Managing Motherhood & Multiple Businesses
Hint: The Secret Lies in Not Caring About What Others Think, Just the Health, Joy and Quality Time with Your Family
Full Disclosure: I'm writing this with Minions playing the background and being joyfully interrupted multiple times by my daughter. I am not a perfect mom. I don't have it all figured out. But, there are some things I've learned that have made all the difference in helping me be a good and present mom and also, a successful multiple-business-owner.
There are 5 rules I have learned on how to be a present mom and successful multiple-business owner.
And if I'm being honest, they're really simple and easy.
I remember being pregnant and feeling like I had to either be a stay-at-home mom or a full-time working mom. There wasn't much discussion on how to be something in the middle, which is what I wanted.
But that's because there's no clear formula on how to do it, you have to figure it out yourself. That's the bad news.
The good news is that I'm sharing with you how to figure that out a little sooner and easier than I did.
If you are a multiple (or single) business owner and expecting mom, and I want to say first off, ”Congratulations!“ Seriously, your life is about to get way better. You're going to have new challenges, but don't let anyone scare you. You can learn how to navigate them gracefully, just stay focused on what really matters. Here's my first tip for keeping focus:
1. Create An Ideal Week
Read carefully: An ideal week is not your real-life agenda. An ideal week is an idea of if everything went perfectly, what would you want your weekly schedule to look like. This is not a measurement of perfection. This is a guide for if things go great, you know how to utilize your time best.
Get out some paper, your planner or iCal, and map out every single day Sunday to Saturday from when you wake up to what you eat to your office hours, to ideal play times with your kids, etc.
New mamas, I would encourage you to draft something, but don't worry about finalizing anything until about 3-6 months postpartum or after your maternity leave. Having a baby will change your life, and, you may completely change your mind on everything once you meet your little darling. Give yourself permission and freedom to work through the feelings for a few months before deciding anything.
One thing to make sure to include is some sort of self-care item daily and weekly. This could be a 5-minute meditation each day and three workouts a week—keep it simple, realistic, but exciting enough.
2. Get Reliable Childcare
OK, listen mama. Even if you want to be a part-time work-at-home mom, if you want to continue or grow your business, you cannot build an empire on nap time alone. Please trust me on this.
I remember reading mommy bloggers saying that they make six-figures blogging while little Johnny naps, and I just don't believe it...unless their income is solely affiliated and automated and they have someone(s) working for them also.
Don't get mystified, get real. You need time to focus 100% and give yourself and your clients/customers your best work. You may be able to get some emails done during nap time or write a blog post while they watch Minions—hello!—, but don't base your office hours on it. And reliable (reliable) childcare is a must. Not just for your work, but for your sanity.
For us, I have Hadley at a school that's part of a church near us for three days a week. That gives me about 20-24 hours a week of dedicated office hours. During a hustle season or when I need a little more time for shipping or consulting work days, we have a several great babysitter options who I books weeks and weeks in advance.
Go ahead and start including childcare costs in your budget, keep it in mind for your costs in pricing too.
Paying someone else to allow me to work created a huge shift in my pricing mindset.
3. If You Didn't Have Systems Before, Let's Chat
If you do not have a Business Playbook, email and contract templates and clear workflows for all client/customer relations, then I highly suggest you get on the waiting list for Editor's Course. It's my five-month program for getting your business and life together, and it's always an honor to have expecting or new mama's in the community. We've had many EC Babies (babies born during a program) and the mamas are always grateful for the program and my entire month on systems.
You need these things—everyone needs these things if you want your business to not just run smoothly, but grow.
If you are catching me at a time when Editor's Course is not available—program registration is only open twice a year—here are a few books I recommend to get you started:
And if you are a mama, I highly recommend these as audiobooks. I love listening to books and podcasts on my way back from dropping Hadley off at daycare, helps me get into a business mindset before officially starting my day.
4. Schedule Quality Time
I must be honest, if you do not schedule quality time, it will not happen. I have to have time blocked in my calendar either for an activity with Hadley like swim lessons or a trip to the museum or just blank space in my days, I'll just call it playtime where I cannot schedule anything, but focus on quality time with her. If it's not in my calendar, I'll just fill it up or forget to really set and accomplish that intention to be present with her.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are my full days with her, but even during those stay-at-home-mom days, I try to keep designated hours in my schedule for us to have quality time. Those are the days I get to keep up with house and ranch chores and do a lot of cooking, which she does with me, and those moments I am of course present and with her; but, I still like to schedule time to leave the laundry alone and just play with chalk outside or take her somewhere special.
My friend Jessica does things differently by going on mini vacations with each of her kids which I think it amazing, something I'd love to do when Hadley gets older.
It really does not matter the how, but it does matter to schedule and commit to designated quality time with your baby or children. Having it planned will give you so much more freedom.
5. Redefining Grace
Emily Ley once said, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” I think that is so beautiful and true. It's not about doing things perfectly as a mom and business owner. We can drive ourselves mad trying to accomplish all the right goals and do all the right things that we miss the good stuff. (See an entire tangent on that here.)
However, sometimes I think we skew this phrase to avoid responsibility.
I once had a hire miss a big project deadline by two weeks. When I asked her about her tardiness, she said she hadn't been feeling motivated and chose 'grace over perfection' in getting the story to me. I don't think that was the 'grace' Emily had in mind.
When you are a mother, your first commitment is to your family. But dually as a business owner, you have a responsibility to do what you say you are going to do for your customers, clients, and co-workers.
Make realistic commitments. In business, your fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants workflow that may have worked fine before isn't going to fly now. When you used to be able to pull all-nighters to get things done, you're now at the hands of one bad nightmare to ruin that plan. Give yourself more time, maybe even double the time you think you need to accomplish a client's project or get a report back to your boss.
Where the grace comes in is giving yourself permission to be flexible on personal business commitments like launches or releasing new content—a situation where others are not relying on you.
For example, I wanted The Creative Well to launch on my birthday this summer—May 24th. It didn't go live until August 9th. Why? Well, we had a health scare, a close family member had a tumor we weren't sure was cancerous for a while, a death in the family...and with all of those emotions, I wanted to just be with family this summer and not commit to a new project I wasn't ready to consistently support just yet.
And I could do that because the project was completely dependent on me. There were no contracts or projects within in that to complete for anyone, and the guest co-hosts didn't have anything to lose with the delay—they just had to keep the secret longer.
Automate, have a backup plan, troubleshoot. You can't do it all alone. If you haven't already, I highly recommend you start looking for some help, even just a part-time intern or maybe an independent contractor to help you out with some things that may be tedious or more complicated than what you want to have on your plate.
Start with automating. Like I said before, templates are your best friend. If you can't hire, get some email templates started.
But if you can, hire an assistant, intern, someone who can help you if something were to happen like baby gets the flu and you need someone to finish up a project.
Plan ahead and be very liberal in your planning ahead.
One final thing. You are the mama, and mama knows best. In the end, you have to decide what kind of mother you want to be and what kind of work life and family life you want. No one can tell you what is 'the right thing' to do, only you can decide that. Even some of the things I've suggested...if they don't work for you, ignore them.
The best thing I truly think you can do as a working mom is to be discerning as to what you and your family need most, independent from what others think. When you put what matters most first and ignore the rest, you really can't fail. And when you have a mindset like that, to me, that's when motherhood and this whole juggle becomes more joyful.
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*Note: Registration is only open twice a year and can only be accessed by alum referral or directly contacting me here.