by Jenna Kutcher
It’s been such an interesting and inspiring journey for me as a new mom navigating parenthood and entrepreneurship side by side. I’ve experienced a major learning curve and certainly haven’t done everything “right,” but I’m figuring it out as I go and leaning into the routines and habits that feel good. Can you relate?
All of you work-from-home mamas out there who are simultaneously building your businesses probably know the balance juggle struggle is all too real day in and day out, but it’s such a gift to be able to be home with my tiny gal and keep pursuing my dreams each and every day. We are so, so lucky and privileged to get to do life together, to have help nearby, and to be able to be home with our little lady each day.
But… It’s no easy task to figure out how to raise little humans well and build a business successfully. There will be setbacks, disappointments, and times when we just plain feel like failures. I see it in my Goal Diggers Podcast Insiders Facebook group all the time — women asking others how they manage to do it all and what advice they have to be able to show up fully in all areas of their lives. I am right there with ya, friend, and I’ve been starting to understand that my best work and best parenting comes when I’m taking care of me really, really intentionally. And here’s how you can do that, too.
Check and protect yourself first thing in the morning
I’m such a huge believer in starting the day from a place of filling up your own cup first before getting into mom and/or boss mode. Sure, if you have really little ones like I do who need to be fed and changed (and snuggled) right away, that’ll take precedence, always. But once you’ve checked off those important undertakings, make sure you check in with you, too.
It can be so easy to start the day by looking at social media or email, and before you know it, you’re comparing yourself to some perfectly put-together mom on Instagram or shooting off seven emails to fix some problem that cropped up overnight. I’d encourage you to protect your mornings, at least the first hour or two. If we jump straight into go, fix, or compare mode, we don’t have a chance to see how we feel and what we need out of the day ahead.
A few things I like to incorporate into my mornings before all the distractions hit are a daily gratitude practice (so transformational), fresh air (my walks have become non-negotiables, I strap the babe in the carrier and off we go), yoga (put those stretchy pants to good use, even if it’s 5 minutes), and a glass of water (coffee is great, but hydration is better, at least first thing in the a.m.).
What’s the one thing you need out of your day to feel like it’s a success? It could be focusing on closing a really big deal, or it could be having a dinner date with your spouse for the first time in three months. Think about your one thing every morning, spend some time doing something you love and caring for you, and then jump into all things work, to-do lists, and hustle and grind.
Build a flexible schedule for yourself
I was feeling really overwhelmed the other night and feeling almost out of control… you know that feeling? Like baby on one hip but your brain is trying to mentally remember that to-do list? Once I put Conley down for bed, I opened up a brand new Google doc and did what I call a “brain dump” where I jotted down anything on my mind that I needed to do and accomplish. Then I mapped out my schedule for the week (something I NEVER did before becoming a mom) and dropped those items into each day so I know what my game plan is to take care of that nagging overwhelm feeling… now I say schedule loosely because it comes with a BIG dose of flexibility.
As entrepreneur mamas, most of us have 14 balls in the air at any given time, any of which could drop in a second if we’re not careful. Life is busy, it moves fast, and there’s often not a lot of time for planning ahead and being intentional with our time when the baby’s crying and the phone’s ringing and your inbox says 748 unread emails. But to be hyper-careful with protecting our energy and wellness, a schedule is essential. Set certain days for errands, meetings, or laundry. Give yourself a block of time to work through emails, plan business development, and even eat your meals. Yes, schedule your meals!
Without a schedule, we’re much more likely to end up running around frazzled like chickens with our heads cut off — like the days when we look up and say “How is it already 3PM?” And I know nobody is trying to have that happen. Give yourself the gift of some structure so that you can create boundaries in your life that actually encourage balance and allow you to feel a little saner.
Truth be told, I was never a schedule girl until I became a mom. Now, I can’t function without one. I literally even schedule naps — for the baby, I wish they were for me. Map out your days so you can create an easy-to-follow guide for what to do next, or in a few hours, or when it’s 6 p.m. and you really, really want to keep working, but you know it’s time to unplug and connect with family. I’ve set some pretty hard boundaries that dinner time is shutdown time and the rest of the night is allll about the fam.
Sometimes, too, certain things will be out of your control, like traffic or a sick child or miscommunications. In those moments, it’s okay to deviate from your schedule and practice grace toward yourself and others. Don’t hold yourself to too strict of boundaries, and work where and when you can. A schedule is there to make you feel more productive with your time — but if all doesn’t go according to plan, just pick back up the next day and keep on keeping on. I’ve never had to work at weird hours before motherhood, but I’m learning that it’s okay to work late or get up early every once in a while — and sometimes it’s even necessary to be able to spend more quality time with Drew and Conley.
Multitask, but only if and when it makes sense
So, you’ve probably heard there’s a ton of research about how multitasking is actually impossible, and there’s no way our brains can focus on more than one task at once. Business-owning mamas, I have a feeling we ALL might disagree with this quite strongly… However, I do think it’s true that we can’t do a bunch of important stuff at the same time. Or, we can’t do it all very well.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain activities you can’t layer up. I’m talking things like taking a casual business call while you go on a walk. Listening to educational podcasts or courses while you’re in the car. Writing a list of social media or blog topics while you’re on the treadmill or stair climber. The trick to multitasking is pairing a sort of passive, mindless activity with a productive one.
Double duty where you can, but not to the point where ALL of your walks are being taken over by work, or ALL of your drives are doubling as classrooms. A certain amount of self-reflection, solitude, and quietness is really good for the soul. There’s actually scientific evidence that supports when we allow ourselves to have stillness and quietness with our thoughts, it brings about even more creative and innovative ideas.
Get smart with your meals
I’ve talked about this before, but I love the idea of thinking of food as either energy hindering or energy boosting. We all have those foods that we know just make us sleepy and ready for a nap, or they make us feel crummy and gross (even if they taste incredible in the moment). And then there are those life-giving, fuel-boosting foods that make us feel nourished and ready to take on anything.
Skipping meals or grabbing a fast option is almost just as bad as eating those energy-hindering foods. Food is actually, literally our fuel, so let’s start fueling our bodies with the stuff that tastes good and feels good. One way Drew and I make sure we’re getting nutritious options every day is with Daily Harvest. Their grain bowls for easy lunches and their smoothies for a fast and yummy breakfast are so incredibly delicious and wholesome, so it’s a win-win for us. If you want to try these healthy and quick options, use my code JennaK to get 3 smoothies for FREE at checkout for a discount.
What are your ways to stay sane, feel like you’re on top of everything, and remain collected as you navigate this business and mama life? It’s a wild ride, regardless of your situation, but I’m sure you’d agree it’s one we wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. So let’s keep taking care of ourselves, building each other up, and building our families and businesses up, too.