Many people think parenting and business can’t go hand in hand. Raising young children takes so much time and effort, how could you possibly have anything left over to build a company from the ground up?
But there are countless successful entrepreneurs out there who have managed to be great parents as well as inspiring business leaders. You will of course need to work incredibly hard to balance your personal and professional lives, but if you are committed and devoted to the task, there is no reason you can’t make your dream a reality.
Being a good parent involves constant responsibility. When your kids are young, you have to feed, bathe, clothe, and comfort them all day, every day. As they get older you have to deal with bad behavior, school work, relationships, and the troublesome teenage years. In many ways, parenting is very similar to running a business. You have to keep multiple plates spinning at once, never take your eye off the ball, and put everything you have into it.
As long as you have the willpower and motivation, you can be an amazing parent and entrepreneur at the same time. Here are ten ways you make it work.
Create a home office
Working from home will make it a lot easier to be present in your child’s life. When you commute to an office, you spend a lot of time each day traveling, while also being physically distant from your little one. But with your own home office, it is easy enough to step out to spend a few precious moments in your child’s company. If you have a spare room or study, this will provide the perfect location for your new workspace. Fill it with all the equipment and stationery you need, as well as some personal items like framed photos and plants to make it more comfortable. If you only have a small house, a corner of your living room or dining table can serve as a perfect suitable office.
If you are working with children in the house, it’s very easy for them to call on you constantly throughout the day. It’s important you set boundaries and allow yourself time to focus on your business. It doesn’t matter whether you own a retail store, a technology startup, or a franchise in shipping, your business is important and you need that time to work on it. Be clear with your children that you are not to be disturbed when you are in work mode. Use this time as productively as possible without distraction, and at the end of the day you will feel able to turn off your laptop and spend quality time with your family. Make sure you make the most of this time, and try to switch off your business mindset and be present with your loved ones.
As a busy working parent, it’s not easy to stick to a firm routine. Childcare duties like health checkups, school visits, and birthday parties will crop up endlessly, forcing you to take time out of your day. For this reason it’s crucial you adopt a flexible way of working. Whenever you do have a few hours to knuckle down and concentrate, really make the most of it to be as productive as possible. But always be prepared for the possibility that you might be called away on a sudden errand at the last minute. Becoming adaptable in this way can take some time, but it will ultimately make you more resilient, as well as a better parent and businessperson.
Caring for a child and running a business occupy so much of your life, you can’t really afford to waste any time. Procrastination is the number one enemy of any entrepreneur, and it’s so easy to pick up your phone and end up in a spiral of social media and doom scrolling. Make a conscious effort to spend less time staring at a screen when you’re not working, and try to squeeze every last ounce of joy from every second of the day. Consider deleting your social media apps or at least setting time limits on them to break your bad habits. Minimizing procrastination and beating your smartphone addiction will enable you to be more productive and efficient with your work, so you’ll ultimately have more time and energy left to focus on being the best parent you can be.
Some parents are reluctant to hire childcare, whether because they can’t afford it or because they feel some guilt about not looking after their kids themselves. But there are many great reasons to outsource some of your parenting responsibilities to an expert childminder. You only have so much physical and mental energy, you need to give yourself a break and let someone else take the reins for a while. Your babysitter will be able to take your kids to school, entertain them during the holidays, and allow you to spend some time peacefully working on increasing your profits.
Use your support network
If you have a network of friends and relatives around you, don’t be afraid or ashamed to call on them for help. Your loved ones will no doubt be delighted to look after your children for a little while and do you a favor. They can essentially act as free childcare, occupying the little ones and helping you with errands when you feel as if you have too many responsibilities to cope with at one time. You can always pay back their kindness in some way later down the line. If you have a partner, make sure they are carrying out their share of the parenting and household duties.
Schedule quality time
When you have an important client meeting coming up, you treat that time commitment with respect. You put it in your calendar or diary, and schedule other appointments around it. But if you can do this for your business, there is no reason you can’t treat your family time with the same reverence. Schedule activities and quality time with your children in the same way you would a conference call or client meeting. Put it in your diary and don’t let anything trump it in terms of importance. Of course, there will be times when emergencies crop up relating to your business. Perhaps there’s been a supply issue, a complaint on social media, or a customer has taken legal action. In severe cases you may need to reschedule your family time, but as a rule, it is a commitment that should be honored. As well as growing your business, you want to be creating beautiful memories for your children and being present in their lives.
Find time to relax
If you put all mental energy into your business and your children, there will be nothing left for yourself. You will end up working too hard and succumbing to burnout. Your mental health could suffer and you will be unable to be as effective a parent or entrepreneur as you’d like to be. Therefore, it’s essential you find some time each day to relax and wind down. Find an activity that makes you happy and calm. This could be a form of exercise, such as yoga, running, swimming, or simply going for a walk in nature. It could be taking a hot bath with some relaxing music, or reading a book in the garden. Even if you can only snatch thirty minutes of me-time per day, the importance of relaxation cannot be overstated. Giving yourself a chance to refresh your mind and recharge your batteries will make you happier and more productive when you get back to work the next day.
Be kind to yourself
There may be times when you feel you aren’t a good parent, or that you;re failing as a business owner. These moments of doubt crop up for everyone in your position, and it’s important you don’t let them overwhelm you. Just keep doing the best you can and don’t expect perfection. Celebrate your wins and learn from your mistakes. Be kind to yourself and try to eliminate negative self talk. Running a business and being a parent are both impressive feats on their own, but to manage both concurrently makes you a superhuman.
Don’t give up
Running a business is hard, and being a parent at the same time makes it a thousand times more difficult. If your company is in its infancy, it will take some time before you become profitable. Success rarely happens overnight. Be patient and keep working hard. Eventually your efforts will pay off, but you’ll almost certainly have a few slipups along the way. Rather than letting yourself become disheartened by them, see your mistakes as a learning opportunity and a chance to improve yourself in future. As long as you don’t give up and keep your eyes on the road ahead, everything will work out in the end. Good luck on your journey.