Being a mom is a full time job on it’s own. Throw owning your own business in there and the workload is multiplied! As a working mama myself I’m constantly inspired by women who own a successful business and still manage to be a good mom. I thought it would be fun to interview a few of the ladies who have inspired me in one way or another, and find out how they manage their business and still find time for their families. I asked the same question to all the moms and was so inspired by each and every one of their answers! See what they had to say below:
How do you “balance” having a family and running a business?
Although not always possible, I try to keep being a mom and being a business owner separate. When I can leave home to work and leave work to be at home, I am the most efficient business owner and mom. It is so important to be able to focus on the task at hand and be fully present wherever you are. When I am with my family, I try not to make business calls or check my email. I have a great nanny whom I love and an amazing team at work. When you have support systems that you trust in both sectors of your life, it becomes a little easier to balance your two lives.
My tip is to set goals and boundaries. Ask yourself what you want to achieve for your business and family and how much time you’re willing to give to each. I felt that when I didn’t do this, I just felt guilty all the time. When I worked, I felt guilty for being away from family. When I was with family, I felt guilty for not working. So I identified goals for my business, such as how many weekends will I allow myself to work, what are my goals for my business and how can I fit them in during business hours. For family, I asked myself how much time do I want to spend with them. So for example, picking them up from school and dinner time is a priority to me. For the most part, I aim to work while they are in school. This way, I can be present with work when I’m at work and present with my kids while I’m with them.
My favorite saying is “you can have it all, but not all at the same time”. I intentionally built my business around having a family. My family comes first. When I look back on my life, I want to be able to say that I was a room mom and I was at ballet recitals and field trips. Not that I missed all those moments because I was working. This means that I do not have a calendar booked full of clients. Instead, I strive to book projects that I am passionate about and that are worth the investment of time that takes me away from my family. For this reason, I only take on full service planning and design clients.
Everyone has to find what works for them. It’s easy to get burned out on being all things to all people. So first, set your priorities. Then filter all your commitments through what is most important. A few tips that have helped me:
1. I have to take care of “me” first. A few years ago, I was running myself into the ground. I always rationalized that other things were more important than taking time to exercise, having a proper diet, grooming, feeding my soul spiritually, etc. If I’m not healthy, I’m no good to anyone else. As women we stretch ourselves thin. But we have to put on the oxygen mask on ourselves first before we can help others.
2. Pre-plan your schedule. I have to be intentional about scheduling everything in my life – not only clients and meetings, but also device-free family time, date nights, bible study. If it’s blocked on my calendar it’s more likely to happen and not get taken away by all the never-ending demands of the day.
3. Limit networking and evening appointments. In Atlanta where I live, I could easily be at a networking event every night of the week. And I would never see my family. I had to set limits to networking while my kids are in school and to 1 night a week. This also means that I limit evening client appointments. I am able to set expectations with my clients from the start and when I do have evening appointments, I maximize the time by combining it with other meetings or networking events.
4. Avoid working at night. I know it’s so tempting once the kids are in bed, and the house is quiet to jump on the computer to get work done. But I would never have quality with my husband or get any rest. I’m not saying that I never work at night, but I do try to make it a habit to turn off at a certain time each night.
5. Remember why you work so hard. Everyone has their own path to find. For me being able to pursue my passion and be creative makes me feel fulfilled which allows me to be a better wife and mother. It brings me so much joy when my kids comment on how proud they are of me when they see my accomplishments. I hope that my daughters by looking at me have the confidence to pursue their dreams.
And finally, remember that some days are better than others. No matter how prepared or great of a planner you are, some days are just going to be hard. Some weeks the laundry stays in baskets and I don’t go grocery shopping. And other times we are running like a well-oiled machine and I feel like super mom. Remember to give yourself some grace and keep striving for the balance you want to have.
How inspiring are these ladies!? Seriously, so grateful for them and their amazing inspiration.
So now let’s chat. How do YOU balance being a working mom? Continue the conversation with me on Twitter with #letshaveaconversation.