I came from the corporate world with a near 25-year tenure before becoming a broker. I had never known what it was like to work anything but the nine to five. Juggling marriage, motherhood and work had become routine and static. I pretty much knew where I needed to be at what time at all times. Unless there was an unexpected sickness for one of my kids, me or my husband, that’s just how life rolled.
However, in 2011, when I became a licensee, I learned quickly that juggling a not-so-static schedule is a challenge. I had to learn to rearrange life at a moment’s notice and bridge the gap for my responsibilities in general. My office is on my kitchen table for the most part (and in my car), though I have a separate office in my home.
Balancing Real Estate and Life
This has simply become my reality because of the fabric of life. In the beginning, it presented a challenge while meeting the needs of my business and my family simultaneously. My nine to five schedule has flipped into evenings and weekends and working around my client’s schedule. Small changes to the way we live life became paramount and vital to the success of both my business and family.
I have a few tips I’ve incorporated to balance meeting my family’s needs while being an agent.
1. A Definitive Schedule – Working off a calendar posted on the refrigerator gives my kids a sense of continuity, because they know what’s coming. If I have an appointment, I make sure that they know it right away, and then it’s added to the calendar. It makes the short notice appointments a little easier to juggle.
2. Prepare meals – I cook on average of three to four times per week. Instead of cooking at 6 p.m., I do it early in the day. I have about six slotted containers that I fill with pre-cooked meals so that my kids can just pull it out and microwave when I’m not home to do it. I add a post-it note to the top lid so that they know how long to heat it and a reminder to clean up.
3. Laundry – Instead of doing laundry on the weekends, I do it in the early morning when my kid’s leave for school. I’ve also taught my kids to sort and wash their own laundry on assigned days of the week when they return from school. I don’t have to do their laundry anymore, and my volume is half of what it once was.
4. Streamlining Obligations – I’ve streamlined the chores with housework and incorporated my kids to help. At first, they we’re not keen on the idea, but have really bought into their responsibility that they have to their home.
5. Date Night – I have one day per week that’s always been set aside for my husband, and we spend a little quality time together. It gives us time to regroup, connect and iron out upcoming challenges in our work schedule and family. Having this time to decompress together really sets that tone and braces us for the challenges ahead.
Making those small changes has made a world of difference. I feel a little more in control and a little more organized, which makes life feel a little more balanced. My kids also are learning some life lessons along the way, because they not only have new responsibilities, but also feel included and have become more independent by this experience.
I can’t say it’s always easy; it hasn’t been. I find now that I’m spending more quality time with my kids, and my time with them is more meaningful. I’m also more flexible and available to meet the needs of my family. Becoming an agent has enabled me have a more flexible, fulfilling life, which has been challenging but oh so rewarding.
Pamela Peterson is a broker associate with RE/MAX Action in Lisle. She can be contacted at:
Office: 1550 Maple, Lisle 60532
Office Phone: 1-800-276-2600
Cell Phone: 1-630-803-9554