in doubt…try a little retail therapy! Finding great products always makes me feel a little better about everything. The three products I recommend most often – and are HUGELY popular with our shoppers – include the ErgoBaby carrier, Signing Time, and Aden+Anais muslin blankets.
Jana Francis is a mom of 3, online shopping queen, and frugal shopping expert. She is the founder & president of STEALS.com, a network of daily deal sites for baby, kids, women, and more – at discounts of 50-80% off.