WORKING IN WAYS THAT WORK
Lisa Pedersen is a work from home mom of two children as well as a Social Media Mentor and Strategist and the owner of Lisa Pedersen Media. She teaches business owners how to use social media effectively and to create social media plans that are smart, simple and sustainable.
In this episode:
- The wins and challenges of working from home
- How a flexible work schedule in a corporate job and being a small business owner can fit well with a work/family juggle.
- How paying attention to conversations and experiences (those signs from the “universe”) can take us in a new direction and lead us to great opportunities!
From Lisa: Lisa’s Favourite Planner – The Happy Planner
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Lisa Pedersen about the wins and challenges of working from home, how flexible work in a former corporate role and now being a small business owner have been great opportunities that fit well with her motherhood and work, juggle, and how listening to the signs from the “universe” helped to get her to where she is today!
If you prefer to listen, check out Episode 9 of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast.
Chatting with Lisa was like having a cup of tea with an old friend! She is incredibly warm, kind, and “real” about the wins and challenges of juggling motherhood and work. Her words of wisdom: “Have boundaries. There is beauty in doing things for ourselves so that we can be the best version of ourselves.”
FULL TIME TO FLEXIBLE WORK
Lisa has a background in marketing and design with a degree in design. After her first maternity, Lisa returned to working a full-time schedule in a corporate role for a small company while her daughter was at daycare. She found this so hard though – like her heart was being ripped out of her chest hard! The daycare that her daughter went to was a wonderful place but it meant that her daughter wasn’t with her and it was all day. Lisa thought that ½ day would have lessened that heart ache
After about a year and a half, she asked about having a flexible schedule. Her employer agreed to this and she was able to fulfill all her responsibilities being in the office 3 days a week and working from home the other 2 days. Even though she wasn’t always in the office, she was accessible and experiencing success.
Unfortunately, the work environment became toxic when a new manager came on board who didn’t like Lisa’s flexible work approach. She would be criticized for not being in the office for a meeting but, at home, she always made herself readily available to hop onto conference calls as needed. She felt like she was being pushed out of her job and she felt like she wanted to get out. She wasn’t happy and this wasn’t what she wanted for her family.
FLEXIBLE WORK – IT’S A MINDSET
Although what Lisa experienced in her corporate job happened 10 years ago, and businesses have come a long way, there still exists some lack of openness around flexibility in the workplace. One outlier, who doesn’t do their part or who takes advantage of the flexibility, can make this not work for a company.
There are preconceived notions about what it means to be working in the office versus working at home. There are going to be times when you are fulfilling all of your responsibilities (and more) for your company but it is still not enough or it doesn’t look like enough from the outside. Lisa thinks that we as moms have to let go of the need for other people to understand. (I agree!) We carry this burden of worrying what others are going to think. We have to shed that. It’s not helpful for our mental well being and productivity.
This time of COVID-19 that we are currently in could have a silver lining in that people are understanding just how productive people can be when they aren’t at the office. Of course, this is only for the people who haven’t bought into this already.
MAKING A CHANGE – SIGNS FROM THE UNIVERSE
Back to Lisa’s story…
Some of Lisa’s colleagues knew people that were small business owners. They would ask her if she was interested in work opportunities or jobs on the side. She enjoyed doing this work. More and more businesses started reaching out to her. During her second maternity leave, Lisa worked on some of these side projects as well as some early planning with businesses where she thought she could do the work once her maternity leave ended.
She had been interested in social media and had a blogging presence. A friend had a contact that was interested in hiring Lisa doing their social media for them because they really liked her online presence and voice. She ended up working for this contact for 5 years and ultimately, made the shift from her corporate job to having her own business.
Lisa feels that our conversations and experiences (“the universe”) can actually be trying to tell us something. I would agree! Paying attention to these nudges ultimately led Lisa to being an entrepreneur!
WORKING FROM HOME
Lisa started her own business almost 10 years ago when her kids were 1 and 4 ½ years old. Lisa working from home is all that her kids know because they were so young when she started out.
She juggles her work with kid responsibilities like swimming lessons and school. However, The biggest challenge Lisa has found working from home is getting her kids to understand when she is working. Her kids see her on a device. They don’t necessarily see that she is needing to get things done on that device for work. What has helped a lot is showing her kids what she is doing such as working on a spreadsheet or writing an email. Of course, there is the mom guilt too! She can’t always be 100% present when her kids need or want her to be. She might be in the middle of a conference call!
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
The biggest benefit of working from home for Lisa is definitely the flexibility. However, a lot goes into having that flexibility – no matter how wonderful our spouses are! Family calendars are a key tool for managing Lisa’s juggle. She uses different colours for her online calendar for the home, each of the kids, work etc. Lisa says that her calendar looks like a rainbow barfed all over it! I love this visual! Lisa also uses a hard copy planner (specifically the Happy Planner is her favourite) https://thehappyplanner.com The act of writing things down helps Lisa to retain her juggle. The combination of digital and paper calendars are her winning combination that helps to maintain her organization!
Lisa finds that her kids are more actively on board now with scheduling and planning now that they are older. They contribute to the family calendar to help keep everyone on track. I am 100% stealing this for my own family juggle! This is such a fantastic life skill.
Lisa feels lucky and grateful to be surrounded by parents that keep it real. (I am so grateful for my village too!) If she is having a bad day, she can be honest about it. If she is having a wonderful day, she can be honest about that too! Lisa’s village is really there for each other. Motherhood can be wonderful as well as chaotic and crazy and we can ALL use a hug sometimes.
BEING ON THE SAME PAGE
Lisa’s spouse works out of the home so it can be difficult for him to understand how the day has trickled out and what has happened. When he first gets home, sometimes he doesn’t understand the context of things. This can absolutely be such a challenge with busy family and work juggles!
We can have a relationship with someone for a very long time (Lisa and her husband have been together for 26 years and married for 20!) but we can have very different parenting styles and strategies dealing with things such as homework and frequently being late for school. We don’t want to see our kids fail and it’s hard to see them struggle. Lisa feels that it is better to have them fail when they are younger, when they can get over it – the small fails. They will progress with support. It’s just a matter of letting them do it. As tough as it is, I do agree with Lisa. We all learn so much from our failures, our mistakes, and overcoming challenges – including our kiddos.
TAKE TIME FOR YOU
Lisa talks about how important it is that she has boundaries. “There is beauty in doing things for ourselves so that we can be the best version of ourselves.” One day a week she walks her youngest to school and then heads to an hour and a half yoga and meditation class followed by a walk home. This is a commitment that she makes for herself. Lisa says: “We have to lose the guilt. It is important to do things for yourself and stick to it.”
Thanks so much to Lisa for this fantastic conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!