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Asking For Advice: I Need Balance

  July 14

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multitaskingFor the past few months, I have been so, so unsettled. And I really hate that feeling.

With moving across the country, figuring out how to care for the babies, being away from all family, having hubs get used to a completely different and very hectic schedule at the hospital, etc. etc. etc. I felt like every day I started about 10 steps behind. Or 20. Or 30. It just really depends.

I was reminiscing about the last six months of last year. June 2013 was the first time my blog made more income than my day job.

I felt like I was on fire.

My work ethic was so extreme, so unstoppable. I was coming home from my job and sitting my butt down at my desk and not getting up until midnight or 1 in the morning. I had such big goals for working for myself, such big plans for my business.

Now, after getting up with the kids at around 5 or 6 in the morning, I have a battle with myself every day. Should I go back to sleep and be a functioning human for the day or should I chug two cups of coffee and try to write while they sleep a few more hours? I regret to say that 99% of the time, sleep wins. And it’s really starting to show, at least to me.

I want to get back to that place, back to the point where I was so excited, so motivated, so completely insane for working that many hours.

I think the reason I worked so hard back then was because I had a huge goal. I wanted to work for myself, and I knew I had to make a certain income to make that possible. All of you were following along on the journey, rooting for me, and many of you wanted to do the same thing.

Now I’m there – doing what so, so many people also want to do: staying at home with my kids and working at the same time.

It was my ultimate goal, the ultimate dream – being happy and fulfilled professionally all while getting to stare into the twins’ beautiful little faces and read Dr. Seuss in increasingly ridiculous voices.

But I wouldn’t be a good role model for all of you if I didn’t share that I am struggling with this change.

Every day I wake up and the twins seem bigger. They are smiling more and being so adorable and I don’t want to miss any of it. But then, as I’m making bottles and checking my phone, the e-mails are rolling in.Β “Did you see my last message, Cat?” “Cat, we want to interview you for our new site.” “Cat, we have this great product we think your readers will love.” “Cat, we love your writing. What are your rates? We’d like you to blog for us.”

And I want to do every single one of those things and answer every e-mail quickly. So then my attention gets pulled away as I try to type back but then the babies start crying because I was supposed to have their bottles ready 5 minutes before and they are hungry, hungry, hungry. What’s worse is they make little tears now that fall down their faces when they cry and it’s so sad! *deep breath*

So, the reality is I need to find a way to get a little more balance.

And I need to find a way to make more money. And find the balance to find the time to make more money.

What should I do, readers? What’s the secret? For once, I’m asking you for advice and not giving it….

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83 responses to “Asking For Advice: I Need Balance

  1. No advice, but how about a virtual hug? I’ve been wanting to stay home with my girls and our debt stops us, but I found myself blogging about our journey and it’s definitely time consuming. Instead of holding my sweet girl’s finger while she nurses, I’m furiously typing away at my next post. I keep telling myself I’m going to lay down some rules – only write while she sleeps or at least once her eyes close during nursing. So maybe there is some advice in that – can you carve out a section or two of your day and basically turn everything off the other times?

    1. Aw thanks. Yeah I’m with you 100%. I try hard not to get on the phone while nursing and just stop and look at them. It’s not easy to break a phone addiction!

  2. My advice is this: Don’t miss out on a period of time that will NEVER come again, ie your babies’ early years. No amount of money will ever make up for this. Plus, this time in a child’s life has life-long consequences. Do the best for you and do the best for your little family. You have a great little career going at this time, enjoy it but don’t get too absorbed in it. Time is on your side. You have the ability to rev it up in a year or two.

    1. I am so with Susan on this one. The way I see it you have two options: daycare and pursue everything at full blast or spend the time with the kids and be okay with that taking over business time. I don’t sleep much, but I take it when I can get it. Because without the sleep, it’s harder to function both as a mother a d a writer. I know which one I’d do, but every person is different. Weigh your options and know that we can’t do it all at 100%. No one can. We are human.

  3. I’m not a parent, nor a parent of twins no less, so I don’t have much advice on finding the balance between work and life. I do hope others who gave gone through similar situations can give you appropriate advice. I’m cheering for you Cat!

  4. Wow, that looks pretty stressful with the laptop and everything… and you are still keeping up the blog, that is so awesome!

    The thing I learned from work life balance is that sometimes it looks different than imagined. It is not that every day or every month is a perfect balance of 50% work and 50% life, but that this balance is more of a thing that should be measured in decades. You had a long time where you worked really hard, now might be a long time where you focus more on your kids. In a few years, one or two even, this all will change again.
    So if I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about keeping a balance. In my humble opinion, now is the time to do the important things (being a mom), not the urgent things (answering emails). The people who want to hire you, who want to work with you, they know your blog, right? So they know you just had twins and there shouldn’t be anybody who gets mad at you not being available just right now. If they do get mad, they are a d*ckhead and you wouldn’t want to work with them anyway.

    Nevertheless, if you are really getting stressed out about your career, how about hiring a virtual assistant? Or somebody who can help with the housework? Find out what eats up a lot of time in your life and outsource that.

    Just my two cents, hope it helps. Keep being awesome, I love your blog!

  5. When life makes a big shift; getting married, having children or moving to another country our biggest mistake as women is to want life to remain as it was before the shift. In reality, the quicker we adopt to the new life the better our energies are put to use. Cat, you cannot do it all, you need to make the mental shift to be there 100% for your children. How? Hire someone 2 afternoons or 1 full day a week to look after the twins during this time focus solely on you. Dedicate 100% of you to work, just like your husband. You will feel fulfilled and your husband and children will thrive with a happy mum. Have a happy life πŸ™‚

  6. Cat,
    Let the sleep win and let the work go for a bit. I know you’re attached to your work – and that’s a good thing – but for these first few month, especially, you need to sleep, to recover, and to spend time with the little ones. Well, it’s either that or spend a little more money and have someone come more often to help you. While I think it’s awesome that the blog is your main source of income – you need to give yourself emotional permission to quit it for a bit. Ask for help from other bloggers, I know I would be willing to help, and relax for a bit. I don’t have twins, but my daughter is 9 months old, and I promise you, it gets waaaay easier. Once you’ve taken some time off, you will have a clearer head when deciding how to handle work/life balance.
    And Cat, always let the sleep win πŸ™‚

  7. Oh, I guess I should address the making more money issue too. Quite frankly, it’s not going to happen for a few months. I think that for the next 3 months you would be happier and healthier focusing on tightening your belts just a bit then on making more money. It’s hard, I know, but you will stress yourself out too much if you obsess with making more money

  8. I started freelance writing from home when my daughter was around 9 months old, and it wasn’t always easy. She’s 3 today, and I’m still at it. While I am so thankful that I have a way to make some money while staying home, I did (and still do) feel guilty at times. Your babies are so little, and although everyone says it, it’s so true- this time with them is precious and goes by so very quickly! Go easy on yourself right now. Rest, and take in all of those moments with them, because before you know it, they’ll be grown. You’ll always have opportunities to make more money in the future, but you only get to experience these moments with them right now. The secret is that there is no balance with babies, because they take priority over everything πŸ™‚

  9. If there is anything I have learned from being a parent it’s that making a full time income requires full time attention, and so does being a full time stay at home mommy. There may be people out there doing it, but it is highly likely that they are suffering big time from stress and lack of sleep. If you can find it in your budget I would suggest hiring an assistant. Whether that be a someone to help you answer emails and do tasks for your blog or a mother’s helper or nanny. Even having someone help out for a few hours a day would help you feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I know for a fact that I could never work from home with my daughter around… and she’s 6 and pretty self sufficient in a lot of areas, but babies need near constant attention.
    I’m sure if you do the soul searching to find out which area you would rather hand off to someone for a few hours you will find that you can increase your income (maybe enough for the help to pay for themselves) because you will be more available to focus on what you need to.
    Hang in there!

  10. Congratulations on getting this far, Cat! I think sometimes the idea seems so much better in our heads that we expect it to feel like rainbows and sunshine all of the time. I also know you’re not alone! I have so many friends with kids going through similar things. Hopefully, you’ll get the support you need and some good old fashioned alone time to make things a little easier. Good luck!

  11. I can’t work with my kids. My youngest doesn’t leave my lap and checking emails when she’s home is impossible so I know how you feel.

    For me, the only thing that works is getting the girls to a babysitter for a few hours a day. If I don’t have a bunch of work to do I keep them home. And then at night when they’re asleep I get back to work.

    No, you’re not going to be able to do everything. And when you do have the free time without kids you have to be in the work zone. But it’s a great way to keep the balance. When my kids are with me there are no distractions – just me and them. And I’ve found this to work really well.

    Get some help with your kids. It’s okay to need help. And if you ever need to talk or need help with anything I’m only an email away πŸ™‚

  12. First you need to breathe AND give yourself some grace. Your body went through nine months of hell. Then you were on the postpartum rollercoaster (with twins that were in the hospital AND a cross country move). Now your hubby is in a crazy schedule and probably unable to assist too much and you have no other support around you. You are doing amazing, lady!
    While it’s still summer maybe you can search the neighborhood for a young teenage girl 12-14, to be a mothers helper. Generally you can pay a little less since you are home but some extra help with the babies and basic hh stuff could do wonders. Also try finding a mommy group that you can use to get to get to know other moms that can be there for mental support. And I agree with PP a VA may help. Those upfront costs may seem tough to swallow but if it helps with your sanity and allowing you to work more and earn more it will be worth it!
    Sending virtual hugs from one stressed out mom to another!!!

    1. I am not a mom but a psychotherapist who works with new mommies and I think this is fantastic advice from MomofTwoPreciousGirls. Your body has been through so much and without all of the other things going on you’re still trying to adjust to being a mom – of TWINS no less! That mans lots of hormonal changes as well as changes in logistics, lifestyle and even who you are today vs before the babies arrived.

      Give yourself some space and grace to get through this time. Enjoy it. When you’re old and gray you won’t reminisce about spending more time on the blog, you’ll reminisce about the precious fleeting moments you have with them today so cherish it. The blog will always be here and ready when you are. Balance is something that you may struggle with but as long as you do what’s important to you in the grand scheme of things then you’re alright.

      1. Hey Ginger thanks so much for the feedback! I’ve written an update to this post but lately I’ve hired some help and rearranged my schedule and things are way, way better. So appreciate the time you took to write back! πŸ™‚

  13. I wish I could help to answer your questions. There doesn’t seem to be a way to make life easier these days. It seems to me that the harder you work, the more you stay in one place. Perhaps I’m just pessimistic these days because I have been so unemployed for so long. I do wish you all the best in your pursuits and hope that you find your way.

  14. There is no right answer for this Cat and honestly as a working mom, you will always struggle with balance and never feel right at any given moment. The first step you have to take is to give yourself a break. You can’t compare yourself to the “old you” you can only be the best you on any given day and that will change from day to day. After giving yourself a break, you need to realize that balance is relative and you will have times where “mommy” time requires more of you and times where “work” time requires more of you. As long as you average them out, you will have happy healthy kids and work success. But you will never have the true definition of balance, it doesn’t exist.

  15. I can only speak for myself here and this is not meant as judgment at all. Just my two cents!

    I don’t see how you work from home with the kids there. You must be superwoman! Sending them to daycare might help, even part-time. I hate it when I have to work from home and my kids are there. I feel like everyone gets shortchanged.

    1. I think you’re right. Childcare is super expensive up here but I have a mother’s helper right now – just need to decide whether or not to increase her hours or cut back on the work!

  16. Cat — consider taking a break. In Canada we get a whole year off for mat leave. I am a twin – I love it – my sis and I, mid 30s, are still best friends. My mom had family close, but said the first year she thought her life was over. That she had to close the patio door sometimes because she was worried that the neighbours would hear that we were all crying – including her. You are more important than your work, and the life changes you’ve mentioned make you susceptible to baby blues or PPD – I know because I had it. I didn’t have family near to help. I can’t imagine there being 2 babies. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You aren’t alone. Try not to feel pressured to do anything. Turn on an out of office email that you are on mat leave for xx months. Everyone would be waiting when you are back. You won’t lose anything. Don’t get burned out.

  17. I can’t imagine how tough it is with two. As others have mentioned, they grow up quickly. My son is one and a half and I love spending time with him. I also miss when he was so small. As I told you before, I only work at night when my son is asleep and my wife is dozing off. I try to take my time with them and enjoy it as there are more important things in life than just money!

  18. I don’t have kids, so I’m certainly not qualified to offer advice on that front, but have you considered outsourcing some of your work? That might not solve the “make more money” problem immediately, but it would allow you to get more done as you continue earning about the same level you are now — and more importantly, it would give you the breathing room you need to get some sleep when you need it, get in some good, quality, no-distractions, guilt-free kiddo time every day, AND give you enough space to think about how you want to move forward from here.

  19. You definitely have a lot on your plate! #1 keep yourself well, whatever that means for you (i.e. sleep over work). They grow SO fast, soak up all the moments you can and remember that the work will always be there. Choose the work that works for you and your family now and add more as you feel ready. You’re amazing!

  20. I wish I had the answer for you – in fact, if you find it, please pass it along to me. You know me, and you know my work ethic. I would rarely stop working until 2 AM, or until I fell asleep in my chair. Now, most nights, I’m in bed by midnight having accomplished very little since the kids went to bed. There’s something about having kids that changes you physically and chemically. I can’t do what I once did. And I hate it. Let me repeat that. I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT. The reason that I hate it is not because of the work I might do, but the expectations that I’ve created – to other people and for myself. In theory, watching a movie before bed should be a happy and relaxing occasion, but I won’t let it be. I SHOULD be working. I should be doing what I used to. My job still imagines that I’ll get it all done somehow, and of course I do, but finding the energy and the time at night is slowly eating my soul. I have to accept that there was a time that I could gloriously work until 3 AM and get up and do it all again. That time has gone. Now I’m a daddy, and I just have to try to find the same satisfaction from “just” being that that I once did serving myself. I think it’s the last vestige of my immaturity that I can’t quite give up. I love spending time with my kids, and I certainly have to work, but I don’t have to do what I did. Even if I want to, I know I just can’t. Maybe one day things will change and the kids won’t require so much work, but I’ll be older then too. I guess the only advice that I can give you is the same as I would give myself – you rocked it while you could. The game is different now. Time to redefine expectations, or else condemn ourselves to a lifetime of disappointment. I’m trying really hard to do that, but it is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. As for practical solutions, if you used to work at night, try to train yourself to work in the day (or whatever). I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills (satisfaction with work NOT produced at the last minute was a surprising find) that are definitely outside of my comfort zone. I think I’ve gotten myself back up to about 75% of where I used to be – the problem is, a 75 is a C. And I hate sucking. I think you’re probably the same way. Anyway, I feel your pain – feel free to honk at me if you want to commiserate. I can always find time for that.

    1. Mike I think you and I are cut from the same mold. In fact I have told the hubs “I feel like I’m getting C’s across the board in work, motherhood, and wife-hood.” So, lol, maybe the only thing that can help us is drugs. πŸ˜‰

  21. Hey Cat, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling right now. I went through the same type of thing in my transition to working from home. Although I don’t have kids, I do have things that I love, an amazing fiance I want to spend every minute of the day with, and an incredible life outside of work. So, when I first started, finding time and more importantly, motivation to work was rough. It’s hard to give advice in your situation though because I don’t have kids. Nonetheless, what I can say is those extra hours of sleep are priceless. Have you considered hiring a neighborhood kid to help with the babies while you work at low rates? That’s probably the first place I would look if I was in that situation. I’m sure 4 baby free hours a day would do wonders for your schedule, and there’s probably a level headed teenager in your neighborhood that’s willing to give you those hours for $20 a day!

    1. Hey Josh! Thanks for commiserating! Oh yes I didn’t even touch on wanting to spend time with hubby too. It’s all a big balancing act for sure!

  22. As you would likely tell someone else facing a financial problem, congratulations on taking the first step of recognizing that this isn’t making you happy and stepping back to try to find solutions.

    Sure, some people would look down on me for not being as “driven” as I “should” be. But, from my take on life, it’s simply not feasible (and counter to the point of life) to work from 6am-12am every day. Not healthy, not happy. To try to hold yourself to those standards now that you have twins? Is that something you would expect of others? Remember that the way that you keep being a good mom/wife/friend/etc and businesswoman is by taking care of yourself. So now you need to step back and determine what is going to be the best mix for you of work, doing the mom thing, work around the home, and…leisure. Remember that you’re trying to craft a life that at the end of it you will smile and say, “That was a good life. I’m proud of it.” This includes space for being fulfilled professionally and personally. Try to remember that the list of people you really “owe” anything to is pretty short.

    I don’t know what your budget allows for but maybe it’s time to start looking into some child care services. It could be in your home a couple hours every day or every other day while you work uninterrupted and a couple hours other hours a week for you and your husband to remember why you’re married to each other.

    You’re still in the adjustment phase and your kids are changing rapidly. It’s just going to take some time to figure out the system that works for you. Above all, be kind to yourself. At least as kind as you would be to anyone else. If you start thinking negative things towards yourself, stop and tell yourself whatever works, “That’s not fair.” “That’s not nice.” “Nobody talks to me like that.” or “My babies/husband/parents wouldn’t want anyone talking to me like that.”

    1. Hey Nikki. Thanks for the great perspective and I could pull out so many things from your comment that resonated with me. Really appreciate you taking the time to help!

  23. Your post really resonates with me and reminds of me of the emotional roller coaster I was on when my twins were born. I had a 2 year old son when my twin boys were born. And THEN I started a blog. I had left my career to be a stay-at-home mom, but felt compelled to write about my money-saving adventures as a single income family. I thought it would help justify me being at home if I was still using my skills and earning a little money. I fell in love with blogging and wanted to make it my full time job. I connected with some great bloggers who grew to be HUGE. And I wanted that, too. But then my oldest was diagnosed with ASD, and both of my twins had various developmental delays. I realized that I couldn’t do it all. My boys needed me to be an advocate for them. They needed me to be present for them. I continue to blog, but remind myself of a few things: I didn’t make the move to become a stay-at-home mom to be a blogger – I did it for my family! And this: All I can do, is all I can do, and that’s good enough.

    I know that my blog and my freelance writing business could be so much bigger than they are now, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am here for my boys. Always. Success in my career will come when we are ALL ready.

    1. Hey Christina! I cannot even fathom having a 2 year old right now in addition to the twins. You get all my admiration!! Also I really like your last sentence. I need to take that to heart.

      1. Well, I had a pretty good support system (my folks live just down the road from me), so that was a BIG help. I’ve come to love each stage, with all of it’s joys and challenges as we get to it. My boys are 9 and 7 now, and it gets easier! Hang in there!

        1. That’s really nice!! And yes amazing how month 3 is so much easier than week 1. It can only get better from here. πŸ™‚ Really appreciate your wisdom and support!

  24. “I want to get back to that place, back to the point where I was so excited, so motivated, so completely insane for working that many hours.” WHY?? I don’t have kids of course so I can’t comment on that, except to say there does seem to be this illusion that we can “have it all.” Not only ddi you have one newborn but you had TWO. That’s a lot! Give yourself a break and take that pressure off yourself to be superwoman. You can only do so much, and I think quality time with your kids and keeping your sanity is huge! I don’t even have kids and I value my downtime and my sleep. Try and be patient with yourself…you may or may not get back to that place of insane productivity, but personally I think “insane’ anything is overrated! πŸ™‚ Sent with lots of love because I care about your wellbeing!

  25. So adorable! When my wife went back to work, I stayed home 2 days a week for about 6 weeks to watch the little one. I thought I could get a lot done, but it was a big learning experience. It’s not easy…little ones need your attention. And you have two!! Also…napping so you can be a functioning human being is important. I have a new respect for stay at home moms. As for moms who work at home AND care for kids…that’s just superhuman =)

  26. Hi Cat, I can totally relate with your situation 2 years ago. It was one of those difficult times I had after I gave birth to my son. I had to give up my job at that time so I could focus more on him. It was a tough decision I had to make. But now that he is already 2 years old and can play around at home while being supervised, I’m slowly getting back in the game.

  27. No advice … just cheering you on from TX! You rock!! πŸ™‚

  28. Wow! So, I have advice that comes from three perspectives: 1) I’ve been there; 2) I’ve managed people; and 3) I’ve successfully coached people who are where you are at now. Here’s my advice:

    – Change your schedule. With the babies your schedule should be different now, but also, you want to group tasks for more effective work. People lose lots of time switching tasks, so to stay on top, group every like task together.
    – Take a free day. Most successful businesspeople need some “me” time. Not “mommy” time, but “me” time. Take some time away from work each week (maybe start at a few hours). I used to go see a movie alone every afternoon when I was managing money. When I started doing this, I thought I was crazy stupid….but the person advising me to do this was a huge producer. My productivity went through the roof after I started. DON’T THINK “I don’t deserve it” because you’re right, you don’t. Do it because you HAVE TO, not because you “should.”
    – Raise your rates. Everyone worries that if they raise their rates they’ll go out of business. Rarely is that the case. If you’re crazy busy, see who’s serious. You might be able to equal your pay on less hours. Awesome!
    – Finally, read The E-Myth, if you haven’t already (and keep reading about good business). The E-Myth will completely change your thinking about business.

    I love talking about this topic, so feel free to email me if you want to chat more πŸ˜‰

  29. Just reading your post made me tired! I am older (54) and my girls are 22 and almost 21. They were born 14 1/2 months apart and when they were young, I felt it would have been easier had they been twins (was always pushing one and pulling one back). Having said that…you can’t do it all….unless you have help. One thing I did when my girls were toddlers was to hire a mother’s helper to come in and play with my girls while I was at home and needing to do other things. If I had to do it again I would hire a mother’s helper 5 days a week instead of 2. In your case, it might be hiring someone to do some chore you don’t like doing to free yourself to work on your blog or something else. I have a friend who is at the ceo level. She is my same age and still has tons of energy and is always so busy. Not everyone can do that and that’s ok. Everyone’s life is different and things are always changing. Make a list of how you want your life to be right now….re-evaluate it in 6 months and make changes. Who cares what other’s think. Make some changes so you can live the way you want to. Hope that all makes sense and helps.

    1. Haha thanks Pam! The grass is always greener right? Sometimes I think it would be easier if they were 2 years apart but we don’t know what we aren’t given right?! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the great advice. I really appreciate it.

  30. I don’t have any experience with anything you’ve taken on, but it’s obvious even to me that you are already doing an incredible job balancing childcare with work. You are basically behaving like a superwoman, but we all get worn down. I think it would be healthier for you to lower your financial expectations for your family. It makes sense for you to reduce your time working considerably while the twins are young – things can’t be how they were before. I agree with others above about outsourcing – you can outsource childcare, housework, or routine business tasks if you have good systems. Personally, I think I would outsource as much of the business as possible and the housework to maximize time with the babies. A mother’s helper for a couple hours a day just to have uninterrupted time would probably be invaluable as well. Even if you won’t be as profitable and have to take out more student loans, outsourcing will keep your business spinning until you’re ready to re-take on the outsourced responsibilities or expand. Best of luck and keep us posted. πŸ™‚

  31. The reason you’re feeling so unsettled is because you no longer create your own schedule. Two little humans now control everything you do and that can be stressful. Your point: ”I think the reason I worked so hard back then was because I had a huge goal”….You huge goal is to now survive the day, alive.

    Goals in life change. Your goal initially was to become self employed to sustain your growing family, mission accomplished. Now keep doing what you’re great at to sustain yourself.

    The chaos will settle, you’ll find a groove but gone are the days when you can sit down for extended time to get stuff done. You’ll become good at picking up where you stopped and efficiently use time. Don’t fault yourself for sleep, you are human afterall! You know my email if you need to chat πŸ˜‰

  32. Outsource. Outsource. Outsource.
    What can you rescind for your job? Uploading? Sourcing pictures? Social media? If so, hire a VA from the Philippines or similar. Very affordable.
    Get a housekeeper – I have no idea what labour jobs like that go for in your new area. If you can get rid of basic cleaning, will it give you balance and/or more time to earn? Either one is a win.
    Get a babysitter for a small amount of time. Maybe you can get a teenager for the next two months of summer? Say 2 hours a day to watch the twins and start dinner or to make lunch for you? You can be right there, but know that things are getting done and you don’t have to have your eyes on them 24-7.
    What else can you outsource? It seems hard when you want to make more money, but it could be the ticket to achieving both the balance and the higher income that you’re wanting.

  33. No advice here, since we’re dealing with the same thing with our twins!! There’s been many a day where I come home from work and 5 hours later still haven’t eaten dinner because i’ve been dealing with fussy babies non-stop. I don’t think my wife has gotten more than 3 hours of sleep in any 24 hour period since they were born either. I guess the only advice is that you’re not alone!

  34. Cat, your babies is so cute! Just take your time with them and you will not notice that they grow fast. We will understand you if you don’t have lesser time with your blog now, just enjoy every minute with your love.

  35. I think having childcare for when you work and then when you are with them be focused on them (or at least half focused, okay?). It’s really no different than many Mom’s who don’t feel they can afford to stay home. They have to work and take their child to daycare. You have two so it’s doubly busy. Unless you can afford to work less, I don’t see any other option, unfortunately. Good luck to you, Cat. I admire your drive and I’m routing for you.

  36. Cat, my advice is simple: Get help. No one can expect to work full time with one baby at home, without babysitting help — nevermind two!

    You can increase your efficiency at work by hiring a virtual assistant, but you also need to counterbalance that by having uninterrupted time to work and focus. You’re only going to get that if you hire a babysitter or work out a schedule with your husband.

    You will find that you can be more present for your kids and more present for your work when you can easily divide the two.

    As for making more money — if you were operating at break-even before, it’s OK to dip into savings for the time being. This too shall pass, but your career is important to you and you need to maintain some of it even though you have two beautiful babies to care for. Even if you’re operating at a loss to pay for help, it will get less expensive — and you will make more money — eventually.

  37. I wish there was an easy answer or better yet a wand I could wave to make your life/work balance perfect. But unfortunately neither exist. While I’m a working Mom like you, I go to an office, so when the girls were babies they had a nanny. And I know that adding to your bills is something you want to avoid, but I do think it’s something you need to consider. You need time to rest and time to work and maybe you need to either have someone come in for a few hours a day so you can work at a coffee shop and crank out your work or they go to daycare or a babysitter for a few hours a day so you can work from home. Your other option is to pull back temporarily, which I know is so hard to do, especially since your business is growing. But here’s the thing – you already grew this business from nothing and slowing down for a fews months while continuing to do an awesome job from your current clients isn’t going to ruin your business. I would argue that it will ultimately help you grow your business. You’ll give yourself time to figure out a routine, maybe even make some changes as to how you want to do business ongoing and when you’re ready – come back out prepared to take on new clients and grow your business.

    One other thing I find is work from home moms forget that they are not stay at home moms and compare themselves to them. And that is by no means a slam against a stay at home moms. I have many SAHMs fruebds and they are unsung heroes, but they don’t have to balance work with raising their family. And WAHMs do, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison.

    Being a new Mom is amazing but it’s also really, really hard too. And you’ve got two precious little babies that need your attention. While there were certainly moments that I felt guilty for working, I love what I do and knew that I would always return to work, just as you knew that you would continue to grow your business. Don’t let yourself get sucked into feeling guilty. For me, what helped was when I was at work, my focus was on work. When I was home, my focus was and is on my family. It’s not perfect, but no one has a perfect system. I know you can do this, Cat!

  38. Dear Cat,

    I just wanted to start out by saying that you are truly an inspiration to working moms. You not only have your own business before the age of 30, but you have twin infants to boot. From the outside you are an amazing success even though I’m sure you struggle to balance it all. The truly amazing thing is that you are managing this difficult time, even though it must be hard.

    I was 23 years old getting a Masters degree in Austria (to be closer to my then finance, Paul, who was working in Switzerland) when…I got pregnant. After managing to finish my degree by getting my mother to fly over for a month, leaving Felix with friends of friends, and even bringing him to class, I moved to Switzerland to be with Paul. At first I was happy not to be stressing about work all the time, but after a few months I started getting bored and worrying that I was losing career momentum. I felt like I was no longer going to be a professional, but would have to settle for whoever might hire me. But then, with the help of my mentor from my Masters program, I was able to work as a contract researcher and then eventually start a doctoral program in Zurich.

    Now the juggling continues, but I have a few lessons from my last 3 1/2 years of trying to maintain some semblance of a work/home balance. First of all, the thing that has helped me the most is compartmentalizing my life. You might not want this for you, but I have found it tremendously helpful for me to have work periods without Felix where I can concentrate 100 percent on my work and then Felix time where I can devote 100 percent of my attention to him. This has allowed me to feel the most balanced and takes away my guilt about not spending enough time with Felix or not getting enough work done. For me, this means Felix going to daycare 2 days per week at which time I am able to work uninterrupted at my university office. During these two days I probably get about the same amount done as my colleagues who are at the office 5 days per week, because work efficiency is boosted about 200% after becoming a mother.

    Secondly, support has helped me a lot. I have no family in the area, but I have wonderful friends who have helped me in tight spots. I am also going to look into getting a longer term babysitter that would allow me to have a few dates with Paul and give me flexibility for times when I need to be at the university for seminar courses, etc. Being a member of a professional women’s club has also been a source of inspiration and strength for me. It is wonderful for me to see examples of strong women who are able to have full family lives and career aspirations.

    Lastly, one area of my life that I need to work on the most is etching some time for me besides my work and my toddler. I’ve heard that successful people have a morning routine. My current routine is having my 3 year old son drag me out of bed in the morning, but I aspire to an early morning run, and a quiet meditation time with a hot cup of coffee before my boys wake up. This might prove harder than child birth, but it is what I aspire to πŸ˜‰

    I also saw an amazing Marie Forleo on working mothers. You should check it out. It was very inspiring to me. Hope this helps!

  39. Aww Cat! I’m so sorry you’re having a tough time! You seems so smart and resourceful and I know you are going to be able to find a solution that works for your family!
    I don’t have any kids but for the past 6+ months I’ve been a live in nanny for my very best friend. She was leaving an unhealthy marriage and working full time in the Airforce and she needed someone she could trust to run the household and care for her 2 year old. I put my freelancing on hold to really focus on baby Nova. I didn’t think it’d be particularly hard because I’ve been babysitting for years and apart of Nova’s life since day 1. But it was so difficult.
    I missed freelancing so much that I continued to work small jobs on the side, which led to an amazing opportunity working for a start up. I didn’t want to turn it down so for 3 months I cared for a toddler 50+ hours a week, plus worked 40 hours online a week. And even when my best friend was home and able to watch Nova, I wanted to be a supportive friend so I would push work until after everyone else was asleep.
    I was so stressed out. Nova ended up feeling bored and restless around me because I spent too many hours worrying instead of playing and really engaging with her. My work suffered and I worried my friendship was going to crumble.
    Finally, I took a step back and tried to remember where my priorities were. I let my new job go (this was so, so difficult) and I refocused on being a great friend to Blair and Nova.

    I’m read a lot of stoicism (Marcus Aurelius specifically) and they discuss taking the problem of a situation and turning it into a lesson or opportunity. My experience with nannying has helped me redefine my priorities but also helped me realize I need a stronger business plan. I realized I’d benefit so much from having income sources that weren’t serviced based. Sometimes I won’t be able to work 40 hours a week, so I need ways to make money without trading my time. I also used this experience as source of inspiration and writing material.

    Also, it’s worth considering how my best friend dealt with her situation. She had agreed to take on full-time military orders for over 9 months thinking her husband would help take care of their small child. But after she began working she realized just how unhealthy her relationship had been and made the unbelievably difficult decision to get out and keep her and her daughter safe. But she couldn’t back down on her work commitment because, well its the military. So she asked me to help until her orders were over. I don’t know if having a friend or family come into your home to help out a few hours a day is an option, but it might provide some relief, even if it’s just to have some guilt-free sleep.

    Above all else, keep your head up, remember what’s most important to you, and keep in mind that all that matters is that you and your family’s needs are met. There are always going to be freelancing opportunities available. Your blog followers (me included!) will following along even if your posting isn’t as frequent.

    So much luck to you and your family!

    1. Aw thanks so much for the comment! That’s quite a story and it sounds like it’s been an incredible learning experience. Kudos to you for helping your friend!

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