Balancing Doula Work and Family Life
If you’re doing doula work and you already know me, you have likely asked me this question:
“What’s the formula for how to do doula work and build a business, while also being a parent, partner, and person… it feels so overwhelming right now.”
You’ve asked me how I manage it all, hoping to find some kind of secret sauce in my answer.
Well Doulas, here’s your secret sauce: Hard work and determination.
Creating a healthy balance between your doula work life, and your home & family life is possible, you just have to create a plan. Keep in mind that my version of balance is different than yours might be. But regardless, here are a few tips from a lady who has her hands in a lot of pots at once:
Plan on treating this like you would, any other job.
If you are a parent :
When you go to work, you can assume that you’ll need childcare.
Respect the value of your professional position by not taking your child to client births or other meetings and planning ahead for the childcare you will need when committing to on-call availability.
The stress of not knowing if and when the sitter will arrive after a client requests your presence in labor does not promote balance in this work.
It is better to avoid taking on labor doula clients than to burn out quickly because trying to do this work adds so much anxiety to your life.
Work Hours :
Even when working from home, blocking out certain hours of your day for work will help you see results. Plan to hire extra hands to help with the young children during your work hours. A family member, a mother’s helper, a scheduled sitter…allowing yourself distraction-free work hours is essential.
Whether it is a clean 10 am – 2 pm block, Monday through Friday or 8 am – 9:30 am, then 1 pm – 3 pm, then 8:30pm-10pm Monday through Thursday or some other set of hours…create consistency with when you work.
Your family will adjust to your schedule and you will come to appreciate the predictability of knowing exactly when you can tackle certain tasks. Establishing this consistency and creating boundaries around your work time (excluding on-call client needs) will help keep things balanced.
Accept that the intensity of starting, growing, and working your own business will require a lot of energy in the beginning. It is both freeing and demanding, to be your own boss. And if it were easy, everyone would do it.
You have to keep showing up, giving of yourself. You have the tenacity that this takes, but you will have to choose to use it.
Doing this work is amazing and rewarding, and also…work.
So often, I see Doulas looking for ways to build a business without seeing changes in their stay-at-home-parent lives, or college student lives, or other 40 hour per week work lives.
Choosing to take on the responsibility of a professional doula will change some things in your life. Be open to this reality and remember these tips that can help you maintain the balance you need.
Kristyn Blocher, Doulas Northwest, Owner
ProDoula, Director of Training & Development