I used to think it was impossible to be a fully present, “on it” parent and a fully present, “on it” business owner.
When my babies were young, it felt relatively easy to focus on doing both. Being with my children involved mostly holding them, snuggling them and nursing them. Which is something that I could usually do while taking client calls (talking on the phone is like 65% of my job, maybe more). It felt like my children and I were always together, even when I was working.
And being together was usually enough.
But as my children grew older, I seriously struggled to balance parenting and entrepreneurship. Some weeks I got it right and some weeks, I felt like a downright failure. And that just wasn’t good enough.
Feeling like I was lacking in the parenting department has been a big area of dissatisfaction for me and was the driving force behind some big changes I’ve made in my life recently.
One of those changes was my move to North Carolina. Somehow I knew that if I left New York City, and moved to a more family-friendly place, that I could be a better parent. Having a lower cost of living significantly reduces the stress of generating massive amounts of income (<– the exact amount you need to live comfortably and upper-middle-class-ey in New York City). I believed that living in a slower-paced environment with less night life and flash life and more family life was exactly what my family needed.
The other big change I made was reorganizing my business and team. By lowering the number of people on my team, I significantly lowered the stress of payroll and the stress of having not only my family, but my employee’s families, as my responsibility. In addition, less employees means less employees to manage. More important than saving money, this change freed up so much mental space that I now devote to my children instead of my business.
Lastly, significantly lowering my client roster for legal work has also made a huge difference and allowed me to have a more predictable work schedule and less tight deadlines that I have to live by. Less deadlines = less nights spent working rather than hanging with my family.
So the answer is yes, you can be a great parent and slay in your business.
But you have to be willing to make radical changes to your lifestyle in order to make time for both your big business dreams and your children.
Now that I’ve made these big changes, here’s what some of our family life looks like:
- My husband now works in the business full-time, so he is no longer staying at home. So we spend the day working together in the business while the children are at school. We now split childcare duties and work duties and I couldn’t be happier.
- My husband handles the morning routines and I don’t have to get out of bed until 7am now. Or I can use the early mornings to work out, write or start the work day early. At 7:30am, we both take the kids to school. Lots of quality time with all three kids happens on the 20 minute car ride to school. I absolutely love our morning commute (<– words this work-from-home entrepreneur never thought she’d say!)
- After drop off, we head back home and get to work until it’s time to go pick up the kids. Hubby and I go together to pick them up from school and more quality time in the car ride home ensues.
- Then the afternoons is where I shine as a mom. #shinymommytime In the afternoon and evenings the kids and I do things like play Unravel together (a really beautiful and peaceful video game with a heart-filled message) or go to the pool. I make dinner, give them baths (sometimes my oldest will do this part while I cook) and then we sit down to eat together as a family (something we didn’t always do before).
- During dinner, we each share our favorite and least favorite parts of the day, which makes the dinner conversations so much fun!
- After dinner, I prepare them for bed and then (my favorite!), I tuck them in and read them a goodnight story. Even when I am pretty tired (which I usually am at this point), I find that I can still read one of their shorter books. Nailing the tuck-in/story time consistently every evening really makes me feel like a superstar mom. Especially when I see their big eyes leaning in during the story – they love it as much as me!
- If it’s a busy week and I still have work to do, I may spend an hour or two finishing up some work. Then it’s an episode of Game of Thrones with my hubby and bedtime.
This is not the “perfect” schedule and there are things we can improve. (For example, we’re planning on hiring a part-time nanny to pick up the kids from school in the afternoon so that we can get an extra hour of work in and not have to work in the evenings once they go to bed. We also want to have help available for regular date nights.) But it does work for me and my family right now, and there is a great sense of pride and satisfaction in knowing that I can not only provide for my family in a big way, earning big money, but that I can do that AND still show up for my kids and be a great parent at the same time.
PS: Do you need to make some changes to make your entrepreneur life and family life work for you? If yes, what’s stopping you? Hit reply and let’s discuss.
PPS: Would creating a source of passive income in your business enable you to reach your revenue goals while working less and having more time for family? You bet it will! (That was a rhetorical question). If you are running a service business, productizing your services into a digital format is a genius way to serve a wider segment of your market, work less and spend more time with the kiddos. It doesn’t get more win-win-win than that! If you’d like my help mapping out and pre-launching your digital product before the end of the year, join me for Multiply. It’s my 8-week masterclass for creating your smash product and I only have 3 spots left. Get all the details and sign up here. Then thank me later. 😉