In the past 6 months of my life, my business has taken a bit of a pause while I focused on welcoming my second child into this world. And while I am preparing for my return to work, I am again reminded by the challenges I experienced combining my own business with life as a mother the first time around. A challenge I have heard many of my clients, and many fellow business mamas, struggle with as well. Here are five tips that I am reminding myself of as I start up again. I hope they will prove useful for you too!
1 – Set your ideal schedule
Protect your time as a mum, and your time as a business woman. Set your schedules; including the times when you are available for communication with clients or your team, when you work by yourself and when you want to be available for your kids. Of course, you can be flexible if needed. But creating a schedule does help protect your time and establish boundaries if you set them BEFORE clients come in with their own agendas.
Oh, and while you are at it, don’t forget to add in some me-time. For example, you could extend your lunch time by 20 minutes for a daily walk outside – good for your brain and good for you, and thus also good for your kids and your clients!
2 – Be purposeful about routines and traditions in your life
Each day may be different as a business owning mum. But routines can give your days some predictability, which keeps your working memory free to do other things. Like making a real connection with your child during the morning rush hour without forgetting to make your little one’s snack. Routines also help your kids know what to expect. While it may not seem that way when you tell your kids to put on their shoes for the 20th time that morning, kids generally do like predictability and most kids will have fewer temper tantrums when they know what to expect.
Traditions are also great – both for your family as well as in your business. They can help you create better connections between you and your family, or you and your team / clients. It also demonstrates important values. Traditions can be simple, like eating dessert at the weekend or starting your Monday together with your team and sharing your intentions for the week. They can also be more complex, like making an activity jar at the start of the summer holidays with your kids each year, or sending all your clients birthday wishes.
3 – Learn how to ask for help!
I know you’ve heard this one before and are thinking “duh!”.
No, but really.
Ask. For. Help.
So as an experiment this week, ask anyone and everyone to help you with something. Maybe start with something small and see the effects. Start with your co-parent, but don’t stop there. Family, friends, neighbours, the mums and dads of your kids’ friends. We all need help sometimes! And you’d be surprised how helpful others turn out to be when you just ask.
And remember: it takes a village to raise a child. You were never meant to do it alone. The same can be said about your business. You can be a very skilled business-woman, but you can’t do it all and that is okay!
And if a fellow mum asks you for help, make sure to pitch in sometimes too 🙂
4 – Lose the “mum-guilt”
Not so easy, but necessary. You do not need to feel guilty about your parenting choices.
Of course there are limits to what choices you can make. You should not be hurting your children (physically or emotionally). But beyond that, there is not just ‘one way’ to do things.
So I repeat: You DO NOT need to feel guilty about your parenting choices. Or for your choices in business for that matter. What works for you may not work for others, and vice versa. That is okay. You (and the other parent(s) in your child’s life) decide who you want to be, how you want to raise your kids and how involved you will be with their lives. Show your kids what you’re worth, what your values are, just by being you – whether that means you are a full-time business woman or a full-time mother or anything in between – you get to decide.
5 – Good enough is good enough
Maybe it follows from the previous, but you just can’t do it all and that is totally fine. You are not perfect. And you shouldn’t even want to be. Kids learn from seeing and so they need to see you fail, get up, lose your temper and apologise. They need to see you cope with disappointment, anger, grief, etc. So go on and be an imperfect mum, because that is exactly what your kids need.
And while you are at it, you can model the same to your clients. No matter who they are, our society places too much emphasis on production, meeting goals and perfection. So when you are able to, show them how you balance, prioritise, admit your faults – they may not always appreciate it in the moment but they may learn a thing or two.
By Jet Sichterman, Embracing Horizons