Meet Jennifer Donogh of Ovaleye: Cloud Services. A member of our Power Blogger Team, Jennifer is savvy in balancing motherhood and business.
Not everything is perfect all of the time, but focusing on what is good will save your sanity.
When I meet other moms or hang out with my friends I find myself telling them I have a flexible schedule or explaining that I don't get out of the house much. Both are true statements, but to someone who doesn't understand what building a business while being a mom looks like it sounds like I have a pretty cushy life and I agree with that impression to an extent.
I get to stay at home with my now toddler two days out of the week by myself, be present three more days, and send him off and pick him up for two days. I am incredibly lucky. I often stay home when I'm with him, because I have systems for getting things done while he plays, naps, and eats. Like many working moms, especially ones that work out of their homes, my life is now full of systems.
I've created these systems by trial and error and from listening to what other moms have done in the past. Tweet
I have play stations in each room of the house, a coloring station that is kid-gated off, set snack times, stroller times, and nap times. Unfortunately in building a business and raising a child, not everything goes as planned, so when that happens I'd like to say that I was able to gracefully rise above it, roll with the punches and move on, but that has not been the case. To give myself some credit, it's not ALWAYS the case.
When a system breaks down I've found myself on the floor of my home office crying to my son's teacher at day care explaining that he was sick and not coming in. I've cried to my mom embarrassed that nap time never came so I had to pop out the stroller, bundle up the toddler and take a walk to make a conference call, sure that the garbage truck was following me as my cell service went in and out. I've even cried in front of my dad because my hair never does what I want it to do when I have to be on video.
These were mini breakdowns, that I could usually see coming and up until my son was a year old I had them about every three months.
Nothing serious, just short periods where things didn't go the way I had planned, had wanted them to, or was prepared for so I would cry. This was a norm until one night I was laying awake in bed and I decided to instead of rethinking some of the mini disasters in my day, or mentally reviewing my daunting to do list for the next day I would make a list of all of the things I was thankful for.
A big part of our company culture is set on the foundation that there is power in your thoughts, or that "attitude is everything."
Like most people, I've always been grateful for everything in life: family, friends, warmth, food, etc. However, I had never literally sat still and thought solely about specific things I was thankful for. So one night I did it. I was laying in bed and and started to think of what went really well in my day, things that made me happy, and people I loved. I listed that I was thankful for little baby cheeks, picturing my son's bright smile and instantly felt absolute joy. Then came things like the roof over my head, the night's dinner, my husband coming home a little early from work and so on. I really felt overwhelmed with gratitude for everything.
Since then, whenever I am feeling frustrated or tired I take a few moments and picture specific things I'm thankful for in my mind. Sometimes I will even write them out or look through pictures on my iPhone, either way my mind goes to a place where my attitude is improved instantly. I do this whether its over breakfast, while I'm out on a run, reading over emails, or stuck in traffic.
My biggest shift in thinking in the last year has come from overreacting to negative things in the present to looking at things from a more holistic perspective. Yes, it doesn't feel good to have to do the uncomfortable things in life at times, but when you really think about it, does it matter?
What matters in life are the small things, the good things that often are forgotten as soon as a text alert goes off on your phone. Tweet
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis has has made me realize this.
Jennifer Donogh is an owner at Ovaleye LLC, a cloud services company serving small office, home office businesses across the United States. She is the creator and Director of Young Female Entrepreneurs, a wife, new mother, and entrepreneur with a passion for helping young women create their futures through community and the use of online solutions.