As a working mother I often ask myself, is running a business compatible with family life? Running your own business often requires more work than the standard 9am-5pm hours of a standard job, especially in the early days. Whether it’s working through the evenings or on weekends, the substantial effort to get a new business of the ground can clash with the duties of being a mother. My personal experiences have given me a great deal of insight as to how mumpreneurs can find the perfect equilibrium and ensure they don’t suffer from mumpreneur burnout!
Don’t Rush – Run your Business at your Pace
Initially, my business plan seemed to be work non-stop until the company was off the ground. My borderline obsessive behaviour ensured I had time for little else but the business. The theory was: the quicker I can make the business a success, the quicker I can return to ‘normal’ family life. Of course, this approach not only drained me physically and emotionally, but it also filled me with guilt for not being able to spend enough time with the children.
I soon realised that this approach was wide off the mark and I restructured my work commitments around my children. I made sure I only worked when the children were in nursery/school and/or when they were tucked up in bed. Being able to spend time with children and having periods of the day where I wasn’t worried about the business allowed me to relax and take a purposeful and calculated approach to my business. I actually realised that maybe my business wouldn’t collapse if I spent a few hours away from it! I also began to appreciate that spending excessive hours working on the business and getting everything done at once was not a recipe for success – in fact, with the effect it was having on my psychological health, it was almost a recipe for disaster.
When the business did begin to move in the right direction, I had the added bonus and satisfaction of knowing that I hadn’t sacrificed the things that were most dear to me to achieve success and I had done things at my own pace.
Ban Technology during Family Time!
During the early days of the business, it can be difficult to stop yourself continuously checking emails, making phone calls and generally keeping an eye on the business. I realised I would constantly be checking my phone for alerts or emails and would still be trying to get little bits and pieces done whilst spending time with the kids. Of course this would end up spoiling our valuable family time and set a terrible example for the children. In order, to overcome this problem, I had to take a drastic measure: switch off all ‘business’ technology as soon as the kids got home from school.
During the few hours between the end of school and bedtime, my business phone, laptop and iPad were all off limits. This ensured my children weren’t playing second fiddle to the mobile phone or the laptop and that the business did not intrude on family life. It is important to set up boundaries and organise the day effectively so family time remains family time and the children are not affected by the business.
Cherish your Friendships
There are few times in one’s life which are more hectic than working on a full-time business whilst caring for small children. For young mothers who are embarking on a business venture for the first time, the whole experience can be a shock to the system. During the formative years of my business, I had a lot of help from my girlfriends who were always there to step in and lend a helping hand when I felt overwhelmed. Whether you have to attend an urgent meeting and need someone to pick the children up from school or you simply need a shoulder to cry on, the support of those closest to you can prove to be invaluable.
A former British Airways cabin crew member, Karen Rayner currently lives in Warwick with her husband and her two children, Charlotte and Jack. She is the founder of Childrens Funky Furniture, an online furniture store which provides imaginative and creative furniture items that appeal to young children. Karen also writes extensively about how to create artistic and vibrant bedrooms that children can relate to and enjoy.
“Connect with me on Google Plus“