I'm open to suggestions about balancing life with a wonderful bride and seven children in our home, with having a full-time PR job during the day.  It's hard to balance the needs at work with the demands at home.  How do you manage?

  1. Renee Crabtree | Professional Virtual Assistant

    Boy oh boy you’ve hit on a constant struggle in my life. Working at home with 2 young children requires a lot of balance and I’m still working on it. My husband works around 60 hrs/week so I’m left alone a lot. But here’s what works for me and for us. I get up around 6 (if I’m lucky) and work until noon. Then it’s all family/housework time until around 9 when the kids go to bed. I work best with a set schedule. My struggle is that when Jeremy is home I want it to be family time ALL the time so not much gets done around the house. I guess it comes down to priorities. Where you spend your time shows your priorities. For me, in the long run, housework doesn’t matter. I will try to maximize the time I have with the kids when I have it. I find myself involving them while I make dinner – I have to make dinner so I might as well make it a group event. When I have to run errands I employ my children to help. They love helping me shop or deliver stuff. Involve them in the stuff you HAVE to do and then they won’t feel like you are ignoring them.

  2. Elliott - 21st Century Dad

    In our household, we have divided the chores up between the family members.
    I do the cooking, grocery shopping, wage earning, and handle household IT needs (even with Macs, you still need support).
    My wife does laundry, general cleaning, and cares for the baby.
    The teenager takes out the trash, scoops the cat litter, and helps out wherever he can.
    We’re all responsible for cleaning up after ourselves.

  3. Michael L. Stubbs

    only by the Grace of God!

  4. Kim J

    I’ve been in your shoes and I’ve been in hers.
    You see it as you “have” to go to work. On bad days, she sees it as you “get” to go to work. You get to go interact with other adults, have reasonable, intelligent conversations, etc.
    Think about it … you may be slammed all day with meetings and deadlines but I would almost guarantee that you can go to the bathroom and not have two of your co-workers stand outside of the stall/door arguing and expecting you to referee. She goes in, closes the door and chances are that at least one child will start bellowing for her, someone will have an “emergency” that needs to be fixed 10 minutes ago (like I can’t find my ____ hairbow, brush, coloring book, etc) and someone will stand outside of the door asking “Mom, are you done yet?) once every 2.7 seconds.
    You may have a lunch meeting, but no one expects you to prepare the meal and clean up afterwards either. I would bet that you don’t regularly, if ever, have a client or co-worker who looks at the menu and says “but I don’t like anything on here. Make them fix me something different.” With 7 kids, she will hear “but I don’t want _____” from at least 2 daily.
    On your drive home, you may have to field a couple of phone calls while she deals with homework, the school drama of the day, the inevitable arguements, the “what’s for dinners?,” the “but Mom … I NEED so-and-so for school tomorrow.”
    When the kids were all little (now 3 are grown and gone and only 3 are still home, with the youngest being 8) I was right there. On really frustrating days, my husband would get home from work and no matter how hard his day was, I would see him as lucky. He might have just worked 8 or 10 hours, but as mom I was on-call 24/7. It’s not that I didn’t love my kids – I would just be overwhelmed and understaffed. 🙂 On those days for him to give me 1 hour of wind down, quiet time was better than all of the diamonds in the world. He would run me a hot bath, keep the kids occupied and give me time to breathe. It was wonderful.
    It worked both ways too. After a hard day of unreasonable demands from bosses, co-workers, clients; he would surround himself with the pure love of his kids. No office politics there — No “get it done yesterday” deadlines when even Superman couldn’t deliver in less than 72 hours.
    Balancing work and family is hard, and when you have a large family, it can seem impossible some days. But it can be done with a lot of love and creativity. The little things that you do now can make all the difference. Most of all – don’t forget to MAKE time for just the two of you. Even if it is just once a month – schedule time to go out somewhere (other than the grocery store).
    My husband and I have survived 16 years of 6 kids (his, mine and ours), dual careers, changed careers, me being a SAHM, him being a SAHD and even a home renovation! (Want to see if your marriage really can survive anything? Completely renovate your bathroom without killing each other!) We’ve made it through murder (my dad), suicide (his uncle), death from cancer (his mom), 2 family deaths in one week (my baby brother and grandmother 7 days apart), forced layoffs, major reconstructive surgery (both of us – my right shoulder, his left shoulder), and we’ve even redone both baths AND our kitchen. It can be done and you can do it too.
    Good luck and God bless … k

  5. Greg Willis

    It’s a balance indeed. I have two young boys and a wife that works a high-demanding start-up job. I call her “Tiger Lady”. I myself run sales in a very high demanding start-up. Work together. Don’t beat yourselves up when the going gets rough because the going will get rough at times. Organize together, make plans to spend time together with your wife. We do one night a week for each of us to do what we want, one night as date night and one night as a family activity night. Respect one another and don’t sweat the small stuff.
    Love, understanding, patience, forgiveness are all part of the puzzle.

  6. Andrea @ Mommy Snacks

    It is hard to balance indeed! The only thing I can suggest is to set a schedule and “shut down” when you can. When I worked from home, I had a hard time stepping away from work and focusing on my priority (kids) after my “working” hours were done. I really never succeeded in making the whole work/family and working from home thing mesh but looking back, I really feel like having boundaries and setting a schedule works. Families are priority in everything but when you are working from home, you have to get work done so setting up nap times (how old are your kids?), activities, etc in times when you HAVE to work but the kids are needin’ ya may help some. Of course, everything is easier said than done!
    Good luck 🙂

  7. Rob

    Seven kids? I have two and that is enough for me. I run my business from home, and trying to squeeze in time to make it works falls between the cracks. It’s tough to keep balanced, and make sure you do what you need to do. One thing I did that has helped me dramatically though is created an ideal work day list. I break down what I do each day by defining how much time I want to work on it to the minute. I log all my time when I sit down to work, and make sure I use the time for each spot. A day might take three days to complete, but the end I know I did everything I wanted to do on an ideal day.

  8. Michelle Wegner

    Drastic times call for drastic measures. I had to quit my beloved job to keep things balanced at home. When I was working my husband was exhausted from preaching all weekend. I’d leave and he would take the kids to dinner, spending all the $$ I made working. It was a tough choice, but when I quit, things calmed down at home (for everyone else). It’s a season, a phase…like everything else in life. It’s hard, but its our job for now. 🙂
    God’s best to you!

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