One of the biggest issues facing mothers working from home is how to balance work-life with family-life. There are plenty of women who succeed in their businesses, yet struggle when it comes to their families. And there are plenty of women who watch their businesses flounder, but they receive gold stars in the mommy department. Few women can do the two together and be successful in both.
This balance is all the more challenging for mothers working from home as opposed to an out-of-the-house job. At home, a mother’s two worlds are inextricably connected, and it is easy to be pulled in both directions- often at the same time.
Being successful as a mother and as a business owner does not mean that you have to belong to an elite group of super mommies. The following tips will help to give you some clarity on how to achieve a successful, healthy balance between work and family:
Get in touch with yourself. The first step towards a healthy balance between work and family is to get in touch with your personal goals and how you currently feel next to them.
Why did you start your business? Were you primarily looking to earn an extra income? Do you enjoy what you are doing? Ideally, how many hours a week do you want to work? Staying in touch with your personal goals will keep you focused on what you really want.
You should also periodically check-in with yourself. Are you happy with the amount of time and attention you are giving to your family and to your business? Are you giving enough to yourself?
Establish priorities The next thing that you need to do is to clearly spell out what is important to you. For example, “it is a priority to be available to put my kids to bed or to be there for meal times”… “I need to be working at least 30 hours a week.”
Like the above, this will help you to stay focused, even though there will be times when circumstances dictate that your priorities temporarily shift.
Know your limits… and stick to them! In an recent survey by American Express, which polled more than 1,100 women entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their companies to the multi-million dollar level, 1 in 3 women said that they started their own businesses to achieve a better work-life balance. Yet, over half of these same women said they were currently working over 40 hours a week!
Though there will be times when you may have to put an unusual amount of time into your business (or conversely into your family), if it is prolonged then something will have to give. Therefore, it is a good idea to initially set limits on the amount of hours you work per week versus the time you spend doing things for your family. You also need to make sure that you budget time for yourself.
Delegate and outsource. When time and responsibilities are getting too much, then try to delegate and outsource anything which you do not have to specifically do. Anyone can wash your dishes or clean your floor. When it comes to your business, you can outsource tasks, such as billing, accounting, or setting appointments.
Plan out your week. Over the weekend sit down and think about what needs to be completed the following week. Make a list, and then decide when and how you want each thing to get accomplished. Do not forget to include on your list cooking, cleaning, shopping, and any family related events.
Obviously, life can be unpredictable causing havoc to the most well thought out plans. But it will give you piece of mind to know clearly what you need to accomplish.
Get childcare. Do not make the mistake of not sending your little ones to someone else so you can focus on your work. The more productive you will feel without the distractions, the happier you will be. This will also effect you as a mother, since you will be able to give of yourself more freely.
Create a separate space. Make sure that your work area is somehow separate from the rest of the house. Even if you must work in a common area within your home, you need to be able to close off the area somehow when you are not working. It will send you (and your family) a strong message: “I work when I am at work, and when I am home I am here for my family.”