I’m sure I didn’t think this through; my path towards building a sustainable and mobile career. It was great to be able to realize this dream of being able to work anywhere that I could reliably connect and decide what my time was worth. Sounds fantastic, right?
Sure, I’ve gotten to the point where I can actually work from home and earn a livable wage. I eliminated the need to commute, which is both cost-effective and environmentally savvy. I get more time with my partner, I don’t have to feel pressured to wear anything business casual and there’s always bottomless coffee in my kitchen.
But what I didn’t plan for was life.
I’ve recently become a wife and stepmother and found myself facing the need to get my health back on track. I wasn’t thinking about how much of an impact maintaining a 70 hour a week schedule would have on my body, let alone my home. I wasn’t making enough time for myself to actually recover from the level of stress I was putting myself under, although I hadn’t realized how stressed out I actually was until I took two weeks off for the wedding and family trip afterwards.
Not only was I working a ridiculous amount of hours, I had the added pressure of being the one to keep some stability in the home. If I didn’t clean, it didn’t get done. If I didn’t cook, there was chaos in the kitchen as my husband and step kids tried to figure it out. Those overflowing laundry baskets? I better get to it. Grocery shopping? Well, we need to eat, don’t we? Those pets don’t look after themselves, either.
Because I was working a ton of hours, I was tired. Because those hours were often when everyone else wasn’t home or were sleeping, no one could understand why. To them I had this totally casual workstyle that sometimes involved effort. To them, I was the woman of the house and needed to fit into that traditional mold.
It was after the wedding that I had to sit down with my husband and explain to him that we couldn’t continue on that path. While he understood, there were a few bumps before we had smoother sailing but it was pretty much an example of not setting expectations early on leading to damage control far down the line.
I also had a heart-to-heart with the teenage stepkids and let them in on what I was trying to accomplish from a list of home renovations to enabling the funding for a startup that will benefit the household many times over. I also gave them some insight into the cost of running the household because they are at an age where they should have an idea of the value of money and what it takes to….well….adult. My stepdaughter even voluntarily sat with me for a few hours while I worked a busy shift and I could see her eyes grow wide as she saw how crazy busy I was getting with customer phone calls. From there, I noticed a big shift in how she regarded me and my work as she often asked if I needed anything from food to help around the house.
So it’s not impossible to turn things around when the home seems a bit callous when it comes to your workstyle, but communication is important. Learn from my mistake and have that conversation in your household as soon as you start to venture into home-based work. Forge a routine that works for everyone, and start holding household members accountable for their own needs and wants within reason.
While I may be the woman of the house, I’m also the entrepreneur. Balance and my ability to focus on that role is key…..and making time to get away from my desk and outside is paramount. As fun as the chase can be, if you’re not 100%, you can’t give 100%,