I am the co-owner of URBN Cowork and a mom to two beautiful girls.
A clever term I use to describe myself, a mom and an entrepreneur, is a “mompreneur.”
Investopedia.com defines this as “a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children.”
One of the ironies about mompreneurs is that we choose to start our own businesses for the flexibility it provides, but are wrought with guilt about the time it takes away from our families.
On a daily basis, we mompreneurs struggle to balance life at home and grow our businesses. We have to contend with the nagging distraction of the family to-do list or the kids running in and out.
Like so many other mompreneurs, I’ve tried working from home. It wasn’t until I used our coworking space that I realized how much more productive I was when I was able to focus on my work away from my family and home.
My experience is not unique and other coworking mompreneurs have shared similar experiences with me.
Below are the main ways I’ve seen coworking help mompreneurs with work-life balance.
Work smarter, not harder
Being a mompreneur can feel a lot like being a juggler.
We often have multiple balls in the air at any one time and an extra one can be thrown into the mix at any given time without notice.
Moms are master multitaskers with a family to raise, business to grow and sanity to sustain.
This type of juggling leads to balls being dropped and a lot of half-finished tasks. Can you relate to the half unloaded dishwasher and an email response you didn’t hit send on?
It’s not only that we feel less productive, there’s science that supports it. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, found that multitasking hurts our overall productivity.
In this Wall Street Journal article, they reported that it takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted.
How many times are you interrupted when trying to work from home? I know I can barely finish writing a sentence without some sort of interruption.
The cost of mental juggling?
Everything suffers because it takes longer to switch back and forth from each activity, it also takes longer to complete everything.
Coworking provides the opportunity to focus on work tasks while you’re at your workspace, without the family life interruptions that come with working from home.
Mariana Norton, one of our members, says that she’s 3x more productive when she works from URBN Cowork than at home.
Carve out time for business
Where do we mompreneurs do most of our work? From home with the kids, right?
When do most mompreneurs work on their businesses? While the kids are napping, at school or watching Pet Patrol, right?
Coworking helps busy mompreneurs carve out time to work, versus trying to squeeze it into the willy-nilly moments of their crazy home-life.
This is a big part of why URBN Cowork was created. I wanted to provide a space where busy moms like me, could go to focus on work and leave the home-life at home.
Childcare is an issue for a lot of mompreneurs. A study by 99designs found that 71% of the mompreneurs they surveyed are the primary carecare providers.
Although there are a few coworking spaces around the world that offer childcare as part of their membership, most of us have to rely on our partners or outside help.
At URBN Cowork we do not offer childcare services at this time, but we have an agreement with a local babysitting service called Birdie Break. Any URBN member can book online with a sitter of their choice and receive 15% off the total cost. The babysitter comes to your home and will watch your children while you work.
The fact that most coworking spaces offer 24/7 access means that you have full control over the time you choose to work. You can create a schedule that fits your life and can become part of your routine.
Get your business out of hobby-mode
Do people take you seriously when you say you have a business?
As a mompreneur, are you treating your business like a hobby? The problem is that if you treat your business like a hobby, others will treat it the same way.
I think you’ll agree with me that there’s something about somebody having an office that adds legitimacy to what they’re doing.
Although it was a dad, there was a video that made the rounds last year of a BBC News interview, where the kids come into the home office in the middle of the interview.
The difference between this gentleman and most mompreneurs I know is he’s established and most of us are trying to create credibility and authority.
Aside from the perception, there are advantages to having a mailing address attached to an actual office building versus your home or post office box.
Isn’t it a little creepy for Google maps to serve up your front lawn when people search for your business?
The great thing about coworking is that there are plans to fit where your business is right now.
One of the beautiful things about coworking spaces is the flexibility they offer.
You don’t have to sign your life away on a long-term lease or invest big bucks to get started.
Burst your bubble
As a stay-at-home mom with a full-time gig running URBN Cowork, I found myself talking to my kids (who are 2 and 2 months) ALL DAY LONG.
I don’t know about you, but as much as I treasure every moment I get with my girls, I wouldn’t categorize this as stimulating conversation or networking.
The truth is that nothing grows in a vacuum and some adult conversation, plus a change of scenery, can do wonders for helping your business grow.
The other thing about a bubble or working from home is that it can make you feel isolated and alone.
Every coworking space I’ve ever visited has one thing in common, an amazing community.
Coworking provides the chance to connect with other people who may be going through exactly what you are, both in your business and at home.
There are opportunities beyond socialization, for collaboration with fellow entrepreneurs too.
I am so thankful for our members at URBN who graciously welcome and listen to me. A friendly smile and a few encouraging words can go a long way when you’re having a bad day.
Shut the door on your work
The flexibility of coworking not only allows us to craft the work-life balance we all desire, but it also allows us to grow our businesses while still being available to our children.
One of the problems with a home office is that there isn’t much of a division between home and work.
Yes, you can shut the door, but you know it’s right there waiting.
The great thing about working at a coworking space is you can physically and mentally shut the door on your work.
Our kids notice when we’re distracted, stressed or trying to work when they are in need of our attention.
Moms have an unbelievable capacity to love, worry and feel guilty.
When you have space away from home for work, then home can just be home. You can be fully present to your family while you’re with them.
It’s easier to balance the competing calls for your attention when you have boundaries. Coworking creates a physical boundary between work and home for you.
You can put work related items on your to-do at work and enjoy kids when you’re with them without being distracted by the fact that the 2 hr nap you were banking on to get stuff done was 20 min.
Coworking was a game changer for me even before we opened URBN Cowork. If you haven’t tried it, check it out. We offer tours and so do most other coworking space.
Aside from coworking, here are a few things that I find help me with the mompreneur gig and I hope they help you too:
Make a schedule & stick to it
Learn to say NO
Understand what really matters
Pace yourself, success is not a race