Have you ever picked up your cell phone right after your alarm goes off and start browsing your notifications only to realize that several hours have gone by? Let’s be honest, it’s easy to get caught up in the rabbit hole of intriguing Instagram stories (we know this is one of Aaronica’s favorite things to do!) and the constant Facebook updates from friends and family. We unknowingly live our regular lives through the lives of our best friends in our heads on social media rather than creating those amazing moments ourselves. Learn to unplug–it’s becoming a necessity.
It’s that time of year again! Father’s Day is upon us and for most, it can be one of the most mind boggling holidays when it comes to what to get that special father figure in our life. For some reason Mother’s Day seems to be a breeze when it comes to gift giving, but Father’s Day, not so much. This day is all about showing Dad just how much you love and appreciate him and all of the hard work he puts in, but what if he’s one of those guys that has everything?
Being a mompreneur is one of the hardest yet most fulfilling jobs to have. It’s not perfect and it has its ups and downs. Working from home allows us to be closer to our loved ones and available in times of need like when one of our kids is sick or to chaperone a field trip. But it can also be stressful and overwhelming at times. Learning to balance work and life is challenging. After working from home for the past eight months, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two and I’d like to share them so that you too can make your way off the mompreneur struggle buss.
1. Plan your life away
We’ve all heard the common saying “fail to plan, plan to fail.” It might sound cliche, but it is a golden rule when it comes to being organized and staying on task as both a mom and business owner. Between household chores, work, errands, and school activities, the life of a mompreneur can be both tiresome and overwhelming. Planning out your day, week, and the month ahead can save you from so much headache.
Break down your day into blocks of time for different tasks to complete. It can also be easier to choose certain days of the week to focus on one specific task. For example, Monday can be your day to strictly focus on editing blog content and Tuesday can be your day to clean out your emails and respond to those emails that ended up in the weeds. Doing it this way will help you to focus on one task at a time rather than being overwhelmed by the struggle of taking it all on at once.
2. Don’t cry over spilled milk
Although you may plan out your entire day consistently, there may be times when you just don’t get things done and that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up if that planned meal turns out to be pizza because you forgot to thaw out the chicken. Maybe you didn’t have the time to fold clothes or meet the deadline for that blog post. Whatever the case, you did what you could and that’s what matters most. Tomorrow is always another day. We’re not perfect people and we have to be okay with that. Twenty four hours can pass by pretty fast and there may seem like there are more things to do than the actual time to complete them. Don’t stress over things that will ultimately be there for you when you get back to them.
3. Sleep on it
“Team No Sleep” is not a team I’d want to be a part of, amiright? I tried it out and honestly, I was no good to anyone. My kids were late to school every day and I couldn’t stay awake long enough to tackle my goals for the day. Besides, bags under my eyes just don’t look appealing. So, let’s just throw away the whole team no sleep concept. In order to function properly as not only a business owner, but a mom, and wife, we have to ensure that were taking care of ourselves. A huge part of self-care and actually getting those zzz’s in. Make sure you get to bed early so you can start your day off bright and early. You’d be amazed at the amount of tasks you can accomplish just by waking up an hour or two earlier than you normally would.
4. Involve your children
Try to find small tasks for your children to do so that they feel involved rather than feeling in the way. Explain to them what it is you’re doing and why along with how it benefits them. I my children know that their opinions are needed and valid rather than leaving them left out when it comes to my business ventures. My oldest helps me create shipping labels and prepare packages to go out. The kids even come with me when I travel to events and the cute faces are always a plus when gaining sales or engaging with potential customers. I also let my children know why we have a business and that they are a very important part of it. My daughters are always providing suggestions for our business being that one of my businesses is for children.
5. Set office hours
You may not physically have an office and that’s totally okay. If you’re anything like me, your office can easily go from being your bed, to the kitchen table or even a local coffee shop. Wherever you decide to get work done, be sure to create hours for yourself to break free from the keyboard and live life. It can become very easy to allow yourself to get lost in a rabbit hole in the World Wide Web. It can also be easy for others to take advantage of your time. You need to be able to establish boundaries between yourself and your clients or potential clients.
Choose certain days of the week when you consider yourself “closed” to be able to spend time with family without checking emails or responding to DMs. Ensure that there is a specific hour of the day that you cut off work so you’re not still communicating with clients in the middle of the night. No one will respect your time if you don’t. You can easily become burned out and overwhelmed if you’re constantly working around the clock. It can be detrimental to not only yourself, but you family as well.
It’s not perfect, but it’s worth it!
Working from home has been a great part of the bonding experience with my children and I’m grateful for the time that we have together, even if it is while sitting behind computer screen. I’ve learned to create a flexible schedule for myself when enjoying the freedom of being my own boss. Is it easy being a mompreneur? Nope! Not at all, but there’s no other way I’d rather make a living.
Do you work for yourself? What tips and tricks can you share for mastering the mompreneur life?
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If you didn’t already know, black girls are lit. We are creative, intelligent, magical, and just darn right fabulous from our head to our toes! From our kinky, coily textured hair to the array of chocolate skin tones kissed by only the sun’s rays, black girls are everything to be desired. The crazy thing is, not every black girl knows this about themselves. What they see in the mirror may be contrary to popular belief. Our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, and nieces can sometimes struggle with challenges of self-identity. Self-esteem and knowing their self-worth in a world that was just not made for their benefit is truly difficult.
Building Up Black Girls Matters
To empower someone starts from within. Building up the self-esteem of young black girls happens when we mirror what they already have inside of them. There is so much material being created for our chocolate youth that is hidden in plain site that features them in ways that are courageous, intelligent, and capable of all things. Having two daughters of my own now, I make sure to let them know every chance I get just how amazing they truly are. One of the many ways I do so is by reading books with them that they can relate to on a societal and cultural level.
I don’t recall being presented with reading material that defined characters that represented who I was or what I looked like in order to be comfortable in my own skin. Growing up, I wasn’t around other children that looked like me or shared the same background. I felt ashamed of the texture of my hair and even the curvy shape that my hips and thighs gave me and I desired to be something I could never be.
Flipping the pages of books that described a brown skinned girl that had thick lips and a wide nose like mine would have made me feel like I was not so alone. I would have been able to recognize that my beauty came from the unique features I possessed both inside and out. I could see myself wandering the pages of imaginary adventures of girls like me that were princesses, scientists, presidents, or just another neighborhood girl loving who she was just the way she was.
10 Must-Read Books For Black Girls
What are some of your favorite books that highlight black girls?
So, my old slacks fit me again. Can we just have a moment of silence for this major accomplishment? These weren’t even normal slacks. They were the ones with the zipper on the side and they actually slid all the way over my hips. I did the most uncoordinated happy dance in the mirror and it felt great to make some major progress. The common question is how I lost weight. I didn’t starve myself or purchase any frivolous products that promote weight loss. It all started with a major change in my mindset first and putting in the work for myself and no one else.
Learning To Accept
Over the years, I struggled with accepting my body for what it was and what it was slowly becoming. Between health issues, child birth, and the scrapes and scars that reveal my life’s story, it became overwhelmingly difficult to fall in love with my personal beauty. I didn’t have the confidence to boldly proclaim that I accepted who I was inside and out.
I struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle for myself. As a result, I lost several pounds to the point of looking and feeling very sick. I also gained several pounds while emotional eating through bouts of depression and stress. I was a complete mess. For years I watched other people’s health journeys while not even making my own conscious decisions. I spent so much time scrolling timelines wishing I could wear someone else’s shoes that I didn’t even know my own size.
Changing My Mindset
Drinking flat tummy tea or wrapping my stomach up for 45 minutes just didn’t seem realistic to me. I eventually learned that I had to do what was best for me and I mean that in every way. My decisions didn’t have to be difficult or conflicting, but just true to who I was as a person.
How I Lost Weight
I changed my way of thinking and became more intentional about the way I live my life. I’m now to the point that my only goal is to just be healthy. That’s it. No matter what it may look like to others, that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. So, I pace myself and do what I can when I can for Me…no one else.
I listen to my body. I don’t over exude myself past my limits. I don’t confine my beauty or self-worth to a scale or the latest weight loss trends. I do what is best for Erin and I’ve found this way to be most effective. I love who I’ve become from every angle and that to me is the healthiest place I could be in.
Have you won the battle with weight-loss? What tips do you have?
As this school year begins to dwindle away, those of us who don’t have the deep pockets for camp will be experiencing a home with empty pantries, high electric bills and a summer with kids pretty soon. The addition of children in the house full time can throw anyone’s routine upside down. I’ll be honest and say that I’m nowhere near being the perfect parent. I can be quick to associate any extended time off from school with my children with my patience level being at an all-time low.
As adults, we have our schedules and routines already together. For those that work from home, we have our special time to get work done and complete chores. I’m sure it would be easy just to allow our children to become couch potatoes during their summer break and fry their brains over video games and cartoons, but that’s just not the way to do it. Learning how to apply patience to having children home for an extended period of time is never an easy thing to do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned over the years to keep my sanity and peace in the household.
It’s pretty easy for us to lose our patience with our children when we allow ourselves to become stressed and don’t take time for ourselves. Make sure to take a few minutes of your day to relieve stress the best way you know how. This could be done with some type of physical activity, reading a book, or even a little quiet time alone in the bathroom. Get it in when you can and where you can just as long you don’t take it out on the kids.
Let them have some fresh air
Being stuck inside all day can take a toll on anyone who’s got the wiggles. Kids need some time to let their inner super hero out to play. They can easily become restless and just plain unruly when confined inside for too long. I read a statistic once that said people in prison get more time outside than children do. Just hearing that, whether true or not, pushed me to make playtime outside a necessity. Let them get all the wiggles out. Allow them to run, jump, scream, do whatever their little heart’s desire so that it doesn’t happen inside the house.
Create a loose schedule
This schedule does not have to be strict by any means. Just make sure you have a road map to go by to keep the day organized for not only the kids, but yourself as well. Understand that while they’re home, you may not get as much done around the house or for work. More of your time is going to be devoted to keeping little humans alive which is pretty important.
Schedule times through the day to complete chores, educational tasks, fun art projects and family outings. Sticking to a regular flow of tasks will make things just a little bit easier and a lot less frustrating. I use to go crazy trying to complete work while helping my five year-old trace letters and make her a snack at the same time. Now I create a block of time for my work and a separate block for hers so that we aren’t both frustrated at the same time.
Spend time with them
There may be a list of things that you could be doing this summer, but it’s not often that you get the opportunity to spend the entire day with your kids. I know that in my house, it’s usually dinner, homework, and then the bed time routine. We miss out on watching our children grow right before our eyes. Our patience can wear thin and being home with the little ones can become frustrating, but they won’t be little for long. Take some time to play dress up or hide and seek. Listen to their imaginative stories they like to tell. Stop using the phrases, “not right now,” “I’m busy,” or “maybe later.” Stop what you’re doing to actually listen and interact with your little humans. Read books to them and don’t omit the extremely animated voices for each character.
However you decide to spend your summer with the family, make sure that you are intentional about exercising patience. Understand that kids will be kids. Their tolerance levels for stress and frustration will never amount to yours. Ensure that both of you are in an environment that allows you to express yourselves peacefully. Work together to make the best of the summer and every day after.
Are you ready for the summer with kids? How do you take advantage of your kids being out of school? What tools do you use to exercise patience during chaotic times?