By Emma Walker, The Mumpreneur’s Mentor
Being self-employed and being a mum is tough isn’t it. Can you just drop the forgotten P.E. kit at school? Can you just do a couple of loads of washing and sort dinner? Can you wait in for the parcel? You can do it can’t you because ‘you’re at home’.
As well as all the actual work stuff you want to get done. Setting boundaries for yourself and for those around you is so important so that you have the time to dedicate to the business stuff.
Juggling home, business and kids leaves us with lots of challenges and they can change depending on the age of your children. Here are some of the challenges and the ways that I’ve dealt with them having 13 (year 8), 7 (year 3) and 4 (pre-school) year old girls
Pre-School Aged Children
Whether you’ve got a newborn or 4 year old, this is an interesting age group to be trying to work with as this is where you will have small ‘pockets’ of time to work.
Everything you do will have to fit round naps as you can’t just leave them unattended to entertain themselves, especially if they are under 3 as they will just cause chaos and I dread to think what they would get up to – my kids are nuts and the madness they would get up to at that age, I just don’t want to think about it 😉
This is where you need to be really smart with your time and utilise the ‘pockets’ of time you have available or make use of childcare options.
This is what I did when all of mine were little:
- Think about morning and / or afternoon naps
- Family, nursery or childminder for couple of days a week to give you uninterrupted time to focus
- Working after they’ve gone to bed – you don’t want to do this every night though as that will lead to burnout
- Get partner or family to help for couple of hours on a weekend
Primary School Aged Children
Once your children go to school, you will enter a new world that can be a little overwhelming – homework, school events, after school clubs, trips, fundraisers, assemblies, PTA if you get involved, letters / parent portal are just a few of the things you’ll have to deal with.
The key for dealing with this age group is planning! While my eldest was at school (Reception to Year 4), this is what I used to do:
- Look at the school calendar at the beginning of the new school year to put in all known dates in my diary (trips, parents evenings, holidays etc) so that they were already blocked out
- As soon as we were home on the evening, I would go through her book bag to check if there were any letters. I would then action them straight away- whether that was to sign a consent form, put date in diary or anything else
- I would also check for homework and try to do it asap to get it out the way
- The book bag would then be put by the front door together with anything else they needed the following day (like PE kit, violin etc)
- We would lay out school uniform ready for the next day
Secondary / High School Aged Children
Once children move up to Secondary / High School, the homework steps up another level but there are still things you can do. They key is to get your child involved and make them accountable for organising themselves – obviously you’ll need to help them to begin with but the sooner you do it, the easier it will be for you.
The other thing you’ll have to content with is hormones, friendships and romance but every child is different and just go with what your child needs.
Three things I want to make crystal clear though …
- You deserve to have a successful, profitable business and not an expensive hobby. You deserve to be paid for what you do and to be paid fairly and not just what you think other people will pay. You deserve to thrive in your business and not just survive. I just wanted to remind you of that in case you needed to hear it today 😊
- Build a business that fits around your life and not a life that fits around your business. The best thing about being the boss and working for yourself is you get to make the rules and you get to create the business you want – so make sure you do!
- That voice in your head, the one that makes you doubt yourself and wonder what the heck you were thinking when you started all this, yes that one. You’re allowed to tell it to shut up or ignore it. You can do this. Just repeat that over and over to yourself whenever you start to question yourself. Keep repeating it until you believe it because self-belief is vital in helping you create that business you dream of
Emma Walker is the Founder of The Mumpreneur’s Mentor and her mission is to empower women with children to be smart, sassy and successful entrepreneurs. By ditching the overwhelm, side stepping the guilt and becoming the business owner they dreamt of being!