If It’s Not Working, Change Your Methods

budget blonde twinsIt’s the beginning of another week, folks, and I had to pop in and say how much I appreciated all of the e-mails and comments that I got last Monday when I wrote about trying to find balance.

Writing is such good therapy for me. It always has been, and I had many of you reach out to me after that post and many of my “real life” friends message me on Facebook about it. It turns out, many of you are trying to seek some balance too.

I got messages from other working moms who felt the same way. I received e-mails from working dads and bloggers who spend their evenings on their online businesses when the rest of their families are asleep.

My big breakthrough, although he probably doesn’t realize it, was talking to Joe on Google Hangouts last week. Joe has a lot of experience in finance, but also in business coaching. Plus he’s old (kidding. sort of.) and he has a lot of experience with life in general. Oh, and he’s a dad of twins on top of all that so I really feel like he understands the crazy that is my life right now.

Joe really opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of my methods of running my business don’t really work. In sum, I’m a total spaz. I write half a post and then check my e-mails and then go back to the post and then get distracted by something else. Then I remember I was supposed to put the cloth diapers in the laundry, and well, you get the picture.

What used to be a nice, organized life and business has turned into total chaos.

Joe recommended grouping tasks and doing all of the same things at once. So, last night, I turned off Facebook and all of my e-mails, and I wrote 5 posts in a row. I got pretty tired towards the end, but I really pushed myself to finish. I have to say, I felt really accomplished at the end, and another interesting side effect was that I slept better too. (I tend to have a lot of trouble falling asleep because I run through everything I should have done that day, etc.)

Obviously, my issue of finding balance isn’t 100% fixed, but I’m on the road to figuring out a work flow and time management system that works for me.

I’ve realized that if something isn’t working, it’s time to change your methods.

This applies to your budgets, spending patterns, and even your relationships. I think we all have a habit of getting stuck in doing things our way or the way it’s always been done. However, I’ve realized life is about progress, not being stubborn, and continuing to try and tweak things until we all get it just right.

What’s been bugging you lately? What do you want to improve?

Tips from an Experienced, Financially Savvy Mom

plunged in debtI’m so happy to welcome Catherine from Plunged in Debt to the blog. Catherine is someone I’ve always looked up to. She has the most beautiful little girl, and she works so hard to keep her budget straight and enjoy her family all at the same time. I asked her to share some of her expert mom tips, and I hope you love them as much as I do:

I’m not the first to say this but being a mom (parent) is the hardest job you will ever have. This is something you have to experience to really understand but basically take the hardest thing you’ve ever accomplished in your life pre-kids and multiply it by about four billion. That’s almost as hard as it is being a mom.

When your child is born, you’re suddenly changed as person into a superhuman being. I don’t know what causes the exact changes but you suddenly find yourself capable of more in a day than you ever thought possible. Once, of course, you get over those initial first few days where you’re in a total haze of accepting that you’re now responsible for caring for, raising and providing for another human being.

Being a parent evokes emotional levels you didn’t know you had, and tests them daily.

I was fully prepared to have my daughter be born and be totally smitten and in love with her. Like I couldn’t breath without her and have tears pour down my face like I see in the movies. While I had grown close to the little girl growing inside me for nine months, at the time of her birth I was not overwhelmed with emotion.

Maybe it was the semi-scary situation going on around me (emergency c/section, minor postpartum complications). I knew I loved her but not like I was expecting. At first I thought there was something wrong with me. Then I realized two things. One, I was emotionally overwhelmed with everything. The pregnancy, the birth, the acceptance that I was now no longer pregnant (a strange emotional stage for me), the whirlwind of events that had just happened. And two, love grows.

I loved my daughter but not the way I do today, the way I expected to at her birth. Today when I think about her, I am totally overwhelmed with emotion, love, joy, happiness. The day of her birth I loved her but she was still a stranger to me.

Be prepared for all emotions. The changes of pregnancy to childbirth to postpartum are something NO one can prepare you for. Whatever you feel is normal. It’s ok to not have everything go the way books and movies make it out to be. It’s your body and your baby.

People love to give advice.

I can’t imagine what Cat’s going through with twins so be extra prepared, girl! People love to voice their opinions about everything related to babies, boobs, and bellies. Learn to keep your cool and more importantly keep doing whatever is working for you and your family. So many people, people I didn’t even know, had me second guessing my choices in parenting. We co-slept for 10 months. It’s something I never thought I would ever do but it just worked for us, and I wouldn’t have changed this experience for anything. Much against what others told me, my now almost two-year-old daughter sleeps fine in her own bed and won’t still be breastfeeding in college.

Stop reading whatever parenting book is currently sitting on your bedside table.

Seriously I read every. single. book/website/podcast/you name it. I was obsessed with getting as much into in my head as possible and it drove me crazy. You will learn your child, trust me. No general book can help you. I really think these books instill irrational thoughts in our heads. We’re constantly looking for things, crazy milestones, developmental issues. It gets overwhelming. Stop reading and start getting to know your kid, on your time, with no interference. If you have genuine concerns, chat with your doctor, midwife, professional, or another mom face-to-face, kid in tow. While there are a few amazing resources out there to help (KellyMom.com for breastfeeding comes to mind) these are meant to help with individual questions, not a manual about how to raise your child. You’ll just ”get it”, trust me.

Being a mother is hard. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything. While it’s not a job filled with monetary bonuses or paid vacations, the payoffs are more than money could possibly buy. Good luck Cat, you’ll do amazing!

Editor’s Note: Thanks, Catherine! I so appreciate the honesty, which I find is pretty rare. The experience for me has been so challenging but so rewarding, just as you’ve said.

Does anyone else have any parent tips? Anything you wish you would have known before in terms of money, scheduling, or even the emotional aspect?