The 'Work/Life Blur': How To Simultaneously Run A Business and Be A Good Parent

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The 'Work/Life Blur': How To Simultaneously Run A Business and Be A Good Parent

This week sees the launch of 'Things they didn't tell you about parenting', an eBook which collects thirty-two of the best bloggers with kids into a compendium of stories about how to make it in the real world while your kids are still entering it.

The book, which you can buy online right now, is edited by Smarter's very own Allison Tait, who was the author of our recent feature about spinning hobbies into full-time money earners. It also features contributions from the trailblazing Maxabella Loves, whose piece on the extended reach of Mummy bloggers and benefits for brands remains one of the most popular pieces on our site. Many of our readers who run their own businesses are also Mums and Dads, so we're always interested in new ideas about how to manage the work/life balance when you're also managing other little ones' lives.

Today, we feature a piece by Heather Jones, who runs her own communications, media production and events small business with her husband after a career in corporate. She tells us a little about her concept of the 'work/life blur' and how it's helped her appreciate the best of both worlds...

"I often say to other working mothers in particular, the trendy idea of "work/life balance" is misleading and mentally dangerous - it conjures images of an equally weighted see-saw - where you've got equal parts work, equal parts "life" on a different side. It's not reality. When the work load is (often unavoidably) heavy, we feel guilty we've left our kids and life high and dry, flailing around unattended on the top of a see-saw. Or the other way, the kids are going through a tough time - the see-saw is weighted down that way - so work must suffer.

Instead I encourage a "work/life blur". Both are parts of who you are - stop trying so hard to keep them distinct and separate and in balance - and instead embrace the symbiotic nature of them. I'm in a privileged position because I can set the culture and expectation in our workplace now - as the boss (along with my husband and co-director) - for our staff - if you need to order groceries or email your mother on work time, do it. If your child has a presentation at school he wants you to be at, go.

We are grown-ups, we know what we need to achieve as a business and our respective parts in that - as long as we deliver to our promise of telling our clients stories brilliantly, every time, I'm not fussed what else fits in your day. We are inherently saying to them, "We trust and respect you, and assume you do the same for us and this business. It's important we deliver on what we've promised to our clients; but it's also important you honour your job as husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, football team coach, whatever, as well - and there's only so many hours in a day. Thank you for giving us so many of your hours, if we need to share them sometimes, that's OK."

As an example of how that plays out in our workplace, I often have my three kids (aged 8, 6 and 2) video conference with me at the office when they get home from school and pre-school with our family friend/live-in nanny. They sit at the kitchen bench and munch on their afternoon tea while chatting to me about this and that, including my 2 year old, who is thoroughly incoherent but hilarious in his attempts to join the conversation. The open plan office overhears me talking - but they only get one side of the conversation, as I wear headphones, so probably sounds ridiculous hearing your boss assume "the mummy voice" with no context! But I've asked, and the staff find it endearing, not distracting.
 
But as a working parent, it's important as part of my work/life blur that I don't miss out on those "just home from school" stories that kids so often forget by bedtime. And this is one example of how today's technology allows me to smudge that imaginary "work/life" line to create the blur that helps me "do it all" so much more healthily and happily."

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Get your paws on 'Things they didn't tell you about parenting' right here.

See also: Maxabella Loves on Mummy Blogging and Allison Tait's collection.
  • Great wisdom in this understanding of the demands on working parents that we more often than not put on ourselves. Love the creative thinking of how to honour our families and our jobs. Report this

  • This sums up "the blur" beautifully. Sure it's hard, but it's not impossible. As Heather says it's about embracing the challenge. Intelligent and thought provoking. Report this

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