According to Women Business Owner Statistics, there are more than 9.4 million businesses owned by women in the US, employing nearly 7.9 million people and generating $1.5 trillion in annual revenue. Many of these businesses are run by women who are also mothers. And as we all know, motherhood is a full-time job as well. In honor of Mother’s Day – which we celebrated last weekend – we offer all the hardworking mompreneurs of the world a few work life balance tips.
Needless to say, running your own business is never easy and neither is raising a family. Many “mompreneurs” face a lot of difficulties and challenges on a daily basis, especially when it comes to balancing their families and their businesses.
It’s OK to Say “No”
Learning how to say “no” is one of the most important skills that all mompreneurs need to learn in order to find the holy grail of work life balance. Think of how many times you said “no” to your kids. So why is it so hard to do the same thing when it comes to your business associates?
According to Katharine O’Brien, a postdoctoral research associate at the Baylor School of Medicine, women who turn down requests from their bosses or colleagues are more likely to feel guilty.
“Women typically are regarded as nurturers and helpers, so saying ‘no’ runs against the grain of what might be expected of them,” O’Brien told the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
But you have to be realistic. Agreeing to everything and entertaining every request you get from business partners and clients is simply ineffective. You’ll end up having way too much on your play and being overextended. Not only that but if you’re saying “yes” to everything, there’s a good chance that you are taking your work home with you on a very regular basis, which can really hurt your chances of establishing a quality balance between work and home life.
Have in mind that “no” doesn’t always mean “never.” Sometimes it just means “not today.” It’s all about getting better at prioritizing what’s important and managing your workload in a way that makes sense for you.
Get Better at Delegating at Home
You probably already know that one of the best ways to relieve stress as a small business owner is to delegate your work as much as possible.
So why wouldn’t you do the same at home as a mother? While many working moms can delegate at work, they find it hard to do the same at home. There is no reason for you to avoid dividing the load for household needs and child-caring, In fact, you should ask your family to be more involved and maximize whatever assistance you can get from your closest family members and friends.
If your children are old enough to take on chores at work, give them something to do.It’s a great way to teach them about responsibilities and it can help you a lot.
Aliza Sherman, co-author of “MOM, Incorporated: A Guide to Business + Baby” explains that “a lot of it is prioritizing, not trying to do everything at once. Another major piece of advice we give in the book is to ask for help and hire help, even if that means a babysitter, a maid or someone to cook meals,” adding that hiring a virtual assistant for business matters is a good idea as well.
Your good health should also be one of your top priorities if you are going to be juggling motherhood and running a business. That’s why you need to find ways to reduce stress, exercise more, eat well and stay healthy.
You might be asking: How do I find time to work out and cook healthy meals when I barely have time to spend with my kids?
This is the perfect time to realize that your day will never be long enough to get everything done. You will always be behind with something, and that’s totally fine.
But taking care of your healthy should still be a top priority and one that should not be ignored.
It’s possible too. You just need to be creative. Try working out with your kids. Rachel Steffen of Running Rachel, a stay-at-home mom, shares her experiences: “I struggled with finding time to work out alone without the kids. I quickly learned that wasn’t always possible. I’ve embraced working out with my boys, and they see that Mommy is a strong woman who enjoys working out.”
Take “walking meetings” for work if they weather is nice instead of meeting at the office. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. Take 10 minutes every couple of hours and do some stretching and walk around the office.
These might sound like small acts, but they do go a long way when it comes to maintaining work life balance. You don’t have to run 20 miles a week to live a healthy life. Do what makes sense for you and make sure to prioritize healthy living, because it’s the best way to make sure that you’re going to have enough energy to handle life as a mom and business leader.
The Importance of Work Life Balance
When running a business and taking care of the family, mompreneurs can easily forget about themselves. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else either.
Find your peace in whatever makes you truly happy. Take a day or at least a few hours every now and then to forget work, get away from your kids and spend some quality time with yourself. Go to a spa, have drinks with friends, read a book – do anything that makes you happy and helps you to relax.
Everyone needs that little bit of “me time” every now and then to recharge their batteries. Remember that no matter how busy you are, you should never give up on finding time for yourself, because it will help you be a better mother and a better business owner in the long run.
Take Time to Reflect
When was the last time you actually took some time to reflect on your accomplishments? You really should. It’s not about patting yourself on the back, it’s about understanding your capabilities and providing the perspective needed to keep pushing forward.
“Write about your personal and professional accomplishments. If you’re stumped, clean out your work and personal email. Read through your Facebook or Instagram feed,” Elizabeth McGrory, a work/life sway strategist advises.
Take time to appreciate how far you have taken your business and how your family has grown and evolved over time as well. We recommend doing this in those dire times when you everything seems to be going wrong and you feel as if you’re struggling to be a business owner, mother or both. By realizing how far you’ve gotten and reflecting on what you’ve accomplished, you will be able to muster up the determination and strength you need to push ahead in the toughest of times.
“I can’t physically be at all six of my stores all the time, but Humanity is so efficient and convenient that I can easily manage all my locations from literally anywhere.”Troy Pugueda, Operations Manager