Anjali Jariwala of FIT Advisors and Mary Beth Storjohann of Workable Wealth have both run businesses and managed teams from home for years. But now, they have their toddlers in the house around the clock. Both are learning to juggle working and parenting full-time from home during the pandemic. Self-care, coping, and family relationships look very different than they did three months ago.
“I get spun up in my to-do list and things that need to get done, and I forget, most of that stuff probably doesn’t matter. I should sit down and read a book for fun. That’s the hard part — stopping. You have to be aware of your thinking and then make the conscious decision to stop the thinking.”
In this conversation, Anjali and Mary Beth reflect on how they’re navigating the day-to-day stress of parenting toddlers while continuing to run their businesses, and where they’re finding moments of joy.
ABOUT THE GUEST:
Mary Beth Storjohann is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and the founder of Workable Wealth, a financial education platform. She recently merged her virtual RAA with Abacus Wealth Partners and took on the role of Chief Marketing Officer, where she continues to manage the Workable Wealth brand. She is the mother of two kids, ages four and two.
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- Mary Beth and Anjali’s husbands are both essential workers, so they’re parenting solo during at least part of the day each day — while trying to juggle a full-time workload. Although they both work from home, they’ve never had to do it with the kids at home full-time as well.
- Both recognized early on that they would have to begin saying no to things at work. It simply wouldn’t be possible to pack eight hours of work into 4-5 hours each day. They prioritized the clients and projects who needed the most attention and asked the others for patience.
- The definition of self-care has changed dramatically for Mary Beth and Anjali. Now, it doesn’t feel like pampering or treating yourself — it’s 10 minutes alone in the backyard or a 30-minute home workout — and the effects don’t last nearly as long because they have to jump right back into the stress.
- Both Anjali and Mary Beth say their clients and colleagues have been very understanding. Everyone is working in this altered environment, so they understand if a toddler walks into a video call or if everyone is wearing t-shirts.
- Mary Beth has felt a lot of “mom guilt” — guilt around not spending enough time with her kids because she has to work, and fear that the kids will feel like she’s rejecting them. She and her husband had to talk extensively about how to communicate their work-life balance to the kids.
- Anjali and Mary Beth both made the decisions to bring in-home help back into their home in May, so they could have a few hours each day to focus on work.
- Anjali is recognizing that most of the expectations she has for her business are expectations she sets for herself, not things her clients are asking of her. Despite the nagging feeling that she’s missing something, everything is fine.
- Mary Beth and her husband have used the money they aren’t spending on travel and experiences to support small businesses in their community. Anjali and her husband have continued to pay their nanny.
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If you loved this episode, here’s another I know you’ll enjoy too! Episode 12: Why You Should Hire a Financial Planner with Mary Beth Storjohann
WORDS OF WISDOM
“In all of the other crises that have happened in our industry, no one was like, ‘and also, stay home with your children.’”
“I wrote down on a little whiteboard on my desk, ‘Will future me be annoyed that I said yes to this? If yes, say no.’”
“I feel like I’m always kind of working, because I have to try to fit in as many hours as I can, and my worry is that — how long can I possibly continue operating like this? At a certain point you just can’t, because you’re too burnt out. And there’s no outlet right now. You and I can’t get together and have a drink. We can’t have a spa day. So what does self-care look like in a pandemic environment?”
“I think self-care now just looks like those minutes that we get to ourselves, in some small form. And then you have to couple it with not being resentful. I recognize that that’s my self-care, and then I’m also like, ‘this sucks, that this is my self-care.’”
“I’ve realized — we have each other. All of the things that we think matter, that we need to get done, really just don’t matter. Maybe 10% of them do. I need to remind myself of that, because I get spun up in my to-do list and things that need to get done, and I forget, most of that stuff probably doesn’t matter. I should sit down and read a book for fun. That’s the hard part — stopping. You have to be aware of your thinking and then make the conscious decision to stop the thinking.”
“Usually I’d be like, ‘this is off my list, now on to this thing.’ And now I say, ‘I’m just going to go outside. We live right by the ocean, so I’m just going to go look at the ocean.’ … There’s all these things that we just would never make time for because we were always so busy managing everything and juggling everything. This has forced us to reassess what’s really important. Where should we be spending our time? If we take an extra 10 or 15 minutes to do something for ourselves, or not feel like we have to accomplish something, it’s actually OK, and we’re probably going to be better off.”
“Crisis tends to bring out the best in people. That’s when there are more charitable donations made, people come together, you’re much more in tune with what your neighbors need. I think that’s another self-care method: How can you help?”
“It’s important to recognize that it’s hard. Everybody is juggling a lot right now, and the rosy pictures you see on social media are probably not accurate. I’m great at social media, I can make everything seem smiley, and then I can cry behind the scenes for an hour sometimes.”