But to what end?
I have seen many a forum thread discussing this topic and I have a few suggestions to work toward a more harmonious Mommy Life and Etsy Life:
Get Organized. This is beyond the basic to-do list.
Get Real. We, unfortunately, are not superheroes. It’s a reality we have to face.
Get Help. A support network is crucial to our success.
Get Happy. Remember why you are a mother and a shop owner.
Okay, I know all of us have sat down and crafted lists thinking that if it’s on paper, we’ll get to it. The only thing I know it does for me is overwhelm. BUT, lists are crucial. They just need to be broken up. I have two notebooks – one is my “work” life and one is my “home” life. Each evening, I plan out what goals I have for the following day – not the week or the month, just the day. I limit it to eight things. ONLY eight. (more on that in the “Getting Real” paragraph).
Use a timer. Make a schedule for yourself so you know that in fifteen minutes, you’re done answering emails/convos. You have twenty minutes to fold laundry – if it doesn’t get done, so be it. You have thirty minutes to get your packages ready for shipment, and so on and so forth. You will be amazed at how your day moves along and how you have accomplished more because you’re managing your time better. I take breaks between each “event” for fifteen, twenty minutes and have some tickle time with the kids or read them a book. It’s focused one-on-one time that is vital to them, especially, but it renews you, as well.
Clean up. Make sure your work area is always in order. Your shipping supplies are always neat, tidy and available. Your inventory is easily seen so you know when to reorder. Have your “to do” orders set by date so you know what to work on when.
Share your space. Set up an area in your work space with a small table, or just one of those lapdesks, with a little Rubbermaid container of washable crayons, envelopes, stickers, tape – anything that will keep your mini crafter(s) busy while you get your work done. They will be thrilled to be “working” with you.
I’m sure we all feel that we could do it all (if everything worked out just right) and that we deserve to do it all (whatever that means), but, unfortunately, we are only one person, so we need to be realistic about our goals and expectations of ourselves.
When you sit down each evening and write out your goals for the next day – for both work and home – limit it to eight specific things. Say, for instance, on Monday, your goals for work are: 1- Research a new promotion lead (set timer for 30 minutes). 2 – Ccomplete two orders (set timer for one hour). 3 – Make line sheet for local wholesale opportunities (forty-five minutes)…and so on and so forth. You’ll have your “regular” items such as spending time working on shipments and convos – but you still need to have it on your list of the Eight goals The same for your “home” goals – if the timer goes off and you’re not done straightening up the bedroom – let it go. This keeps you focused and realistic and not self-defeated when your list isn’t necessarily complete. And yes, you will be interrupted by many things in between those ‘timer’ times – but that’s the magical thing about timers – they can be stopped and started right back up again when you are ready – but when the time is done, it is done. Lovely.
I have been blown away by forum threads regarding unsupportive spouses. That is another article in the making because, honestly, you cannot succeed without support and support from your spouse is so crucial.
Make a deal with a neighbor or someone who lives close to trade off play dates. Look into getting a mother’s helper for the summer (girls around the age of 10-13 that come to your house while you are at home and entertain your children –they are far cheaper than babysitters or nannies because you are still home to manage the “big stuff” – like a puking child!).
If you can swing it, get a housecleaner to come just once a month for a thorough scrub down so all you have to do for the rest of the month is maintain.
Take up any and all offers of childcare or help of any sort without feeling guilty.
We had children because we knew it would fill our lives in a way nothing else can and, truly, they are glorious creatures, aren’t they? We opened a shop because we love the creative process and know how it feeds our souls. Remind yourself of that – constantly – and find your harmony.
(All photos in this post are courtesy of the Fabulous Artistic Moms team on Etsy)