Some days I feel like superwoman. Meetings with clients, CHECK. Kids are fed, happy and laundry is in the dryer, CHECK. Project finished ahead of deadline DOUBLE CHECK!
Then there are days like today. Days when, no matter what you do, your sweet mama voice is just not getting through to those two little devils, I mean sweet peas. While I don't always bring along my 3 & 5 year old to business functions, occasionally it's unavoidable.
These are the days where that little bug of self doubt creeps up inside me. Did I do the right thing by my kiddos today, my clients, my husband? If every obligation gets only 10% focus, are you really getting things done?
Yes, probably. Efficiently, probably not. Does efficiency always mean success, and furthermore does inefficiency always mean failure. Working parents struggle with this dilemma on a daily basis and for our family, day care just wasn't a fit. So how do you juggle making sure you are raising two grounded, patient (sometimes) and happy children while growing your brand as effectively as possible.
1. Build Relationships
During consultations I often talk a little about my background, my qualifications and how I ended up working for myself. This very summarized version of my life story also eludes to the present reality that A. I have my hands in many projects B. My children are young, and C. My husband and I balance our family and our businesses simultaneously. This builds trust between myself and my client as well as gives enough background that makes the rare reschedule or child-assistant-in-tow a little less unexpected.
2. Be Honest
Life happens. This is when you let your client/boss/collaborator/fill-in-the-blank be the decision maker. Try something similar to this:
YOU: " A small hiccup appeared in my schedule for our meeting, I'd love to give you undivided attention so if there is another time in the next few days you are available I'd love to reschedule. If this is the only time that works for you though, would you be comfortable if my daughter/son/etc accompanied us during our appointment?
3. You Aren't Above Bribery
Good old fashioned bribery is highly debated topic in today's crunchy parenting universe. But a momma (or daddy) occasionally has to use the tools that are available to them. Always have a small stash of Target clearance bin finds ready to rock and roll. Coloring books, activity sheets, small puzzles, whatever works. Just make sure it's something interesting that they usually don't get to play with at home.
4. Say NO
You don't have to take on every client and every project that comes your way. Saying no is a skill that some of the most successful people have nailed down. Try this: " While I love your business model, and feel like working with you would be beneficial for us both, I don't think this is the right fit for me at this time. I'd love to keep in contact and check in with one another in the next few weeks/month/quarter and see if there is something we could work out/collaborate on". This emphasizes that you value their time and their project enough to understand it may not be in THEIR best interest to sandwich in-between your other obligations, without eliminating the possibility of a future opportunity.
5. TIME OUT
Often times those working hours away feel like a break, but they aren't. Your mind and your body are working and the pressure is still there, only in place of motherhood (or fatherhood) responsibilities, its work related tasks at hand. Find time to do NOTHING or something that you find enjoyable OUTSIDE of family and career.
Without my husband and business partner's support, the balancing act would be much more difficult. We share all the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, parenthood, life, oh and google calendars. Our schedules are mapped out and color coded. And when that pressure is looming, I let him know exactly whats going on and how he can help. If you don't ask, you definitely won't receive.
7. Your Kids Love You
They are watching you kick ass right now. You're taking names during the day(and night) and cooking organic veggies for dinner. Remember that, children work best around a routine, and being a business owner can be random. Use that randomness in your favor by making it normal. Give lots of hugs, kisses and reassurance. Treasure the time you can devote to only them, and maybe, just maybe, they'll thank you in speech one day for inspiring them to start that multimillion dollar start up ;)
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