Juggling a Business and Family Life: How I Keep the Balls in the Air
One of the biggest problems facing SuperMom entrepreneurs is finding balance between work and family life.
Unfortunately, this balance doesn't exist!
There is no such thing as a perfect balance, but for 24 years I have owned and operated the Bargains Group, 13 of them while being a parent. It's not always easy–being an entrepreneur or a mother is difficult on their own—but I have established a roadmap over the years that have helped my business flourish while allowing me to be a SuperMom to my two beautiful children.
For me it's always been about working smarter, not harder.
From the beginning, it's important to be realistic and to know your own limits. Knowing what I'm able to accomplish, and staying within those boundaries is a big part of how I've been successful. Even my kids know what they can expect of Mom when she's home. I can take the time to make them dinner each night, but they know that settling for take-out or leftovers means I can commit more one-on-one time to them. It's helped them grow to be more like Mom; to prioritize and figure out what's really important to them.
I also need support from the right people. My assistant has to be more organized than I am, making sure to schedule everything down to the minute. If I don't have reminders for me to eat lunch and dinner; I'll work right through the day. At home, I'm not a great cook—and I'm okay with that, it's not one of my strengths—so I have an amazing fulltime nanny to help run the house when I'm at work, but to take all the thought out of my routines at home. If my husband didn't leave my lunch on the counter in the morning I wouldn't even think to take one! In order for me to get through my day I need dedicated people doing what I'm weak at, so I can take care of what I do best!
Living efficiently is a must. I make sure to schedule a conference call every Saturday afternoon because while I'm watching my kids are at swimming lessons, it's the perfect time for me to get some work done. At most social gatherings I'm not just meeting people and making friends, but making contacts, marketing myself and leveraging my business all at once. Why would I take a night off when I can have fun and promote my business all at once? When I'm in bed at night I like to know I've used every minute of my day as efficiently as possible. That also means I'm lucky if I get 4 hours sleep. I'm up at 6 for my son's hockey, and up until 2 taking care of work emails.
Above all else, work to live, don't live to work. I make sure that every year, without fail, I have vacation time scheduled with my family, and every Saturday night is date night with my husband! Even if we're just roaming around an all-night Walmart—and we have—I make sure we get enough time together to unwind. A trick that has helped me stay sane while working 80 hours a week is that I don't forward my emails to my blackberry, which lets me focus on my family when I am with them and not be distracted by the thousands of emails I receive each day.
You'll drive yourself crazy trying to find a balance between being and entrepreneur and a SuperMom, so realizing there is no perfect answer is the first step in managing the two. These are the tips that have worked for me, but it's important to find out what you need to manage your business and family life, and commit to working smarter, not harder