At Leaders in Heels, we’ve operated our team remotely since our inception almost a decade ago. Our staff, partnerships and suppliers work in different cities, countries and timezones. Needless to say, we’ve found our groove and how to best operate for productivity AND, more importantly, in a way that fosters provocative work too!Continue reading →
working from home
Being a mum and an entrepreneur can be thrilling, fulfilling and a way to really have the best of both worlds. Yet, as any mumpreneur will tell you, it can sometimes feel as if you’re going a bit crazy, trying to juggle it all, taking care of so many people, working crazy hours and trying to do it all.
Here are five pragmatic tips to stay sane in the midst of all the chaos:
Indulge (briefly) in insanity
Sometimes the best way to stay sane is to have the freedom to indulge any emotion. Find someone to watch the kids for an hour, go for a walk, lock yourself in the bathroom, or call a friend and ask them if it’s ok to just vent. If you are sharing with someone, let them know they don’t need to fix anything for you; you just need a safe place to let some stuff out. Give yourself permission to feel and let out whatever you’ve been holding in. Allow yourself to be angry, sad, to scream, cry, or go crazy. Often, you’ll find you’re over it before you’ve even begun. When we resist or suppress things, they fester and create problems down the line.
Done is better than perfect
We could all drive ourselves crazy trying to be perfect and get everything just right. Acknowledge that you can either keep working and reworking everything (both job wise and parenting wise) or you can get it done and move on. There is no such thing as perfect. The quest for perfection will only keep you in endless amounts of judgment and stop you from creating. Do your best and know that it is far better than you realise anyway! If you find yourself obsessing over tiny details, ask yourself: “will this matter in five year’s time?” If not, choose to let it go.
Be willing to be a “bad mum”
Are you looking from the outside in at what others judge as good or bad qualities in a parent? If it hasn’t already, this will drive you crazy! Trust in you and your children to let you know what works for your family and be willing to get it ‘wrong.’ There will always be people passing judgements. But if you’re willing to be seen as a bad mum, you have the space and allowance for yourself to be you and find out what works and doesn’t work. This will teach your kids it’s okay to be yourself too, no matter what anyone else thinks!
Include your kids in your business
Rather than setting the stage for your kids to resent your work and see it as ‘the thing that takes mum away from me’, let them know what you’re up to. No matter how young they are, you can give them information about why you are spending time away from them. Young kids can understand phrasing such as, “Mum is going on this trip in order to make money so we can buy you toys and yummy food.” As they grow older you can give them more information about what things cost and give them ideas of how they can value money, and start to make their own money too!
Ask your kids if they can contribute to making work tasks easy for you. For example, “Can you play quietly while I make this phone call and then we can go outside and play together?” Oftentimes being fully present and engaged with your children for a short period of time allows them to relax. Then they can more easily accept, and respect, your working hours.
Don’t pretend you’re not a mother
Lets face it, your kids will always be your number one priority. If they need you, you will be there for them. Taking care of them when they’re sick, hurt, or going to a special event with them, is part of what’s required for you to stay sane. There’s nothing more distracting than trying to work when your kids are tugging at you (energetically, emotionally, or physically) So be upfront with your colleagues and clients. Let them know what’s going on, without oversharing.
You’d be surprised how understanding people can be if you just let them into your world a little bit. And if they’re not… maybe you don’t want to be working with them!
Lauren Marie is a Joy of Business facilitator, acupuncturist, entrepreneur and mother of twins. She travels worldwide, facilitating classes and changing her clients’ point of view about life, health and business. Born on the outskirts of Washington D.C., Lauren now lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. A passionate creator and conscious rule-breaker, Lauren seeks to inspire other mothers to see the possibilities others overlook and to embrace every challenge and choice that parenthood brings. www.meetlaurenmarie.com
With the new year upon us, now is the time to really focus on what you want to achieve. Perhaps it’s finishing that study course, chasing your dream job or making that business idea come to life?
This month, Leaders in Heels is running a ‘Day in the Life’ series to give you an idea of what other small business owners and entrepreneurs get up to on a daily basis and perhaps inspire you to chase your own business dreams.
Kicking off with our ex-Editor in Chief, Rashida Tayabali, who moved on to run her own businesses as a freelance writer and founder of Project Mum, a project matching service for other skilled mothers and growing businesses needing expertise for various projects. See what a typical Day in the Life of a Work At Home Mum (WAHM) is like:
1. What time do you wake up?
I’m usually up by 9am as I’m not a morning person. Early mornings make me cranky.
2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I make myself a cup of tea and sit for a few minutes in silence.
3. Breakfast – yay or nay?
I have breakfast with my three-year-old who I look after full-time while also running my two businesses as a freelance writer and founder of Project Mum.
4. How do you get to work and how long does it take?
I work from home so no commuting. I definitely don’t miss the commute!
5. What are the typical things you do every day?
Project Mum is a project matching service for growing businesses that need a specific skill or expertise to complete a short or long term project. Skilled mums on our database are matched to project requirements or expertise so I check email and social media after breakfast, answer any urgent emails and then it’s activities with my son. I start working after 2pm most days.
6. What decisions do you make and what is the impact?
I make all the decisions for my business and this affects the results I get and where I put in my time.
I pride myself on managing to find solutions to the most difficult of problems and inspiring other stay at home mums to build a business they love around their children.
Flexible work is definitely the future and mums should never have to choose between their work and family as I did. I believe it’s possible to do both and do it well. Stay at home mums offer tremendous potential in terms of skills for businesses and that’s what I want to action.
7. What do you love most about your job?
I get to work for myself and I love the flexibility and autonomy this gives me compared to when I was working in the corporate world.
8. How do manage all the tasks you need to do?
By making a weekly list and prioritising tasks. Limiting myself to between 3-5 things per week ensures I don’t get overwhelmed with managing a preschooler in the house full-time too.
9. How do you manage the balance between work and personal life?
I’m a little bad at this as I tend to be consumed with work when I’m really in the zone. I try not to work on the weekends unless I have a deadline and limit the number of apps on my phone to avoid wasting time.
10. How has the work environment changed from when you first began?
I’m a lot further along than I was when I first started in both my businesses and the amount of work I’m doing has also increased.
11. Who and/or what inspires you?
A challenge inspires me – I’m always looking to learn new things and achieve more.
12. Why do you do what you do?
Because I need to have certain achievements as an individual and as a woman separate to what I do as a mum. I’m fiercely independent and always have sought to do my own thing.
My aim is for Project Mum to develop into a place where mums can rediscover themselves by using those hard earned skills and knowledge they acquired before bubs to do work they really enjoy. A place where small business owners can get access to help, tips, and inspiration in running their own businesses.
13. Tips for other WAHM?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Nothing is more demoralising than this and it’s a complete waste of time. Believe in yourself and hang on during the bad times.
14. How do you define success?
It needs to be personal and is different for everyone, and you need to be committed to that definition.
15. What challenges have you faced as a WAHM and how have you overcome them?
Looking after my son full time means I don’t have the luxury to work as many hours as I can. I work around him rather than expect him to fit into my schedule. When I need help I ask for it. I don’t try and be everything to everyone and when I need time out I take it.
Are you a Work At Home Mum, tell us how do you manage your business and family in the comments below?