Building Makelight : The Work/Family Balance Challenge
At the end of each month Stef and I review how we are doing with our work/family balance. We know it's going all a bit crazy this year because for the first time both of us are working flat out at the same time. In the past we've both worked super hard but there have been times when one of us has been able to slow down a little, to let the other one go all out and vice versa.
Right now we're in a huge growth phase with Makelight. Stef joined full-time in April and it's now the only source of income for our family. We have no choice but to go big or go home with it. It's exciting and it's something we've wanted for a long time but it's also tricky to balance with four young children.
We have four children because we love children! And for us family is super important. (Obviously you can do this with 1 child too but for us four was what we wanted.) It makes it harder to work hard when we're missing our children and everything feels all out of balance. So, this regular review is very important for us.
Last weekend I was hit pretty hard with burnout, sadness and stress. It's not surprising. My children had just gone back to school and Rudi was about to start full-time pre-school. But we'd also spent a lot of our holiday in Cornwall working. And I think it was a reaction to that too.
I don't want to feel like this ever but especially at the weekends. So, I looked at what was stressing me out and stopping me enjoying the one day I had with my family. I had worked the Saturday, which hadn't helped these feelings!! I realised that I couldn't relax because of two main things.
This is going to sound ridiculous I am sure but for some reason I had still got my email notifications on for two email accounts. All day long, every day for as long as I have had an iPhone I've been alerted to every single email. Sometimes this is great. Happy emails make you feel AMAZING don't they? But they also suck you into work mode pretty fast. Even happy work. But those emails that sound negative from that first cut off sentence that you see when you get that notification (even though they are probably not) seriously stress me out. I get a lot of email. So, I could never go to school to pick up my children without them pinging up, or in the dreaded over heated, over crowded swimming pool viewing room or on an idilic family day out...or on date night. Ping, ping, ping....high level of underlying stress all the time.
I turned all my notifications off. Pure joy! Why did I not do this sooner?? I have no idea but I've done it now and in just 5 short days my stress levels have gone down and I feel happier already. If you have your notifications on turn them off. You really do only need to see your emails when you are ready to answer them.
Makelight Facebook Groups
If you are a member of the Makelight Community you will know that I like to help and support you all as much as I possibly can. It's really, really important to me. But I can't always get to everything, or when I start replying to your questions more keep appearing!
This is great when I have the time and I'm there ready for you but not so good when I've just popped onto Facebook to share something with my Mum or best friends.
And it's also not so good at the weekend. I can never have a full day off because there is always something to reply to. That's pretty wonderful because it means I have a really engaged and active community out there - hooray and thank you! But it causes me lots of guilt too.
So....new rule. I only give feedback, advice and answer questions on Facebook Monday-Friday. All posts from the weekend will be responded to on a Monday.
I think it's really important for me, for my family and for you all to see an example of setting boundaries to create balance in your lives too.
I hope you will understand and support me in this. And I also hope you'll have a wonderful weekend. xo
PS Check out the Howies hashtag #howiescape on Instagram for ideas for your weekend.