Life + Work Balance :: Terrica Skaggs - Part II

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

wedding planner in savannah georgiaTerrica Skaggs is the owner of Fabuluxe Inc, an event planning firm in Georgia and the co-founder of iWed. She is more importantly a loving wife to her husband and mother to three young children, ages 6, 4 and 18 months. In this interview, she shares about balancing family and the demands of her company while working from a home office, and a husband who is away most of the time for his job.

You recently left a comment on The Smart Planner stating that you get irritated when wedding planners play the mom card as an excuse as to why they can't do something.  Can you explain a bit what you meant by that?

Definitely, this is an area I am really passionate about.  It's really easy to defiantly declare "I don't have time for (fill in the blank) because I am a mother with three kids".  I make time for networking, blogging, learning, and reading because it pays the bills.  I also make time for playing, reading bedtime stories and running in the park, because it pays the heart. I never use my children as an excuse as to why I can't do something.  It's like using motherhood as crutch. My children and husband aren't liabilities or casualties of my hard work; they are my motivation for it.  It is your job as a wedding planner to manage time, manage people and manage their money.  So to say that you don't have time for networking or blogging or expanding or developing your business means that you aren't that great of a planner and should probably reevaluate your career choice.  I know that sounds harsh, but you are asking people to pay you to do all of the things you say you don't have time for.  If you can't plan your work hours to maximize your return, how can you effectively plan someone's wedding?

I really believe that your business is just like one of your children.  All of the parenting books talk about the investment you need to make in your children's lives.  If you put minimal time in, you will get minimal out and it will show.  This goes for your business as well.  Make time for that specific child (your business) and then you can incorporate it into your family.

Part of being able to handle family life and a business, is not having the entourage mentality you wrote about earlier.  Being pregnant, my husband overseas, and with a stream of weddings to work on, I knew I needed help.  If you have kids and a steady business flow or high maintenance clients, you have to get some help.  Not an entourage, but an actual team that you can delegate actual responsibilities to.  You have to get over yourself and any misconceptions you have about what you have to personally do or you'll never grow.  You'll always be stressed and never strike a balance.

I am all about working smarter, not harder.  Again, the parenting books always tell you that your kids should see you reading and writing, so when they are reading or working on kindergarten homework, I am at the table with them writing in my notebook or reading a business book.  It allows me to kill two birds with one stone.  I actually write out my blog posts by hand during these times and then type them up later.  It is easier and faster for me to do it this way. 

What areas do you feel you need to improve on as far as finding or maintaining life and work balance?

I need to improve on everything!  While I am the queen of schedules and have those in place, they can get thrown off so easily.  All it takes is that monkey wrench of a sick kid or a major appliance breaking and everything is out the window.  I am still learning to delegate more and outsource more things.  Your time is worth so much more than it costs to outsource certain tasks and you can never buy back those missed moments with your children.

I also want to be the type of woman my daughter grows up to be or the type of woman my sons grow up to marry, so I really try to keep my priorities straight about family and business and not be so focused on my company that I don't have time for people.  I can't let their dad be gone and their mom be gone too when she's right here in the house.  Sometimes I will write down ideas and come back to them later during work hours, so that I don't interrupt my time with my kids.

It's also important to take time for yourself, and I am learning this in small ways.  Yesterday I laid on my bed and listened to the white noise app on my iPhone and fell asleep to the sound of the Amazon rainforest.  It was so relaxing.  Other times, I will get a facial or just go for a walk and try not to think about work or my kids or anything important.  So often, between taking care of our businesses, our kids and our husbands, we forget to focus on ourselves.  Without taking care of ourselves though, we can't function.

Click here to read Part I of our conversation with Terrica on Life + Work Balance.  Become a Smart Planner by subscribing in a reader or via email so that you don't miss out on any of our future Life + Work Balance conversations.

{Photo by Anna and Spencer Photography}

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