Eyes on the Prize: Balancing Babies + Bookkeeping While Building Time Freedom Into Your FutureSep 04, 2023
Welcome back to Profits + Prosecco. Today, I want to give a little life update on what it's been like to have all of my kids in school, and what my work day looks like now that my era of stay-at-home-motherhood has ended and I have more time freedom.
It doesn’t feel real just yet, and there have been some unexpected challenges with more time freedom that I don’t think anyone really considers. So let’s talk about what this looks like for me…
A New Chapter
So, this is the first time that all of my kids have been in school. My first two are just nineteen months apart, and my youngest has a two-year gap between her and my middle child, so I always had a baby when I had another baby. And when I sent somebody off to school, there were always at least one or two still home with me.
I had them over the span of the last seven years, so I also had a period during COVID where I had all my kids home once again.
It has been a time. It has been a wild eight years of motherhood, and this is a completely new chapter.
This is not only the most time freedom I've had since becoming a mother; it's the most time freedom I've had in my entire life.
And you know what else? it's still not as much time freedom as you fantasize about when you're home and in the weeds of motherhood.
As of now, I'm getting about six hours of time to myself every day for five days a week. And if you had told me anytime over my years of motherhood, especially at the beginning, that I would one day have six hours all to myself…it would have absolutely sounded impossible. Six minutes is an absolute eternity when you have kids as close as mine. There were times where I literally couldn't brush my teeth because I didn’t have enough time.
So six hours a day is a lot. But there are some unexpected challenges I’ve encountered now that I have this time freedom…
Honestly, six hours a day is almost too much time freedom for me. Not really too much, but it's a tricky amount of time to pace out. I’ve found that because I don’t have the motivating factor of knowing my kids are going to need me any minute, I’m now milking that six hours for all it’s worth, and I'm going very slowly.
Because of that, those six hours tend to fly by. They disappear well before I’m ready. So I'm trying to find my rhythm and trying to figure out what my schedule should look like, but I'm finding it harder to manage my time and harder to get motivated.
Practice Makes Perfect
So if you are considering having kids and running a business, or if you already have a business and you're considering adding kids to your plate, I would like to encourage you with this…
There will be times when things seem impossible and overwhelming. And other people will tell you that you shouldn’t let motherhood be an excuse for not being a top achiever in every single category of your life, but I can’t stand that kind of content.
Like, okay, sure, some moms can do that…but how much other support do they have? Is their mom around and helpful? Do they have a partner in the home who actually partners with them? Because candidly, that's not the experience that I had. Their dad is in their life, but it's not like I've got someone that graciously helps while I take calls and has certain scheduled time where they're handling that.
So when other moms say that they've got this rhythm and babies aren't an excuse, I want to call bullshit. It is hard. It is hard to manage kids and run a business, and while I’m not a big believer in the necessity of sacrifice to run a business, there are times where sacrifice is part of the job.
So, what I do want to encourage you with is this: if you have little ones at home and you're thinking about starting a business, I want you to know that there is a way to get really intentional with your time, and I want you to know that those little finite pockets of time that you can find to work on your business can be incredibly potent.
In fact, as stressful as it can feel sometimes, holding your butt to the fire and knowing that that's the only time that you've got is really a gift. It actually is a good thing. And there will be times when you feel like you can't do it all, but I want to challenge you to believe that it's not actually going to get easier. The challenges will just ebb and flow; they'll become different, but they’ll never fully go away.
However, the thing that I want you to really understand is that if you don't get started on stretching your capacity now and figuring out how to make the most of the time that you do have, by the time that you do have more time freedom, you're not going to have evolved into the person that can handle that.
Now is the best time for you to start. Is it realistic for you to go balls to the walls and grow a huge business and mark your calendar off with forty hours a week spent on your business? No, but you can use the time that you do have to make meaningful momentum within your business and allow those pockets to propel you forward.
Get Specific About Time Freedom
Even though it was work to build and provide for myself, the greatest gift I've ever had is to be able to maintain my stay-at-homeness.
When I started looking for ways to bring in money, even though I was a stay-at-home mom at the time, I always thought my era of being at home would end when my youngest went to school, and I would have to go back into the corporate world. But I found that I really wanted to preserve my ability to be home for the sake of preserving my time freedom, even after they went away to school.
After all, being present for your kids does not have an expiration date. For instance, I have this dream to be a nomadic grandma.
I have three kids. I hope they all stay here. I hope we all stay in one geographical area where I can bop between all of their houses, but I also think that’s unlikely. So the reality is, I’m already preparing to be the grandma that can travel wherever and whenever she pleases to see her kids and grandkids.
This job is going to support me. I'm going to be able to make money, and I'm going to be able to decide who needs me nearby the most, and I want to be able to go and be all-in. I want to be able to help them in ways that I just didn't have available to me.
But even in these school days, anyone who's got kids in school knows that there’s a six-and-a-half hour window from drop-off to pick-up, and my kids are back with me at 3:30. If I worked outside the house, I would either be late every day to pick them up and have to leave excessively early to drop them off, or I’d have to put them in aftercare. And even then, how do you get them to activities? I have no idea. I'm finding it hard enough to balance my current life with them just getting homework for the first time.
I've never been more grateful for my business and the flexibility and the time freedom that I have right now, because right now is the moment I wasn't promised. Not that I was promised being a stay-at-home mom, but I already had that gifted to me. I had that. I didn't want to lose it, and I expected it to expire by the time my youngest went to school.
So this is the time where I can really sit here and thank myself for maximizing my efforts, for finding ways to be okay in the midst of overwhelm, for finding and asking for support, for implementing systems and people, and for doing a good job so that my clients stay on.
Because of all these things, I can do this, and I can do it long-term. It gets even sweeter that I get to do the other element of it, which is helping people build this and create time freedom for themselves, because it's the ultimate gift.
Groceries are expensive, and I can afford them. Time is expensive, and I have it. Homes are impossible to secure, and I'm in one. The magic is not lost on me. The fact that I can make it to the PTA meeting tonight without stressing about losing work and money is not lost on me.
These are the greatest gifts. So whether your kids are in school, whether your kids are grown, whether you don’t have kids yet and you want them…you need time freedom. And more than that, you deserve time freedom. Even if you don’t have kids and never plan to, you need and deserve time freedom.
However, I think we need to get more specific about it. It’s not time freedom that you want.
You're being vague. You know exactly what you want to do. For me, it's going for walks, getting 10,000 steps, going to yoga, being able to pay for yoga, being able to buy a Fitbit and use it, being able to take a shower in the afternoon, being able to paint my house, being able to drop off my kids and pick them up, and being able to go to anywhere I want whenever I want.
You know exactly what you want. You're just afraid to say it because it seems unreasonable.
I want you to get specific. You don't want time freedom. You know exactly what you want to do. You just don't want to call it by name. And I am going to challenge you to call it by name.
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