Being a mom and a business owner can feel like an intense juggling act.
I get it, I’m a mom to two young girls and run URBN Coworking with my husband Dylan.
I don’t always get a gold star at the end of the day, but I’m getting better and better at getting stuff done and I want to share some tips with all the other mompreneurs out there who are struggling to do all the things.
Treat self-care as an essential ingredient to your success
If you burn out, both your family and business are going to suffer.
That’s why we need to stop thinking of self-care as a luxury or a one-off we indulge in on Mother’s Day weekend.
I believe so strongly in this that we offer weekly Yoga classes to our URBN Cowork members.
However, I do know that self-care is often easier said than done for moms.
Creating a self-care routine isn’t a cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all solution. We’re all individuals who have different tastes, backgrounds and what fills the cup of one could very well be painful to the next.
Try to take notice of what energizes you.
Now, it doesn’t have to be anything big like a weekend at the spa (although that does sound nice), it can be something as simple as an uninterrupted cup of coffee or a bubble bath.
If you say self-care is important without making it happen, you aren’t really taking care of yourself, are you?
The key is to make whatever it is a priority and arrange your schedule to support your self-care routine into action.
Not sure how to get started? Start with something small.
This article by Psychology Today has 25 Simple Self-Care Tools for Parents. It’s full of easy ideas that you can pick and choose from.
Write out the daily, weekly and monthly tasks for your household and business
Okay, I know this may sound daunting, but how can you really plan or prioritize if you don’t know what’s on your plate?
Get a big cup of coffee or a glass of wine and tackle your tasks.
You can do it all on one list or break it into biz and home. You can also separate your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.
There isn’t really a wrong way to do this unless you don’t do it. So do it.
Once you’re done take a deep breath.
You probably already knew there was a lot on your to-do list, but this can make it very real.
Look at this list and be a little more gentle with yourself when you feel like you’re not accomplishing enough.
You’re doing great!
Build a mompreneur dream team
I’m going to be honest with you here.
You can’t do it all and you can’t do it alone.
Did this already hit you when you wrote out your list above? Good.
Teams come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and great teams are built over time. So don’t feel like you need to have this all figured out right this second.
Take out your to-do list and go through it with fresh eyes.
What items on this list could be delegated, outsourced or crossed off entirely?
Just because you’ve always done “name your task here” doesn’t mean it needs to rest on your shoulders for all of eternity. Take this opportunity to lighten your load.
Here are a few places to find members for your team.
Start close to home
Your partner, family, and friends can be more than your cheering squad.
Many times people don’t know how they can help or what you need if you don’t tell them.
Sounds simple, but moms are notoriously bad at communicating their needs.
If you’re a mom who struggles to ask for help, this Motherly article may help.
Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
It’s also easier to ask for help when you know what to ask for which is part of the reason for the list exercise above.
If somebody says no, remember it isn’t personal and keep looking for the support you need.
Outside of your network of family and friends, you’ll find a few more options below.
According to Dictionary.com, a freelancer is “a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”
Using freelancers for specific tasks in your business can help free up time and brainpower for the items on your list that require your zone of genius and produce revenue.
If creating social media graphics is painful and time-consuming for you, hiring a freelancer to do them is a great example of something you could hand off.
The best place to start is to ask people to refer you to freelancers they’ve had success with in the past.
You can also use websites like those below to post a job and find freelancers to work with:
It’s rare to find your perfect freelancer right out the gate, so don’t be discouraged if you need to try a few.
It’s best to start with a small project as a test and go from there.
If you get to the point when you find you are in need of the same support over and over again, it might be time to bring on somebody you’ll have an ongoing arrangement with.
However, managing staff is a big undertaking and if you’re not ready for that step, a virtual assistant is worth looking into.
A virtual assistant (often referred to as a VA), is an independent contractor who provides services, such as administrative or marketing tasks.
Unlike a traditional assistant, they do this while operating outside of the client's office.
There are VA services available from almost every corner of the world.
You can find VAs for differing levels of expertise and budgets.
This article by Hashtag Virtual, a local option for a VA, answers some of the common questions associated with virtual assistants.
Mutual back scratching
There’s a good chance that there’s somebody in your network that needs what you offer and offers what you need.
If you’re still in the early stages of your business, your available funds may a little tight. Trading services can be a great way to get what you need and keep more green in your jeans.
As with all arrangements, it’s important to get clear on what is and isn’t included with the trade, plus be mindful that not everyone will be a good fit for trading services and that’s okay.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
Identify what you have to offer
Get clear on what you need
Put the call out and seek business owners that might be a good match
Negotiate and compromise
Document the agreed upon conditions of the trade
A nice perk to trades is they can lead to paid work and referrals.
That’s always good for business.
You need to get real about how much time you have to dedicate on a consistent basis to your business.
Yes, life happens.
However, it’s impossible to move forward without at least a rough idea of how many hours daily and weekly you have to work on your business.
It’s better to underestimate your available time and have more than you expected.
If you overestimate, you’ll be less likely to feel like you’ve accomplished what you hoped too and that doesn’t make anybody feel good.
If you aren’t sure about your time, try tracking it for a week to find out how you’re spending it.
This will help you figure out how much time you have, and as a bonus may show you a few areas where you’re wasting time.
Set yourself up for success with brutal honesty and realistic expectations.
Plan and prioritize for success
Now that you have your to-do list, some support, and a handle on your availability, it’s time to put a plan in place to get stuff done.
Plans can feel like rainbows and unicorns when you’re a mom with kids. I get that.
That’s why it’s important to prioritize while planning.
Figure out which items are a top priority and start there. That way if life happens those “must do” items are crossed off your list.
There are a lot of different ways you can plan and prioritize.
The key is to develop a system that works for you.
That may mean trying a few options first, but that’s part of the refining process.
Capitalize on kid-free time
You probably already suspected this, but experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity.
It can also cause you to feel stressed and cause errors, especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking.
Motherhood is essentially another word for multitasking. However, trying to work on your business while taking care of kids and everything else, means that nobody is getting the best of you.
I’ve found that carving out time by myself to work on our business has made a HUGE difference.
There are a number of ways to do this. Your partner could help out, one of the members of your dream team could be a mom you can swap childcare with or there are babysitting services you can call.
Next, find a place away from home to hunker down and get to work.
That may be a local coffee shop, the library or a coworking space like ours.
Our mompreneur members tell us they are 3X more productive when they can come to a space like ours and focus on getting all the things done.
Another side benefit is that if you stop trying to squeeze work in the cracks of every day, you can be fully present to your family when you are home or spending time with them.
Be gentle with yourself
Time for a little splash of reality…
You aren’t always going to get everything on your list done.
Things will not always go according to plan.
You may often feel like you should be doing more.
Take the time to celebrate your wins.
Forgive yourself and only leave with lessons from failures.
You’re doing your best and that’s enough.
PS: If you haven't had the chance to check out our coworking spaces in Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Dylan & I would love to show you around and answer your questions about coworking. Book a tour now.