Now that I’m a mom of two, the mom-life-CEO-life juggle looks a lot like tossing several fragic plates in the air and hoping my husband and I can catch them before they shatter on the ground. We’re so lucky to have the situation we have – Drew can stay home with our girls while I work on my business – but even still, finding ways to parent mindfully through new baby days, toddler dynamics, and growing a business has been a learning experience for us all.
I first learned about Avital Schreiber Levy through Marie Forleo’s course Time Genius. Avital is the self-described Parenting Junkie – that’s the name of her podcast and her blog – where she shares advice for parents who want a present, peaceful and playful family life. THAT is something I like the sound of.
I invited Avital on the show because her tips and guidance for entrepreneurial parents are invaluable, and I’m absolutely going to be taking notes on this one. We’ll talk about the challenges facing parents today, how to navigate working from home as a business owner with little ones who are also at home, integrating mom life and work life, and how to overcome the overwhelm that can show up when parenting toddlers and small children.
Boundaries are Blurry
Avital wasn’t sure she wanted to have kids, and she explained how her feelings and thoughts about parenthood changed throughout the years. She ultimately decided that it was part of the human experience that she didn’t want to miss out on. Now, Avital has five children ages 1 to 10.
With that reality and working as a parenting coach (she shares how she never thought that would be her path in this conversation), Avital has to welcome blurred boundaries between her different roles as mom and business owner.
“I actually think it’s a very enriching experience and approach to life to realize that the boundaries are a little blurry between different roles. And to me, a journey of integrity is to try to as much as possible grow into the same person I want to be with my children as I want to be in my business,” Avital continued. “I want to see every arena of my life as this area for growth and development, and not to see them growing necessarily at the expense of each other.”
The Time You Give Your Tasks
One of the things Avital talked about in Time Genius was the concept that your tasks will fill the amount of time you give them. I learned that even more clearly when I became a mom. Things that previously took me several hours were reduced to 90 minutes – that’s how much time I had while the baby napped.
“There’s something about the crunch,” Avital began. “And there’s something about knowing that no matter what I’m going to need to feed my children. I’m going to need to bathe them and put them to bed and clean the house and cook dinner and do all these different things. And then I have my work tasks as well. It just kind of turbo boosts everything to get it done in a much more efficient and energetic and productive way. You just have less time to dilly-dally and less time for distractions.”
Becoming a parent also helped Avital shake off the perfection paralysis. “If I was waiting for everything to be perfect, I would never get anything done, not in my home life, not in my parenting and not in my business. And so I think that also really helps us. You’ve just got to strip away anything that is not absolutely essential and crucial to that task. That helps you get it done in a much more efficient way.”
Pressure To Do Both
There seems to be increased pressure on mothers to do both – to be moms and have thriving careers. Sometimes that just isn’t the best choice for someone, and dealing with the pressure is challenging. Avital has advice for any parent who chooses to pause their career in favor of focusing on parenting.
“When I look at my friends who have been lucky enough to make that choice to stay home, I think it just behooves us to own our choices, no matter what they are,” Avital continued, “In parenting, you could feel really guilty for working.Do I care more about money or upgrading my lifestyle, or I could maybe move to a cheaper area or live on less and I could be with my kids more? You feel guilty about ambition or you feel like I’m working more than I really have to.
“And then if you stay home, you feel like I’m not an interesting person anymore, or I’m not contributing to the household. Or I could be climbing the ladder and what’s going to happen in 10 years when I try to get back in?
You can belittle yourself and your choice and your life. And I would just suggest gently and warmly that we try to celebrate our choices. There isn’t one right way. There are many, many amazing viable ways of building a family life that you love.”
More from Avital
Want to learn more from Avital? Listen to her podcast The Parenting Junkie, follow along on Instagram, and check out her blog and courses. Of course, don’t forget to hit play on this episode for the full conversation about mindful, productive parenting.