My kids

My husband and I work for ourselves. Working for yourself takes extreme self discipline and hard work. Sometimes this tends to create workaholic tendencies. When you work for yourself you don’t have a set income you can budget on every month. You have to work when the work is there. And the work tends to come in large waves meaning some months we are extremely busy and overwhelmed and other months not so much. The months we aren’t as busy we tend to keep ourselves busy looking for work and billable time. So in other words no matter what we keep ourselves busy.

With this work comes a lot of working from home. A lot. Especially for me. My husband has an office where he gets most of his work done. But since I’m a web developer/blogger/social media marketer I do my work at home unless I’m meeting with someone. Working from home may sound like the ideal situation (and it can be). The problem with working from home is that it’s hard to turn the work off.

Yesterday I was having a really productive day. Both kids had school so I met with a client and then came home and got a ton of work done. Mission accomplished. I got the kids from school. We had dinner together, played some games, did homework, read a little and it was nearly bed time. As bed time was getting close I started getting back into work mode and checking my email on my phone and the husband was still at his office getting some work done. The next thing I know my 8 year old daughter starts to get a little emotional on me. She starts by looking at our Super Mario Bros Wii game and  saying she misses us playing the game together as a family. As she starts crying I realize her emotions are about more than a game.

I turn everything off, get my 3 year old occupied playing and sit down to have a talk with my daughter. Sure enough she tells me that she’s sad that mommy and daddy work all the time and are always on the computer. She keeps telling me she miss our “good times we had together”. We had a good talk and I’m so glad she opened up to me and was honest with me. I gave her a promise that her and her brother would have my undivided attention with no technology in between the time the get home from school until they go to bed.

While my time is precious and I have very little time to work, my time with my children is even more precious. I’ve also realized that I’ve been taking on too many volunteer activities and spreading myself too thin. While I really want to teach my children the importance of volunteering for organizations that are close to your heart I also want to teach them the importance of knowing when it’s ok to say no. So for now I’m going to let a couple of my volunteer jobs go as a way to make sure I’m getting myself my organized.

So here is my challenge to you. Recognize your habits. Do you find yourself spending more and more time on your computer and telling your kids to “wait a minute” when they are wanting your attention? Do you find yourself constantly checking your email, Facebook, etc from your phone? Even worse do you bring your phone with you to the dinner table? Are you eating dinner at your computer rather than eating dinner with your family? Are your kids watching more tv and spending more time on devices than interacting with the family? If you have been guilty of any of these things like I have I challenge you to have technology black out hours so that you can really spend time with your family. I challenge you to realize it’s ok to step away from work to enjoy your kids and have your kids enjoy you. It is worth it.

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13 Comments

  1. This is a struggle for me as well. It can definitely be a challenge working from home. One of my goals this year was to be unplugged from 3:30 to 8:30 to spend more time with the kids. So far, it hasn’t gone very well. It’s hard to stay disciplined when I have so much to do! Do you have any posts you’ve written about how you organize and manage your time online to be the most productive? I admire you for putting your family first!!

    1. I don’t have any posts written about time management. That’s something I’ll have to write about soon. I think the hardest part for me lately has been coming back from winter break (or not being able to come back from winter break). We’ve had a lot of snow days since winter break so this is the first full week the kids have been back to school since winter break. So my two days a week that I can get uninterrupted work done have been gone. Today has been much better and I have devoted a set amount of time to each project I’m working on.

  2. I am going to take your challenge because our work overflows into our personal family life. I say, “One more minute” to my son way too often. I’m working hard to cut back while still maintaining professionalism. It’s a tough balance.

    1. It really is a tough balance to maintain a professional lifestyle and still be mommy. I’ll try to start posting some ideas on how to make things easier and hopefully I can get some good ideas from you all as well.

  3. This is a great post, and one I can really relate to too. Making a cut off time and sticking to it is a great policy. I wonder if I’ll do it now that I’ve thought it. Crossing fingers and toes. The benefits are sure to be exponential and the work will still get done.

    1. Good luck! I’ll tell ya the last two nights have worked out really well. I’ve noticed my kids have got along better and seem just overall happier. And so am I! Happy kids makes a happy mom and a mom that can get more work done when I have the time to do it!

  4. It can be so hard to balance! I am letting something go this month, something I volunteer for, too, so I know what you mean.
    ~ Kimberly

    1. It’s hard to let go of volunteer activities, but sometimes necessary. We just have to remember we can always go back to it when things settle down.

  5. I was guilty of some of those until I decided to be more active. Now I get up and play with my daughter more often.

    1. Getting active with our kids is a great idea! It’s so much fun to just be a kid with them!

  6. I do find it difficult to balance my blogging with my family life. I try to do a little bit of blogging throughout the day, and then I hunker down at night once my son’s in bed.

    1. After bedtime blogging is a good idea. I’m almost to the point where I even have to stop myself from doing that too. Hubby and I have to have some time together too! Ah the life of a mom!

  7. That is one of the hard parts about owrking from home is learning how to work around your family without feeling like you are putting them on the backburner. I wish I could do it at night, but I have so much to do I wouldn’t sleep I have a good 6-8 hours each day. .

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