“Mum, you work too much!” The words no work-at-home mum wants to hear!

fun at the Brisbane Winter Festival
Taking time out for fun! Watching my three boys having a blast on the ice at the Brisbane Winter Festival!
“Mum, you work too much!” Those words weren’t exactly what I wanted to hear from my 11-year-old but he was not the only one frustrated by my work load. I’d had a few clients on the go with my doula business and May was a particularly busy month as I was preparing to take 10 mums away on a retreat. That same week I disappeared in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to attend a birth client and didn’t make it home till dark, at which point I promptly collapsed in a big heap! My kids weren’t seeing me at my mummy best. I was tired, irritable and, to them, it seemed like I was working around the clock.

So when my son blurted out those words, as painful as they were to hear, I knew I had to do something. It was a stark reminder to take breaks, and turn myself off from my work world to be present to my family’s needs.  Does anybody else find that difficult?

When you do something you are passionate about, it’s more than just a job, isn’t it. But that doesn’t mean it has to take over your life.  If you’re anything like me, you didn’t start working at home to become a mumpreneur or a millionaire. I just wanted to bring in some extra income for the family in a sustainable way, doing something I love, while home educating my three boys! Is that such an ask?

When work life seems to be outpacing home life, it’s easy to sit there and wonder why I’m doing all of this.

Last week I kinda hit the wall and knew that something had to give. On my way home from seeing a client across town, I stopped in at my friend Julie’s house. Julie is a massage therapist who works with me and is studying naturopathy. I asked her if we could work out a personalised rescue remedy. So we pulled out the chart listing all the flower essence remedies for a given emotional response or desire and ticked all the statements that rang true for me. Just talking through some of the issues helped a lot!

One thing that stood out clearly for me was the desire to have fun with my family. I’d been so focused on work that I’d put aside the need to go out and have fun! I had been feeling annoyed when the kids pulled me away from work and that didn’t exactly sit well with me.

So, driving home that night, I resolved to take more breaks and go on a holiday! Next weekend I’m packing the boys up and we’re heading up the coast for a few days at the beach. But I can’t do that every time I need a break so what’s a busy work-at-home mum to do?

Last week, while we were hiking to a waterfall with some other families, one of the dads, who happens to work at home too, was telling me that he manages to take holidays while staying at home. He basically treats his business like he would if he were working in an office, puts his email onto autoreply for the time he’s taking off and lets all of his clients know when he’s on holiday. It had never occurred to me to think of my work at home business like that. It’s fine when there’s a lull but lately, my business has been so busy, I’ve been run off my feet!

At the end of last week, I chucked in a couple of recreational days with the kids where it was all about play and no work. My businesses somehow survived, the inbox didn’t implode and nobody got hurt! It really is okay to take some days off!

So next time a little voice says to me that I’m doing too much, I plan to listen. I’m just hoping it’s that little voice in my subconscious mind rather than my frustrated 11-year-old! Until next time…. Cas.