How to successfully shape-shift from businesswoman to mum.
I seem to be facing new challenges each and every day but one recurring hurdle is that of work/life balance. Just when I find myself in the right mindset and settle down in my work space, I think to myself I should be spending time with my children, cuddling and reading books. Then, when I’m doing housework, I feel like I should be knuckling down and getting work done.
Just like any other mum, I have moments where I get frazzled and flustered with the everyday, mundane household tasks that seem to be endless: clothes washing, keeping a tidy house and constantly picking up after three little children. Then to add to all of this existing pressure, maintain a business that I run directly from my home.
I was surprised to find out that many mumpreneurs, just like me, were having difficulty maintaining the perfect work/life balance. All good habits need to be practised, encouraged and repeated in order for them to stick. So here’s a friendly reminder for you mumpreneurs, who just like me, feel like they are constantly shape-shifting.
1. Listen to your inner voice
Doing daily household tasks while managing my own business from home can be challenging at times. I talk to myself, reassure myself and find my inner voice that reminds me to take a moment and breathe. I still don’t know to this day if the voice that speaks is my inner wisdom talking directly to me, or if it is a comforting voice guiding me to be a better version of myself.
2. Important mumpreneur tools
I must say I rely on traditional tools. I acknowledge the importance of having a to-do list somewhere visible to my frequently distracted eye. That way, there is no escaping daily tasks and chores. I make sure to have two separate lists: a parenting to-do list and one strictly for my business, Christie & Christie.
It's important for me to have a designated area that I work from. It puts me in a focused frame of mind and my children know that when I am sitting there, that I am working. I think it's important for my children to see their mummy working hard and enjoying the work that she does.
Always remember to position time-sensitive tasks to the very top of your list. Although I am hopeful to accomplish these tasks in a timely manner, I set a reasonable time frame. A trick that I learned along the way is to rate from one to 10 the level of priority of each tasks. This can avoid anxiety and the feeling of disappointment.
At the end of the day, I always manage to tick four to five tasks off my list. I frequently manage this list by adding tasks when they occur to me and enjoy the sense of accomplishment as I cross out each task. I cannot begin to describe the feeling when I manually cross-off or check-mark those tasks.
As a mumpreneur, I must schedule meetings with potential retailers, distributors and suppliers of my product, and also incorporate playdates, doctors appointments as well as running general errands. Some mums out there may rely on their mobile phone to set reminders and schedule meetings, but others will empathise with me.
While mobile phones are a strategic communication and business tool, they may not be 100 per cent reliable to plan out your day, especially when your toddler decides to accidentally drop it in a body of water. I must be vigilant and constantly aware, that at any given time, my mobile can be snatched and taken away. I need a reliable tool, one that won’t fail me or simply disappear. My refrigerator door now holds a poster calendar. It’s plain and simple and it works really well for me.
At home, and in fact most of the time, I have to wear two hats. When I wear my business hat, I am a driven mumpreneur but when I wear my mum and wife hat, I am fully devoted to my children and loving husband. I’ve had to learn quickly to wear the right hat at the right moment in the right space.
I find it difficult to set allocated times to get down to uninterrupted business and do some work, but trust when I say, it gets easier along the way. As my children get older, I am able to plan and schedule my work life to better suit my children's’ needs and mine. When you have three children, all under the age of six, it is all about them.
Being a mum is who I am and I am grateful everyday because they literally changed my life—in a way, I am a mumpreneur because of them. I am also very fortunate to have access to fantastic daycare and family support.
4. Supermum versus Mumpreneur
It does take structure and discipline especially when I’m wearing the proverbial business hat. It is without a doubt that I would rather be enjoying time with my little ones or exploring the world together. When I find myself bouncing back and forth from hat to hat, I remind myself, I am a mum, I am an entrepreneur, and to my children I am a loving and supporting mum.
I work from my lovely home, so there are always many things to do to keep the household successfully running. What seem to be little things to do quickly accumulate and don’t seem so little anymore. There are only so many hours in a day. I need to focus on the things that matter most and the things that I am good at.
I choose to outsource some of those tasks that are best left to the professionals. One of the best ways to manage that for me has been to hire cleaners that come once a fortnight. I adore them, they do a wonderful job and free me up to get to the business work I need to do. I am also supporting a fellow mumpreneur!
I believe in celebrating your successes even if they only represent small daily accomplishments. Being a mum is something to embrace, celebrate and encourage. Being a mumpreneur is the combination of the best of both worlds. Running a successful business from home gives me that sense of accomplishment. I believe it is a recipe and a combination that works for me and might even work for you.