Happy Mother’s Day to all lovely mums and mums to be out there! To celebrate all mums who balance family life with running their own business, we asked fellow business mums for their survival tips on Twitter and LinkedIn and we’ve got some very inspiring and helpful insights to share with you.
Focus on yourself
There are many aspects of managing motherhood and business, but you are the most important element – so don’t forget to focus on yourself. It’s you who needs to be in control and happy first, so you can be there for everyone else who rely on you.
Caren Benstead from The Well School recommends starting the day with meditation, blocking out the world for 10 minutes so she can catch her breath before the hustle of three businesses and three children begins.
She is not the only one who believes in starting the day in the right way. “My saving grace in saving my sanity in juggling busy boys and a growing business is my morning routine. Once my boys are safely dropped at the bus, I take 30 minutes to reset out of ‘Mum mode’ and into ‘CEO mode’. 10 minutes of meditation using the calm app, 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes to list my top 3 priorities to get done today regardless of distractions. If I get those done, I have been productive even if there is a phone call from school!”, says health and happiness coach Ali.
“I know my values and their ranking. My wellbeing is number one and I mean physical, emotional and mental health. Number two is my own family and number three is everything and everyone that energizes me – my business, hobbies, friends, curiosity and development. I give help and I am ready to receive help. It’s a balance.” remarks leadership coach Zuzana Schwalb.
Separate work and family time
The separation of work and family time has been a slightly controversial one amongst business mums. Whilst some of the mums believe it’s necessary to keep them separate, others say that it’s not always possible and being overly worried about this can lead to feeling guilty.
Ali Anderson from Cake Me Up remarks that multitasking is not the best way to organise your time and more often that not it will leave you frustrated and exhausted. “Don’t try and multitask! Be present with your kids or with your work. It never accomplishes much and you end up feeling guilty trying to do both at the same time.”, says Ali.
“I think it works better when you dedicate time to family and time to work so you can give your best to each. Taking a conscious pause when switching between the two can also help you to be more focused on what you’re doing in each moment.” says Samantha Toon from Mind Brilliance.
Kaya La Roche has a different view: “I disagree about being entirely present at all times with children. Of course it’s best, but not always realistic and that is okay! I think it’s really important to not let the ‘mum guilt’ spiral and just be mindful and manage our time as best as possible.”
Finding balance between work and family time remains one of the key struggles for all working mums and it requires discipline to maintain. “Make time to do the things you love. I’ve been lucky enough to work from home for ten years. But you need good boundaries to separate your work from your home life. You can be hosting a conference call one minute and hanging out the washing the next”, recommends Claire Winter.
Manage your time
“Organisation and planning of time is key, including building in time for self”, suggest Kate and Nicola from Freelance Fundamentals.
The busy mum behind Rankin Rocks says: “As a mum of three it’s all about segmenting my time into chunks. I get an hour done before they wake up, when they are at nursery or in bed. I schedule all my marketing, make use of email automation for orders and the phone is away when spending time with my family.”
One incredible (and very busy) mum shared: “I’m a mum of 5 with two online businesses and I literally have to schedule every minute of the day. I swear by free printable and online planners and apps, particularly for meal, schedule and budget planning.”
“I organise my weeks and months into blocks – time on business, time with family and time for me. I don’t let myself feel guilty doing any of them and always give my full attention to each block of activity!” shared the business mum behind Calla Shoes. The same approach works for the busy mum running The Epsom Bakehouse who plans with time blocking and list writing, business or home-wise.
Outsource what you can
You don’t have to do it all. Take advantage of the help and tools available to make your life easier. Delegating just like you’d do in business – the cleaning, the gardening, the washing, the DIY to free up more time to spend with your children is what works well for the mum behind Jobhop.
She is not the only one who recommends delegating where possible and focusing on priorities. “Try and outsource what you can and focus on organising your time around what are your key priorities and how you can add the most value to your business. It’s very easy to just firefight at home and work, but taking time to plan will mean you have more impact at work and time at home”, suggests Emma, founder of Eagle&Fox.
Get your children involved
The business mum behind Tig Tag suggests that getting your children involved is a great way of getting them interested and motivate them for their own future success. “My children are entering their teens. I am sharing the journey of developing the business. Along side a full time job. Asking their opinion and valuing their help and support, showing that they can achieve anything when you dream big and work smart.”, she shared.
Taking a similar view, the mum from Gardens of the Sun takes her children with her wherever work takes her – last year buying gold from indigenous women, last month visiting community diamond mines.