Finding Balance with Lisa Kirk
When I wrote a post about how I schedule my work week and how I get it all done as a stay at home mom of a toddler and business owner of a growing, thriving business, the response was overwhelming. I quickly realized how many of you needed guidance for creating your own schedule and finding balance between work and life. I realized that we all want a glimpse of how others are making it work so we can better structure our own lives.
Because of this, I was inspired to start this series featuring other busy women and business owners sharing how they manage their schedules and work towards work/life balance. My hope in everything I do is that we can make our lives less busy and more intentional so that we find more room for joy. I hope that this series will inspire you in your own life and help you find just the right combination of work and play so you can make it happen too.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business or work.
Hi! My name is Lisa Kirk and I’m a wife, mama, writer, and blogger in Raleigh, North Carolina. Originally from Texas, I moved to North Carolina a month after I graduated from college for my dream job as an editor at a wedding magazine. During the four years that I worked there, a lot happened outside of my 9-5 too—my husband and I got engaged and then married, bought our first house, and had our sweet baby boy. Motherhood, in a nutshell, turned my world upside down. Entering into this new vocation with my whole heart in the way I felt God was specifically calling me to led me away from my role as an editor and into a new season, both as a wife and mother, and as a writer. I am now grateful to spend my days with my sweet little boy, and to continue to love on brides through my wedding copywriting business, Lisa Kirk Writing, which I launched in October 2017. I also love keeping up my life and style blog, Something Pretty (somethingprettyblog.com), which I’ve been writing for over seven years.
Take us through your typical day and your main daily responsibilities.
My number one priority, both with my time and my heart, is loving and caring for my little family. Charlie, who is now 15 months old, is an early riser, so we start our days with the sun. My husband, Dave, makes coffee every morning (Charlie loves to help with the grinder!) while I get Charlie’s breakfast ready and feed him. Dave gets ready for work and heads to his office around 8 while Charlie and I play, read books, and get ready for the day. When he goes down for a short morning nap, I work on e-mails and blog posts, both for my business and my blog. When Charlie wakes up, we have lunch and then head out to the gym, the library, or on a play date—I try to make at least one out-of-the-house plan for us every day.
Once a week, our sweet babysitter comes over to play with Charlie for the afternoon while I do client work for Lisa Kirk Writing. This is my main “hustle” time, so I fit in as much good quality, uninterrupted work as I can! I wrap up around the time Charlie goes down for his afternoon nap, so I’ll often squeeze in a few more emails or work on a blog post while he’s asleep. The other four days a week, we spend the afternoons playing at home, running errands, and getting together with friends.
Dave usually gets home around 4 and works for a few more hours at home, wrapping up around 6. I feed Charlie his dinner and then Dave handles bath time so I can do some prep work for our dinner. We try to be very intentional about parenting side-by-side as often as we can, rather than tag-teaming, so for the rest of the evening, we always try to spend quality time together as a family. We pray together before Charlie goes to bed around 7, and then Dave and I eat, catch up on our days, watch our favorite shows, and hang out on our back porch. Occasionally, I’ll work on my blog a while he watches sports or a show I don’t like (ahem, Game of Thrones), but most evenings, we spend together! We always try to read a little before bed and have the lights off around 10:30.
Our days are on the slow and simple side, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so grateful for the privilege of staying home and being as present to my son as I always hoped I would be, while still being able to do work that I love. I’m sure I’ll work a lot more in future seasons of life, but right now, I am very content with keeping my client list small so that I can spend all the time I want with Charlie.
How do you manage your schedule?
Dave and I have a shared iCal that we use to keep track of events that will affect the other person, like if he has a late work event or I’m going out with a friend one evening. We deeply value our time together and never feel like there’s enough of it, so we try to keep evening commitments during the week to a minimum. No matter what, we overcommunicate about our schedules and coordinate as best as we can. For my work, blog, and personal plans, I’ve used a Simplified Planner (the Weekly Edition) for years and have no intention of switching it up—Emily Ley has done a phenomenal job of cutting the fluff and creating a planner that doesn’t feel like extra work to keep up with!
What is one thing you always make time for?
Church is a non-negotiable for us—we were back at Sunday Mass when Charlie was a week old! I also feel completely off if I don’t make time for prayer, especially since becoming a mom. I’m not in a season of life when my prayer time always looks the same, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that in the trenches of motherhood, I’m living out the calling God has given me. There is holiness in rocking a baby to sleep and changing diapers and falling into bed at the end of the day completely exhausted by the physical and emotional demands of being a parent. Spending time with God and offering up my days to him is what gives me strength and makes parenting a joy.
How do you find rest?
Intentional rest happens far less frequently than it probably should—I can count the number of times I’ve actually rested during one of Charlie’s nap times on one hand—but I always feel refreshed and peaceful when I take time to pray, read for fun, or make it to a yoga class. I also genuinely savor taking long, hot showers after putting Charlie to bed and occasionally eating delivery pizza on the couch with Dave while we watch a movie!
How do you find the balance between work and home?
Child care! Even the small bit of it that we have. When I was trying to work before hiring our babysitter, I constantly felt like I was counting down the minutes until I could get back on the computer and get more done, which is not at all how I wanted to parent. I still work on my blog or emails during naptimes, but when it comes to client work and tasks I really need to focus on, I leave those to time when I know I’ll be uninterrupted. Knowing I have a few hours of dedicated work time coming up every week makes all the difference to me.
Tell us one thing that you have learned about finding balance in your life.
Especially as a mama, I’ve realized that “balance” looks completely different to everyone. I truly believe that there is no one right way to balance motherhood and work—what works for me right now may be a terrible fit for someone else, and it may even change dramatically for me as our family grows and changes. If you and your family members feel loved, cared for, and fulfilled, at least the majority of the time, you’re doing it right.
What is one piece of advice you would give readers about finding their own balance?
I know it feels impossible sometimes, but resist resist resist the temptation to compare your definition of balance to someone else’s—even someone you respect or look up to. Every family has different priorities, needs, and desires that don’t necessarily show up on their Instagram highlight reels.