I was hesitant to sign up, mistakenly thinking the course wasn’t relevant to me. My kids have been out of diapers for years, and I’m not running a business. I just enjoy blogging! Despite my doubts, I started the course.
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is entirely text-based, which I loved. It can be difficult to find time to sit down and listen to an audio recording or watch a video. It was easy to find a few moments in my busy day to read a section of the course on my computer or phone.
After a brief welcome, Lisa discusses how to share your vision with the whole family. It is important to get them on board with your business.
Every mom has a family to care for, meals that won’t prepare themselves, and a home that will not clean itself. Family and home must come before business pursuits. I was glad Lisa included several units on managing the home.
Lisa starts with chore management. She offers creative ideas for including kids of all ages. Her marble jar system of rewarding children for completing chores intrigued me.
The course also addresses meal planning. Can you really plan a whole year of meals? Lisa can. She outlines steps to help busy moms plan out a year’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even snacks.
The second half of the course focuses on how to grow a business from home. Surprisingly, Lisa calls attention to the importance of getting enough sleep. (Has she been peeking at my Fitbit sleep log?) She also emphasizes the need for setting boundaries. A home business should not eclipse family time. Setting boundaries also helps busy moms find time to rest and refresh.
I appreciated the unit on growing a business with kids. Since my kids are older, they can all help in various ways. Lisa suggests ways of including them. She also offers advice for including young kids or children with special needs.
One of the final units covers time management. Lisa offers tips for planning morning and evening routines. She even provides a list of 100 ways to make use of short segments of time scattered throughout the day.
Lisa provides action steps at the end of each section. Some of these were not as relevant as the ones I came up with on my own while reading the material. Even so, the course definitely spurred me into action.
During the first unit, I realized I had never clearly defined a goal for my blog. After thinking and praying about it, I outlined the purpose of Peering Through the Lattice:
Inspiring Christian Moms in Faith, Life, and Homeschool
I updated the header of my blog to reflect this vision. A couple days later, I ordered my first business cards as well. I was so excited when they arrived in the mail!
While reading the unit on chores, I realized that our system was not working. Although Lisa’s system was not a great fit for us, we needed something new.
Last week, I stopped assigning each kid specific chores. Instead, I created a job chart that allows them to earn a small amount of money for completing chores.
After a child completes a job, they write their name on the blank that corresponds to it. Simple chores like wiping the table are worth fifty cents. More complex jobs like preparing and fixing dinner could earn them up to two dollars. The money they earned last week came in handy while we were out shopping on Saturday. I didn’t have to say “no” to the items I didn’t think my fourteen-year-old needed. Instead, I agreed that she could pay for it with her own money.
The home management units also inspired me to write out a flexible daily routine.
Lisa’s unit on involving older kids in a business helped me consider ways I could involve my kids in my blog. I was surprised at how many ways they were already helping. My oldest daughter helped edit my writing during my first few months of blogging. The fourteen-year-old has contributed photos and helped with graphics. The twins have suggested blog topics based on family hikes and other excursions. All of the kids have tried out some of the products we have reviewed for the crew. And every time I create a cover image for a blog post, I ask at least one of the girls for her opinion before finalizing it.
Lisa helped me realize that even my twelve-year-old twins could help with editing. It was refreshing to sit between them on the sofa with my laptop. “Read it out loud,” one of them suggested. As I complied, they noted awkward-sounding sentences, missed punctuation, and typos. I was impressed with their insightful suggestions for improving my writing. What a fun, non-threatening way to develop their editing skills and review basic grammar!
The section on setting boundaries really hit home. There have been evenings in the past when I blogged until bedtime. Lisa’s course reminded me that I need to set aside the blog to spend time with my husband each day. It’s not always easy to shut down the computer in the evening when I’m on a roll, but it’s always worth it.
I’m not finished with Balancing Diapers and Deadlines yet. Although I have read most of the course, I have not incorporated all the action steps I intend to.
In the coming months, I plan to find ways to involve my kids in more aspects of this blog. My fourteen-year-old could make valuable contributions. She could help with photography, photo editing, and other areas on a regular basis.
Including the kids could be a big time-saver, freeing me up to spend purposeful time with them. I would love to be able to spend special time with one kid each day of the week. We could play a game, shop, go for a walk, have tea…. Soon the kids will graduate and go who knows where. I want to build memories with them while I can.
I also plan to be more purposeful about taking breaks. I could get lost in writing for hours. I’ve found, however, that blogging in short bursts makes me more productive than those extended sessions. It also helps to head outside every so often and walk to the end of the culdesac to recharge my brain. It’s my favorite “think time.”
As you can tell, I loved Balancing Diapers and Deadlines. Even though I don’t run a business, the course helped me better manage my home. It showed me how to make use of resources I didn’t know I had and become a better blogger.
I often hesitate to pay for an online course, but this $50 course is worth it. Very few resources give such practical advice for growing a business while homeschooling a large family. If you run a business from home, Lisa’s course is definitely worth checking out. It can even inspire moms like me, who don’t have a business, to free up time to pursue their passions.