Right out the gate I will be totally honest . . . we don’t really know how to do this . . . it is a constant conversation and ebb and flow in our life. BUT we are working on it and getting better at it.
I am also internally having this struggle about being the Mom I want to be and also really enjoying and loving being an entrepreneur. When I worked a 9 to 5 job I worked hard at it and did well, but when the day was done, I was done. I didn’t bring work home.
Being a digital nomad/entrepreneur is so different since I work from home, the office is home and home is the office . . . it’s a lot harder for me to stop working at the end of the day when really there isn’t an end to the day per se. It has to be a conscious decision for me to stop. And man, that is harder than I thought!
I have been having constant guilt around enjoying growing my business, being an entrepreneur, seeing success with the blog and wanting to continue to pursue that, launching the course, wanting to advertise that more, get our YouTube channel going, starting a podcast, the list goes on and on. And I really enjoy doing all of this.
BUT I also really want to be the best Mom I can be, I want to unschool our kids, I want to just hang out with them, I want to hang out with Craig, I want to be lazy (sometimes 🙂 – I do have a hard time sitting still).
The hard thing for me is I have a hard time doing something half way. So if my mind is focused on my business I tend to think about it ALL the time. And I am finding that more and more that is the direction my head is going.
Maybe it is because I have been a full time Mom (exclusively breastfed all 4 until they were over 3 years old, co-sleep (we still do), no day care, no school, etc.) for almost 10 years. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change a thing about the way we did or do things, but I am starting to see a side of me that wants to be more ME and not just the Mom.
Figuring out how I do that and still parent the way we want to with 4 kids has been a challenge and continues to be a challenge. . . .
When the kids are at a campground with friends or family and are occupied, I try to jump right on my computer and take advantage of that time. The problem is that I then have a hard time stopping when they come to ask me for something. That is that whole “not doing things half way” thing. If I start, I want to finish.
However I also want to be there for the kids when they want me. It’s hard not to hold resentment for that. But I am choosing to focus on NOT resenting it and instead responding to their needs. But man, is it hard!!
I have had multiple entrepreneur moms tell me that I should never use the word balance. That balance is an elusive thing that just does not really exist. I have to say when I heard this I felt a sense of relief.
I had been trying so hard to find that magical balance that it was taking away from every aspect of my life. By letting that go, it allowed me to look into each day and to figure out what needed to change to make it work the way I wanted it to.
The whole reason we began this lifestyle was to be closer as a family and to spend time deepening our family bond. At the time we weren’t planning on starting a business and didn’t truly understand everything that went into traveling full time (there is a whole lot of work and planning – all the time!!).
Like I mentioned above this is the ebb and flow. We did start a business and in order for it to be successful, we have to put time and focus into it. We are not on vacation – we need money to live and to continue this lifestyle.
In the beginning I worked a lot and found that most of that time was spent at night when everyone else was asleep. That worked well for a while, but 4 hours of sleep a night is not really maintainable or healthy. Plus I like to just hang out with Craig at night when the kids are sleeping and watch TV or a movie.
Plus we have made the commitment to unschool our kids and it is a big commitment and not something we take lightly, so we want to be sure we are putting the time and focus into that as well.
I know every parent out there feels that pressure of so many balls to juggle and we all strive for that magical balance. Instead I am now focusing on making sure I am doing the things I want to do each and every day and making them a priority.
I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago and since then we have had some big wins with the blog and I picked up 4 new clients . . . so things are flowing in the direction of too much work again. But I am trying to go with the flow and feel it out to find where I want to be.
Here is how I strive to do that. Let me preface this with saying I DO NOT always do a good job with this. Especially #2. If I am focused and doing something I have a hard time switching my focus to the kids – but I am working on it.
- I have ONE day a week that is all about work for me. This is the day I tell the kids “Mommy is working, go ask Daddy”. Yes, I say that over and over again, but eventually they figure it out. Or if it makes sense I will go to Starbucks to work.Having this one day allows me to schedule calls and to really focus vs. just working in bits and pieces across multiple days.
On days I get a full day of work we don’t plan outings, travel, etc. and I am able to get the bulk of my work done for my clients in that one day.
- On the other days of the week I try to choose my kids over everything else. If they want to do something, I make that a priority. If they want to snuggle, read a book, or show me something I try to stop what I am doing to do that.
I still feel like I need work in this area, but knowing I am aware of it has helped me see the times I have said wait, in a little bit, or not right now. And I am trying to change that.
I have also found that if we are able to get out of the RV as a family and go somewhere my focus is so much clearer on them and not on work or things that need to be done around the RV.
- Our traveling has been suffering as we figure this all out. We have been going to locations and not doing all the cool things we could or want to do because we just haven’t planned enough in advance. Or don’t even know what there is to do in the area.
From a priority standpoint it has taken the back burner for a little while and we are trying to figure out how to make it work better. We are talking about planning a few road trips where we do all the bookings and activity planning ahead of time – like months ahead of time – so we don’t miss the things we want to do and then don’t have to be worried about the planning in our day to day lives.
On the other hand, we like that our live is flexible and things can easily change day in and day out. But I think trying the road trip planning will let us see how that works for our family so we can figure out what we do going forward.
- We are flexible. This is so key to making this life a reality. This means there may be days I have to work after the kids go to bed. Or times I am working as we are driving in the car to go to the grocery store.
It is changing plans or adjusting things so we can meet deadlines. It is being OK with the fact that every situation isn’t set up to be ideal yet if we want it bad enough we will make it work.
As I look into the future the thing I think we are missing and will be focusing on is streamlining the things we are doing. I tend to jump from idea to idea without getting a good process and plan in place. If we can focus on the process and the plan we will be able to accomplish so much more without the struggles and in less time!
We have learned how to simplify our life by having less things. We are deepening our family bond by spending a lot of time together and will continue to push to make this our top priority. We will also keep a pulse on our business and the blog to make sure we don’t take on more then what we WANT to do.
The best advice I can give (for you and for me to read everyday!) is don’t lose sight of what you WANT to do in your day. Don’t lose sight of your priorities and make sure to catch yourself from going down a route that is going to back you in a corner (like having to work more to make more money because we are spending to much!).
Our WANTS and our WHY (to deepen our family bond) for traveling full time have helped pull us in multiple times to realign the direction we were going. We are living our live the way we WANT to not the way someone else or society tells us. But man, that pull is always there!
If you want to learn how to start your own location independent business, check out our course: How To Start A Virtual Business So You Can Travel Full Time which is available now!