By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Kids. Work. Kids. Work. Hubby. Kids. More work.
When it comes to working with a family in tow, life can be a challenge. Between your children, significant other and work responsibilities, it’s very easy to forget yourself along the way. Fortunately, there are easy ways to give yourself a little time, even if time is not what you have anymore.
Because I work for myself, I have been lucky to make my own hours so that I can be a mom first, then a dedicated entrepreneur next. And yes, somewhere in between that I am a wife, too! It’s important to me that I’m with my kids the majority of their awake time each day, however it’s also very important to me that I pursue my love of the retail industry – hence my career in retail consulting, education and freelance writing. So when I squeeze in a few hours to work on a Saturday afternoon while my husband hangs with the kids, I head straight to my favorite local coffee shop for a relaxing latte, some time with the morning paper, and then a few hours with my laptop. The crazy part is, a latte and half an hour flipping through the local paper gives me just enough of a re-boost to feel charged and ready to go again. Not once during my leisurely latte do I have a crying toddler pull my leg or our ninety pound dog bark to go outside. The time is all mine, and mine I make it. Every sip is treasured, every page read is cherished and although so simple, I feel so fortunate to have these hours to get some work done. Sure, it may be a Saturday morning and I’m not with my family, but that’s okay. I’m making my own rules in this crazy life, and working odd hours is among my favorite.
Lattes aren’t always enough, though. A long shower, a glass of wine, playdates with friends – more for the moms than the kids – and so many other “little” things can make me feel like “me” again. Sippy cups and potty training just don’t give me all the satisfaction I need, so finding a little “me” in everyday is important. Nap time isn’t always about getting the chores done… though I know it should be on many days. Instead I dive into my work, which reminds me so much of my life before my husband or children. Do I feel bad that I connect my work to that time in my life? Absolutely not. It’s so much of what shaped me to who I am today, and I love that I have made it work in my “new” life as a wife and mother. Often as I research new projects, I reference experiences I had years ago when I was climbing the corporate ladder as a single women. Just then I stop and laugh. What a difference high heels and New York City streets are to the flip flops I wear in my suburban cul-de-sac. The best part, though? These memories will always be with me, always be mine and are always an inspiration in both my work and my family.
While my work / life balance may not be traditional, it’s what works for me. The constant pressure of never feeling done with anything can sometimes be a drain, but the first laughs of my infant son in the middle of an afternoon remind me how lucky I am to be a part of his day. So what if I can’t get manicures every week because there is no time – or for that matter, no money (who knew how expensive diapers and formula can be!), it’s the little things that count. Memories included… of both my past and the ones we’re making now.
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle ~ M.O.M & Founder of Retail Minded
(www.retailminded.com or follow on twitter: @retailminded)