My dear fellow Momtrepeneurs....TGIF! Am I right?
It’s been quite a week transitioning our children’s learning to the home environment. Monday started well. I had schedules prepared for each child’s learning format and was ready to teach three children, tend to a toddler, cover every client need and build out bigger business plans all at the same time. By Tuesday afternoon I was losing my mind. The schedules were a nice thought of the past, all four children needed me at the same time every second of every hour and my business, well, let’s just say it was taking a fast and furious backseat to the needs of my family which, by the way, never leave my side!
By Wednesday morning, I finally realized I was setting very unrealistic expectations for myself and my children. I needed to loosen up, allow learning to occur more naturally and stagger their lessons to fit our schedule more reasonably. I also needed to fit in some “me” time throughout the day to do my own work.
As I sit here ready to begin my fifth day as a homeschool mom while still trying to run (and possibly expand) my own business, I wanted to share what I’ve learned on this journey so far:
1. Rely on your mom tribe.
Although we are stuck at home juggling our already busy schedules, plus homeschooling a brood of adorable kiddos, we have each other! No judgments or criticisms, just other moms who “get it” and can listen in a moment of need or a pursuit for sanity. Never hesitate to reach out to your tribe for mental, spiritual or professional support. While we are currently distancing ourselves from social environments, we truly are being pulled together figuratively. Having the opportunity to help one another is very fulfilling for any woman.
2. Set boundaries.
Be transparent and honest with your business partners and family about your current situation. While I agree that we don’t want our personal lives to interfere with our work, and vice versa, we are also facing an unprecedented time that is blurring those two worlds. This requires communication and flexibility from everyone. So far, everyone has been very understanding with my need for an extra day or two for an email response or phone call. Just be sure to remain in contact with your clients and communicate a realistic timeline under the new circumstances.
3. Prioritize your schedule.
First and foremost, pray. Even your family should come secondary to this first need that we all have. I recognize first-hand that this is easy to mix up, but it’s worth remembering that our spiritual health is so important to our success as wives, mothers and successful business women. Our families’ needs, however, do come in as a close second. Under the current circumstances, this can make our work schedules challenging; however, I recommend finding reliable people who can help you accomplish unfinished tasks during this unchartered, hectic time at home.
4. Build a professional network.
Whether your network is a formal organization or your own informal connections, having a group of people to turn to in moments of uncertainty or celebration is a valuable asset for anyone. Building your own business, especially, it is extremely important to build up a team around you that will support your successes and assist with your growth.
5. Get perspective about balance.
This is a huge area of opportunity for me, personally, as I can be extremely undisciplined about my work. I am a perfectionist by nature, especially as it relates to my own business, and can be extremely self-demanding; therefore, I have a very difficult time shutting off. This is likely the case for many momtrepreneurs out there. I recognize that this behavior can have negative affects on my family, especially as my children are more present right now. While the kids‘ presence is a gift and an opportunity for me to embrace, I have found myself more agitated and distracted. The lesson I’m learning, more slowly than I would like to admit, is that life will always throw us curveballs and, while a worldwide pandemic was not on my radar, it is a good opportunity to reassess and recalculate what makes for a successful balance in my life.
6. Be honest with yourself about limitations.
When you feel yourself drowning, as I did this past Tuesday, take a step back and breath. I realized I had gone too far with my self-inflicted expectations. No one is expecting anyone to have it all figured out right now. This is nothing to apologize for, rather a reality that we are all facing in the present moment. We just have to do what we can today and aim to be even better tomorrow.
So, as we continue to juggle our many responsibilities as moms and entrepreneurs, remain confident in your abilities, embrace your imperfections and love your kids in the moment.
As “they” always say, you’ll blink and they’ll be gone!