{business 101} 940 Saturdays.

My elbows were sore. I felt like someone smacked them both with a hammer. It’s because I’d been on my computer all day long. On a Saturday. When I’m working, my elbows sit on the desk. It’s not ergonomically correct, I know. It hurt.

And it was a reminder of how I’d spent my time that day. Not with my kids, but instead fixing website details and figuring out pricing for our new organic lawn care business, Whole Yards.

I knew going into this learning-on-the-fly-adventure that I’d make sacrifices in order to run a business. I knew that this time of year would be busy, especially this first year. Late winter is when the lawn care industry ramps up for spring. Add to that the fact that I’m slow. I’m overly-detail oriented. I check and double check and triple check. Math takes me a long time. I like things to work properly, like Sir James Dyson.

But ten hours on a Saturday? In front of a computer?

If there’s anything I learned from our Advent Adventure this winter, it’s that I love setting aside structured time to spend with my kids and husband.

You know the famous Ferris Bueller quote, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

That’s not just for high-schoolers. That totally applies to raising kids. Maybe more to raising kids than to anything else.

I’m looking for balance. I’m ready to set some boundaries for myself. When my kids are around, I want to spend most of my time making eye contact with them. I want to know them deeply. I want to laugh with them and dance and hug and get into arguments about whose turn it is to clean out the cat’s litter box and why there is trash all over the bathroom floor.

How does a person make that happen?  I’m not one for rules. I can’t say, “No weekend work. Ever.” Because there will be weekends. And there will be evenings.
But there shouldn’t be hustle or ignoring each other or snapping at each other because we’re tied up in work.

940 Saturdays from the time my kids are born until they’re 18. I’m more than halfway done. I can make a business run 400 Saturdays from now. And maybe I can make it run now. I’ve got seven more months to figure that out. But my kids come first.

How do you balance your time? What’s your strategy?

This post is part of a series called Business 101, where I share my experience taking over a business for 8 months while I figure out whether it’s something I want to take on permanently.


  1. says

    Hi Hillary! Just stumbled across your blog while drooling over your gorgeous console table. As a small business owner for the last 4 years (I sell handmade ceramics on Etsy), I can tell you that it can be hard to fit it all in most days. Just reading through some of your posts, it’s so apparent what your family means to you and how much you treasure your time together. Making sure that your family knows this is half the battle so you already have a leg up on the balancing act! I try really hard to limit the amount of time I spend on my business when my kiddos are home, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I’ve come to the point in my life where I’m OK with that. My kids are proud of the work I do and I feel that I’m showing them a good example by doing something I find so fulfilling. They also know that when it’s time for me to put my work away I’m 100% theirs, which makes our time together all the more meaningful. My advice for you would be to just do the best you can and try not to sweat the small stuff too much. Your family knows how much you treasure them:)

  2. says

    Hi Hillary, I check in on your blog now and then to see what amazing new projects you’re up to. This was a great post, and I can relate so much, as my husband and I have our own landscaping business. He works so many hours, and it’s hard for him to turn off his work brain when it’s family time. I have an easier time of it because I’m not working on the business nearly as much as he is, but I still have a hard time not being distracted when I’m with the kids by the fifty billion things around the house that need attending to. It’s so hard! I’m sure you are doing a much better job at it than you think, however. It does take real effort to make sure that our business doesn’t overtake our lives. Last summer I made a list of resolutions for myself regarding my distractions. I really thought about what was taking my focus away from my kids and made specific goals to try to avoid that- (for example, one of them was to get a watch so I wouldn’t have to pull out my phone to know what time it is and therefore be tempted to check emails, texts, etc.) Anyway, I wish you so much luck with your new business, and hopefully you can find what works for you in terms of the work-life balance. (then can you please write a blog post about it so I will know how to do it too?) Good luck!

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