The Very Ill 1099 Mom
I have the flu.
It's been an entire year since I had this bug, and I almost (not quite) forgot about how horrible it felt. If I was in a traditional work setting, my kids would be in school or daycare, and I could possibly call in sick to work. I would snuggle down in my bed, listening to some music or catching up on episodes of Iron Chef or my favorite SyFy shows.
Unfortunately, I am my own boss. There is no one to call in sick to. Clients wait for their promised articles and social media promotion, and readers anticipate blog posts. There is no one to "cover" for me. The kids, who started their new homeschool year Monday, are in the house with me. And while my daughter can cook and my husband can do diapers and lessons, the kids almost always come crying and screaming to me when they fight, get hurt, or need to cuddle.
If this is a familiar situation, you may be wondering how to cope, actually take some time to recover, and stay on top of your small business. Here are some tips for keeping it together:
1. Expect to fail. Yes, something (possible many somethings) will have to wait. Maybe you won't meet a client expectation or your laundry will mold one day longer. Perhaps you'll have to miss that hour-long phone call with your sister or need to tell the kids that there is no trip to the park. Understand that this isn't a normal thing, and you'll be back to your accepted level of achievement shortly.
2. Rest. Yeah, it's tough, but if you can sneak even a 25-30 minute nap in once or twice during your day, it will be helpful. Use the time the kids are napping to snuggle with them and catch a few winks. Pretend like you've just had a baby and are following the age-old advice of "sleep when the baby sleeps" -- even if you blew that advice off like I did. Avoid the temptation to stay up late watching TV or playing Angry Birds like you normally would. Sleep!
3. Ask for Help. Sometimes, those around us want to assist, but they just don't know how. Imagine living with a 1099 Mom: she does everything, is efficient, loves to work, and runs the show. Even if this is not how you see yourself, this may be how your kids and spouse feel about you. Now imagine that same super-mom is down with illness. Where can they comfortably step in? Give gentle guidance to your loved ones on what you would like to see done in your illness. They are perfectly capable of helping, but they need to know that it's OK to take over your carefully guarded domain for a bit. Who knows? Maybe this is the starting point to handing off some of your duties on a permanent basis!
4. Communicate. Finally, it's essentially that you don't assume anything. Clients don't know why you aren't in the office today. Family members are worried because you haven't been on Facebook all day. While you are entitled to your privacy (please don't send an auto-reply that you are coughing up snot), you would be wise to alert anyone who is counting on you that you are taking a brief medical leave -- especially if it will be longer than a day. Less detail is preferred, but be efficient in your message.
Have you recently had to juggle the task of being a small business guru while recovering from an illness? Maybe you constantly struggle with some form of physical disability or long-term ailment. We would love to hear how you manage!
*Photo by jasleen_kaur via Flickr