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The Myth of Work/Life Balance

I started my photography business in 1999, and I had my twins in 2006.  So I had been in business for a while before becoming a mom and I remember feeling super worried about how I was going to run a business while also being a good mom once they were born.

I was afraid the business would take too much time and would pull me away from my kids. 

I was worried that my kids would pull me away from the work I need to do in my business. 

And I worked really hard to design the perfect work/ life balance.

Well, those twins turned 18 last month, and they graduated from high school a few days ago, and what I’ve learned over the past 18 years is that perfect work/life balance is a myth! And so on today’s podcast, thats what I’m going to talk about!

I’ve been in business for 25 years, and I’ve been a mom for 18 years.

What I’ve learned is the idea of work/life balance is myth! It’s a lie!

The reality is, when you run your own business, you are always at work. It’s a part of you – it’s personal.  

And when you’re a parent, you are always a parent. It’s a part of you. I think we need to stop trying to find an equal balance between the two and recognize that sometimes being a parent is going to pull your attention and sometimes your business is going to pull your attention. That’s just the reality of life.

I surrendered to that truth years ago. Instead of trying to find balance, I sought to create boundaries.

You’re the boss, so create a business that works for you.

That started with reminding myself that I’m the boss.

The great thing about having your own business is that you are the CEO, so that means you make up the rules. 

You get to set your schedule, decide who you work with and even decide how much you get paid! 

How amazing is that? 

Having that kind of freedom and flexibility makes us some of the luckiest people in the world!

But I have found that a lot of people forget that they are actually the boss in their business. 

They put a lot of pressure on themselves to work hours that aren’t a good fit for them or their families.

They take on work they don’t want to do because they think they should. 

They set rates for themselves that are too low, so the work they are doing isn’t really profitable.

Showing up for your business AND for yourself and your family starts with knowing what your needs are and creating a business model that actually accommodates those needs. 

For example, when my twins were little, it was important to me to stay home with them.

 To accommodate that, I set up my schedule so that I only saw clients on the weekend when my husband would be home to take over childcare duties. 

As they grew and started school, our needs shifted! I wanted more time with them on the weekends, so I changed my schedule around and no longer worked on Sundays. 

And I made sure my rates were profitable, so when I was away, it was worth it.

Was it always easy? 

No, but when things did get hard, I would remind myself that I’m the boss, which means I get to make the rules. 

If the rules needed to change, I gave myself the freedom to change them. I encourage you to do the same!

Remember—you run your business, not the other way around!

Set clear boundaries with your clients AND your family.

The second thing I did was set clear boundaries with both my family and my clients.

And I recommend you do the same!

Your family needs to know that what you do is a “real” job that needs to be treated with respect. 

I see way too many (mostly) women trying to squeeze in time for their business between everything else. They end up working when they should be doing things like eating and sleeping—and that’s not good for anyone.

When you have clear boundaries, you have work time and family time— and both are healthier. When you are at work, treat it like work and let your family know!

Likewise, when you are with your family, set the boundary that work time is over! That means no answering email, texting clients during dinner, while at the park or when you’re in bed. Trust me on this one—you will be so much happier!

I had terrible boundaries for years, which left me feeling like a failure as a mom and as a business owner.

 That stopped when I reminded myself that A) I’m the boss and get to make the rules and B) I set boundaries for myself with my family and with my business.

Create Systems

Now setting and keeping boundaries gets a whole lot easier when you have systems set up in your business that help with efficiency. 

When you are at work and away from your family, you need systems so you don’t waste your precious time re-inventing the wheel!

I created a system for marketing for example that brings in clients month after month, year after year, WITHOUT me having to actively work at marketing my business every day. 

And that has cleared up SO much of my time, which means I have more time to be with my family!

If you would like to learn how I do that, I actually just created a new training that teaches my hands off marketing system, and I’ll link it in here.

But trust me on this one, systems will SAVE your sanity.

Speaking of the work/life balance myth

And speaking of the work/life balance myth… my boys just graduated from high school and will be going off to college is two short month.  Spending time with them is my priority this summer!

So I’m pulling the Boss card, and am giving myself a little time off in my business so I can concentrate on being a mom. That means I’m taking a little podcast sabbatical, and will pick back up with weekly episodes in September!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram so you can stay in touch!  And I’ll see you in the fall.