Secrets to Thriving as a Mom and Entrepreneur
If you want something done, you should give it to a busy mom. I’m typically not one to subscribe to clichés, but that statement is absolutely accurate.
Many women question themselves, unsure that they have what it takes to handle being a mom and running a business. I can tell you from personal experience that the answer is yes!
As a mother of four girls, I began my entrepreneurial journey in the nonprofit and event management sectors. I juggled the responsibilities of growing and running a business, which brought with it major functions such as black-tie events, golf tournaments, boat rendezvous, and holiday parties, with the typical “mom” stuff: dance practice, soccer games, trick-or-treating, book reports, and birthday parties.
I’m now an entrepreneur in a different field, and my daughters are grown. I’ve faced hardship, but I’ve gained strength from the support of my family and friends.
Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. Try being a mom and an entrepreneur, and your job suddenly requires you to be superwoman. It’s not easy, but with the right attitude and the proper guidance and support, it’s definitely worth the ride.
Here’s some of my advice for other entrepreneur moms starting this glorious journey:
Credit Image: electrictuesday on Flickr
1. Plan Like Crazy
Credit Image: electrictuesday on Flickr
Throughout my career and my daughters’ lives, being incredibly organized was the only way to juggle my commitments without my children or my business suffering. Establish a long-term plan and meticulously coordinate the day-to-day. Don’t rely on your brain to remember everything.
Before starting your own business, do your homework and make sure that you have good communication and a solid understanding with your significant other. Timing is everything, and having a thought-out plan can make or break your success. Are you just starting your family? Do you plan on expanding it while running your business? Who’s going to take care of the kids when you aren’t available? These are all things you need to determine when contemplating starting a business as a parent.
Whether you’re married or a single mother, scheduling work events, meetings, soccer games, school events, and parent-teacher conferences requires flawless coordination. Have a family calendar for carpooling, mealtime duties, and household chores. You, your spouse, and your kids have to work as a team, and that requires getting everyone on the same page.
2. Find Your Support System
Credit Image: voyagevixen2 on Flickr
When you’re running a business, your relationship with your significant other is going to be challenged because of the added responsibilities. Your free time disappears, and your social life can quickly become nonexistent. But make an effort to keep your friends close and seek their support.
When my father had a stroke, my life came to a screeching halt, but my responsibilities didn’t disappear. I rallied my friends, family, and co-workers, and they helped me get through it. Obstacles are never planned, and they can have serious negative consequences for you and your business. It’s imperative to have a system in place that will pick up for you at a moment’s notice.
Whether it’s a partner who can take on additional household tasks, family members who are willing to babysit, or a friend with a shoulder to cry on, take advantage of any support you have.
3. Get Your Kids Involved
Credit Image: Tim Pierce on Flickr
As a parent, it’s your job to give your kids love and care, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything for them. Because I was often busy, my girls helped one another and learned to be more independent. They changed diapers, helped each other with homework, and gave one another rides to school when they were old enough to drive.
Even when they’re young, you can enlist your kids’ help and get them involved with your business. From a young age, my daughters were eager to stuff envelopes, hang posters, and collect tickets during events. Just because you’re working doesn’t mean your family can’t spend time together.
4. Bring Laughter and Fun Into Your Home
Credit Image: cheriejoyful on Flickr
You want to be a nurturing and attentive mother, but you also need the satisfaction, pride, and paycheck that come from excelling at your job. This can lead to stress and guilt, but don’t let those negative emotions take over. Kids are resilient, and they’ll be much more supportive if their household is a happy one. Try to leave work problems at work; come home to your family with a fresh mind.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Credit Image: Unique Hotels on Flickr
When you’re a mom, luxuries like reading a magazine or using the bathroom in peace go out the window. Your kids’ crises — boyfriend problems, bad grades, not getting picked for the school play — take precedence. When you’re a business owner, you have one more baby to take care of.
I remember bumping into a friend who asked how I was doing. At the time, I had a bad toothache, but there was absolutely no time that week to go to the dentist. At that moment, I realized that everyone and everything else comes first when you’re a mom and a businesswoman.
Too many women invest all their mental and physical energy in their families and careers, completely neglecting their own needs. Whether you need to hit the gym or take a hot bath with a glass of wine, make time for you. Your happiness and productivity depend on it.
Being a mom is hard — especially when running a business. You’re a teacher, psychologist, referee, chauffeur, and chef, and no matter how hard you try to be perfect, you won’t be.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up your business dreams. They won’t negatively affect your children. On the contrary, my ambition, leadership skills, and multitasking have rubbed off on my daughters. I raised four strong, confident women with kind hearts and a sense of social good. One of my daughters and I now run a business together. Looking back, the entrepreneurial spirit is one of the best gifts I could have given my girls.
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