Realtor Crystal Archer walks the tightropes of motherhood, marriage and real estate. Follow her as she strives for balance in her series Did I Sign Up for This?.
Life is busy. Being a mom makes life completely crazy. I know moms from many walks of life – some work outside of the home, some don’t. Either way, I respect them completely, because being a mom is the toughest job of all. I’m lucky to have the best (and worst) of both worlds as a real estate agent.
The very beautiful part of my job is that I can do so much of it from my home (or car). The very challenging part of my job is that my family is there for much of it.
For the last 4½ years, I’ve had the wonderful experience of helping people buy or sell homes and achieve their dreams. So many people don’t realize what an emotionally charged process it is! I love the satisfaction of helping a client into their first home. I love the glory I feel when I help a client achieve their next goal: sell a home and move up to their “forever home,” downsize because all of the kids are gone and they want to travel, re-size a payment so they can help with an aging parent’s care. The very beautiful part of my job is that I can do so much of it from my home (or car). The very challenging part of my job is that my family is there for much of it.
My typical workday isn’t anything extraordinary: meetings at the office, meetings with my clients, trying to manage my email (yes, I said trying because it’s usually an epic failure). Of course, there’s also the time spent recruiting new clients and trying to keep in touch with past clients. Then there are my stops at home between appointments to let the dogs out, start laundry, send a few emails or unload the dishwasher. Being involved in several professional and community organizations adds to the workload.
That’s just the day! As soon as we pick the kids up from school the real insanity begins. The rush home to feed everyone before we head out again for practice, games, church, scouts, piano, or whatever else my kids may be involved in. And, of course, homework… But this is every working mom’s normal.
Life is crazy and it can be nearly impossible to slow down enough to find meaningful ways to connect with your kids. Always being on the go means quality time is scarce. I’ve realized that my boys’ childhoods are flying by quickly, and so I found a few (quick) ways to connect with them that may work for you, too.
- Car Conversations
Try turning off the radio or DVD player when you’re shuttling everyone here and there. It’s funny that when they have the chance, my kids will talk about everything. They’ll tell me who gets in trouble (every single day). They talk about what happened at lunch and recess. Sometimes, I even catch a hint of a girl moviestarplanet generator they might like. Given the opportunity, my boys will ask all kinds of questions. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a really great conversation with them (free of distractions) because they’re trapped! Some of my best conversations with my boys happen in the car.
- Sticky Note Inspiration
Several times a week, I write a quote or a small piece of inspiration on a sticky note (I don’t have these memorized, they come straight from Google). I usually stick them on the boys’ bathroom mirror so they see it in the morning. Often, I use sports quotes because that is such a huge interest for them. Leadership and effort inspirational quotes are good for starting their days, too.
- Phones Off
Working in real estate, my phone rings quite a bit and being available is vital. My first few years in the industry, I really thought I might die if I didn’t answer my phone. With time, however, I’ve learned that turning off my ringer for an hour here and there doesn’t make me unavailable. Most things really can wait an hour or so. And it’s amazing the things I notice when I’m not constantly checking my phone! I have a rule during the summer that I can only check my phone during a pitching change. At my kids’ ages, that’s about every couple of innings, maybe 45 minutes. Try it.
- Let Them Help You With Something
Of course, kids always offer to help you when you’re in a hurry. But they won’t offer forever. It doesn’t matter if it’s cleaning, cooking or yard work, the little extra time spent working on something together is important to them!
- Help Them With Something
Kids love it when adults take an interest in what they’re doing. Whether it’s LEGOs, playing a game or watching a movie, they will notice when you sit down with them. What’s even better, they don’t mind you asking questions about it.
I am by no means a parenting expert, but these little things have made a difference for my family. They help me stay connected and involved in a meaningful way amidst the crazy schedule we have. I’m always looking for pointers, so tell me about how you stay connected with your kids!