Whether you are an out or in home working mother, it is very important to understand and incorporate balance in your daily routine. For all you women out there juggling your career, your mommy/stepmom-world, your household and your (re)marrige, this article is for you. I like to call us “mompreneurs.”
Living, working and being a woman in the 21st century, I wanted to do some research on the subject of women in the workforce and the “superwoman syndrome” as I like to call it. During the 1950′s and early 60′s, no more than 20 to 30% of mothers were employed outside the home. Most of the women who worked at that time pretty much “had to” for various reasons (i.e., primarily poor women, etc.). In the late 60′s and early 70′s, large amounts of women began to enter the workforce. That is where the juggling act began to come into play. By the late 80′s, 70% of mothers were also employed outside the home (statistics obtained from www.ucg.org).
Today, moms are doing it all. They are not only moms, but stepmothers, entrepreneurs and employees all at the same time. As you can imagine, with that comes a lot of stress. Packed as my life is at times, I understand that in the world we live in today, this is not out of the ordinary. For some of us, the challenge seems to lie in learning the art of balance. Personally, the first step in finding the balance you need is to acknowledge that you cannot do it all. Lowering your expectations is key. It’s fine to have dreams and goals and to work toward them but don’t expect that you have to lose yourself in the process.
My five step plan to balance has worked for me in my busy life as a mompreneur and I would like to share it with you readers in hopes that instead of stressing about how you are going to get it all done, you can begin to apply balance which will make your life less stressful in your career and your (re)marriage. Lots of marriages become stressed because of the inability to master the balancing act being a mompreneur requires.
Diane’s Five Step Plan for Balance:
1. Set your priorities. Your first priority should always be your marriage. Consult and include your spouse. Both you and your partner need to be on the same page when it comes to all things in your marriage, but especially if you are a mompreneur. Communicating your goals, sharing your dreams and supporting one another is crucial. Being a mompreneur along with a wife can clash if you and your spouse are not in agreement on subjects like money, time away from family, travel, etc. Running a successful business and having a successful family life takes more than just support, it requires sacrifice from everyone in the family. Communicating and involving (if you can) your spouse will help him understand your plans for not just you, but for what you are trying hard to accomplish for the bettterment of your family.
2. Support Systems: It is very important as a mompreneur to have back-up support. As a business owner, there are times when I get a call from a client that might need me that day instead of the next when their normal appointment was scheduled. Therefore, because of the nature of my business, I may have to juggle somethings around. It is always good to know that I can call on one of my soccer moms to grab my son and take him to practice for me and I, of course, can return the favor at a later date. It’s also good to know that I can pick up the phone and call my husband and have him handle dinner plans, homework and laundry duty that evening for me so that I can take care of my clients needs. This type of situation doesn’t happen very often, but if it does, I have put my support system in place so that I can juggle without guilt.
3. Time Management: I don’t know about you, but to me, there is never enough hours in the day for me to get done what I want and need to get done and this leads to losing ourselves as I stated above. Therefore, finding time for socialization, spiritual needs, mental, emotional and personal care can get pushed aside. Condense your time and make sure you make time for yourself and others that matter to you.
4. Get Organized: Your work is a part of who you are. If you are disorganized in your work, you personally will feel disorganized. Calendar things in advance to avoid double-booking (i.e., make sure your children’s extra-curricular activities are on your calendar in advance of appointments so you can at the least make sure those are not missed); if you are a stay-at-home working mom, get your children on a good schedule so that your business time is not interrupted; have control over your workload. Don’t take on more than you can handle at any given moment; keep your financial situation in mind before you make big changes. Discuss those changes and financial situations with your spouse. Don’t wait until the last minute to spring it on your husband. And, if you have too much on your plate at the moment you are asked to take on another project, learn to say no! It’s okay to step back a bit, regroup and it’s okay to say no!
5. Lower your expectations: Always keep in mind that on any given day there are going to be trade-offs that you have to make when being a mompreneur. There are going to be days when your focus for that day is going to have to be on your children and/or your spouse (i.e., due to illness, school events, etc.). When those situations occur, you may have to decide to make up your work at the end of the day – this is one of the trade-offs. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your career won’t be either.
Being a mompreneur takes sacrifice but keep in mind that it is not your whole life. Take time to consider each decision you make when it comes to how those decisions might affect your family. Be flexible and never forget that you have to take care of yourself. You are not superwoman. Remember that guilt, pressure and frustration will rear its ugly head and you will have to be prepared to balance. You can thrive and balance ladies. Lastly, I want to emphasize again the importance of quality time with your family. Plan a vacation. There is always going to be housework, duties to take care of and stress involved in being a mompreneur. Take time to replenish and renew yourself and your family. Vacations, even small ones, are great avenues to strengthening your relationships.
Peace & Blessings,