Guest Post: Work/ Life: Seeking Balance

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Today, I’d like to welcome Patrice Washington to Bibs & Baubles! She’s a mom, career woman, and style maven! Her story of how having kids changed her is something I can totally relate too.

via themotherhood.com

You’re probably reading the title of this post and saying to yourself, “Here we go again. Some woman trying to tell us how easy it is to juggle our busy lifestyle and make it look effortless.” Well, I’m not going to sell you that tale because I hate reading it to. I will, however, give you some honest, personal strategies that work in my day to day life that I believe will work in yours too.

As a wife, career mom of two ages 6 yrs and 9 months, I know just how hard it can be to strike a fine balance between your work and personal lifestyle. I read magazines where women make it look so simple while parading around in 6 inch stilettos. Well, that is NOT my reality. Eight years ago, I was a twenty something free spirit who loved hanging out with friends and shopping (yep, that pretty much summed up my life). I was single and without children. I would sacrifice dinner for a clothing sale and would skip paying the light bill if a new pair of boots were coming out. Yep, that sad story was my life before marriage and children.
Well, one day, I met a man who later became my husband and blessed me with two wonderful children. Getting married was easy, but adding additional, unemployed bodies to the mix caused alarm. “Would I have to sacrifice my love for socializing and shopping to raise children?” I’d often wonder. Well, after giving birth to my son almost seven years ago, I learned that the end of socializing and shopping were going to be the least of my concerns.

I was young, slightly immature and still searching for my place in corporate America. I had the responsibility of raising a precious life and still needed guidance in directing my own. It was stressful, tough, but propelled me to find my purpose. My son became my reason; the motivation behind me wanting to do well in life. His life became the driving force behind my success.

I found a mentor (several of them) and began to really prioritize my goals and asserting myself where the things I needed were evident I went from being a slow pace, passive aggressive person to a focused and assertive mother who wanted not a slice of the corporate America pie, but the whole pie. I ended up completing college and later went on to obtain a Masters degree and other certificates. I used those credentials to establish my own business while continuing to work in the 9-5 corporate scene. To do this, I took my social activities from every weekend to one Saturday evening every three months. This allowed me to not only save money, but to spend my evenings working on business matters. My goal was to establish additional streams of revenue for me and my family.

With the help of one of my mentors, I discovered ways to monetize my hobbies to serve as residual income. I would set up internet pages for different hobbies and sell items that I created at various markets. Another mentor introduced me to a circle of married women and moms who would meet and dish on topics relevant to women in a relationship and raising a family. This circle of women motivated me to be the best wife and mom possible. We shared restaurant recommendations for date nights and recipes to create fast dishes for our little ones. Oh, I can’t forget to mention the mentor who taught me all about consignment shopping. Did you know that many consignment shops have established partnerships with brand stores to receive their extra merchandise? Check out your local consignment store and save a buck on something new or gently used. Being a part of these (and several other) networks, allowed for me to have a crutch if you will to lean on when things became tough or simply confusing.

Nine months ago, I gave birth to my daughter and I can honestly say that I used the first few weeks of her life to truly test my ability to maximize 24 hours in a day. You know those sleepless nights when you’re caring for a baby’s feeding and changing needs every 2 hours? Well, I would use that time to catch up on my magazine reading or watch a sitcom I hadn’t seen in a while. And on those nights when she wanted to fall asleep in my arms, I’d brainstorm low cost to no cost business startup ideas. I figured if I’m going to be up, might as well do something enjoyable for myself as well.

In short, the way I found balance was by managing my expectations, knowing that great things require sacrifice and establishing a strong support system.

Being a mother is not a handicap or excuse, its your reason! It’s the reason you want to get to the top of your game and stay there; the reason you want to look your best, the reason you want to strive and grow. The balance will come because you have the power to WILL it there.

How has motherhood changed/inspired you?

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Patrice Washington is a wife, working mother of two, contributing writer for the DC Examiner and Creator of Yours/Mine Secondhand Shopping Soiree. She can be found on Twitter @prjwashington.

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13 Responses to Guest Post: Work/ Life: Seeking Balance
  1. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    July 11, 2012 | 6:23 am

    Love how motivating being a mom has been for her. She’s really inspiring!

  2. The Chic SAHM
    July 11, 2012 | 6:46 am

    This was very motivating and inspiring! Thanks!

  3. This Cookn Mom
    July 11, 2012 | 7:16 am

    This was inspirational indeed.

    I like “…adding additional unemployed bodies to the mix…” Lol.

  4. Kita
    July 11, 2012 | 8:13 am

    It’s so hard to find balance so much so that I am afraid to go back to work these days. The ideal situation would be for me to work from home but that’s not going my way. I loved this story I am in need of a mentor they are so important I like the older ones they have been there done that and can offer great advice.

  5. Nellie
    July 11, 2012 | 9:14 am

    Love this!

    I need mentors, several of them as well as I transition into the next phase of life. Funny how those little people take our priorities and flip them upside down!

  6. Alicia @MommyDelicious
    July 11, 2012 | 10:34 am

    Motherhood inspired (and continues to inspire me) to continue the grind. After finishing grad school with two master degrees last May, I’ve moved on to working full time, while freelance writing/blogging for extra income. Now, I’m looking to move into a slightly different career. I was going to wait another year or two to make the move, but motherhood inspires me to be purposeful with my time (especially my career) so I’m making the move NOW. There’s no time like the present.

    I’m also inspired to spend time with friends and socialize, something that I do once/week. Living in NYC helps with that a lot too.

    This is what’s fulfilling for me, and motherhood inspires me to lead a fulfilling life.

    Great post, btw. But, umm, let’s talk about that necklace — LOVE!

  7. Mrs. Pancakes
    July 11, 2012 | 11:47 am

    I love love this post.,.motherhood is a reason for sure!!

  8. Fatima Hipolito
    July 12, 2012 | 3:19 am

    Yeah that’s right Pancakes that the motherhood was really love for reason…

  9. Katrin
    July 12, 2012 | 5:07 am

    Really inspirational post, and it gives advices to reach the most important goal of a successful human. Finding the balance in private life is really hard but even more important than having a balanced worklife. Thanks for sharing your motivational thoughts.

  10. Rose's Daughter
    July 12, 2012 | 12:20 pm

    Balance seems to be the quest of my life! I’m hoping the when I move to day shift( 5 long weeks from now) that I can finally establish some type of balance in my life. I miss it!

  11. Quiana
    July 17, 2012 | 2:30 pm

    Patrice, you are a woman after my own heart! Multiple profit centers are where it’s at and congratulations on pressing through on your education. Thank you Cam for introducing us to Patrice. She is truly inspiring!

  12. Ann Cotilard
    July 27, 2012 | 4:57 am

    I really love this post. Now, I know that it is very important to balance work and pleasure. Before I spent a lot of time working without pleasure so that is why I feel so stress. But now I spend time for myself already and I just recently have my vacation and I really savor my whole vacation.

  13. Allison Ward
    August 7, 2012 | 9:05 pm

    I am seeking balance as well. So, glad that I found this post and now I understand already what I am going to do with my life.

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