Being a parent is a rewarding job. Yet, rewarding doesn’t mean easy, especially when you throw in a side hustle or full-time business.
Take it from me. It seems like the past seven years of my life have been all about the hustle. I’ve been running my online business for the past two years and also work part-time at my son’s school. Before that, I worked full-time at a web design company and ran a freelance and blogging business on the side. I can’t forget to throw college into the mix, which meant scheduling my classes around my son’s daycare and preschool schedule.
When it comes to managing your household and dividing your attention between your kids and work, I understand the struggle. If you want to find balance, it comes down to managing your time and energy more effectively. Here are 6 tried-and-true tips to help you balance your act.
Get On a Specific Schedule
Kids thrive on routines, and so do adults. If you’re super busy between work and your home life, your head will literally be spinning if you don’t work out some type of schedule.
This includes setting up a daily plan, including tasks that need to be handled in order of importance, as well as a morning and evening routine. Use an old-fashioned paper planner or an online calendar to plan out your days and weeks in advance.
Adopting a morning and evening routine is crucial because it will free up more of your time and energy. My family’s evening routine starts about 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime. We clean up, do dishes, take baths, read, and set out clothes and lunches for the next day. This way we don’t have to think about it in the morning. When the morning rolls around, I know exactly what I have to do and I’m not as overwhelmed.
Work Around Your Child’s Schedule
Flexible work opportunities can be a real help for busy parents.
If you’re taking on freelancing gigs like coaching, consulting, writing, project management, or even flex work like mystery shopping or dog walking, you’ll likely have more control over your schedule and can choose the hours you work.
Even if you have to work a set schedule, you can always try requesting shifts that allow you to work around your child’s day. If you have school-aged kids, here’s another tip: try to get the bulk of your work done while they’re in class and this way you can spend quality time with them when they get home from school.
When I was freelancing on the side, I would wake up at 5 am to work on my side hustle. If you feel more motivated to work at night, you may also find it helpful to stay up after the kids go to bed and crank out some projects.
Carve Out Dedicated Family Time
Just because you can multi-task while your child watches television doesn’t make this quality time together.
Instead, try committing to unplugging for at least one hour a day and doing something fun with your child – whether it’s reading a book, watching a movie, going to the park, or playing a board game.
Organization can help you achieve more downtime. In fact, try organizing your work tasks while your child is at school, asleep, or in daycare This way, you’ll be able to free up windows of time to relax with your family.
Find a Support System
Whether you have a single or two-parent household, a support system is important to your mental health.
It’s impossible to split your time into a million pieces, so it’s key to have friends and family that you can lean on for help. My family lives nearby and my mom often picks my son up from school and gives him dinner on busy nights.
I didn’t always live so close to my parents, so I understand that not everyone has this luxury. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t build a solid support system. For example, you can join local meetup groups for moms, team up with friends to carpool, swap childcare services with other parents, or take advantage of local resources in your area that help support busy families.
To help you find your own circle of support, make a list of the people in your life that you can depend on and be open to forging new supportive relationships as well.
Consider Outsourcing Some Tasks
If you feel like your work is tearing you away from parenting responsibilities and spending time with your kids, consider outsourcing some tasks to lighten your load.
For instance, you can split up household tasks with your partner, hire someone to help clean or cut the grass, use a meal planning service, order groceries online, and even send your laundry out.
Yes, it may cost you to hire someone or sign up for services, but you’ll also be able to scale up your earnings faster when you have more time and energy.
Do you say yes more often than no? You’re not alone. Most of us want to please everyone but that’s not always possible.
In order to balance parenting with your side hustle, it’s important to set boundaries and learn how to say ‘no thank you’ to requests and opportunities that don’t align with your goals and values. If you get invites to events that don’t fit into your schedule, it’s ok to decline the invitation and instead focus on your family. The more you do this, the easier it gets.
Even if family and parenthood is your top priority, you may still want to focus on that side hustle venture you’ve been working hard to grow. And, this is why balance is so important.
You can certainly focus on both family and your side hustle, especially if you follow the 6 tips mentioned above. With a little determination, you can achieve it all.