Some days, juggling my business with all my other responsibilities (mother, partner, daughter, friend, maid, chef, dog walker, chauffeur) feels nearly impossible. On their own, parenting, and owning your own business, are HARD. Both take tireless dedication, require putting in long hours, and can leave you feeling depleted. I used to feel bad about my choices because sometimes work took away time from my family, and that didn’t feel good. I was always feeling guilty until I changed my mindset and thought about all the reasons my business makes me a freakin’ fabulous mom! Do you feel like the mom/business owner struggle is so very real? Read on for a dose of “rock on, pretty momma.”
To me, being a parent isn’t about sacrifices. It’s about giving my children the best life I can give them, and living the best life I can live so that I can lead by example. It’s about making choices, not sacrifices.
So, while sometimes I feel like junk because I have to get work done when I want to be down on the floor, playing a game, I know that if I handle things correctly, I’m going to instill something amazing in my girls, because they’re going to see their mother working hard to make her dreams a reality.
When my ten year old sees me working, and she’s upset because she wants me to take her to the park, it’s an incredible opportunity to talk to her about why I need to work, and what my business means to me. Through my actions and the dialogue that they encourage, I’m showing her how to be authentic. How to be responsible. How to design your life. How to be powerful.
Here are my favorite tips for getting your kids involved in your business, so that they can reap the benefits of being the children of a mother with self-starter attitude and an entrepreneurial heart:
Invite Them to Be Part of Your Team
From the time that my daughter could draw a few people (that looked like eggs with hair and eyeballs) and declare it artwork, she’s been involved in my business ventures.
My first business was a photography business when my daughter was in preschool. While she was too young to understand much about my business (or what a business even was!), she knew that when I had clients, I liked to do nice things for them, so it was her “job” to draw each of them a picture. Did I ever send her masterpieces to clients? No. But she didn’t know that. She always felt so proud when she finished up a drawing and handed it to me to give to a client, and it made her feel like a part of my business.
When she got a little older, I would let her take a few images of clients and mess with them in Photoshop. She had no idea what she was doing, usually things were freakin’ horrendous when she finished with them. But, she had fun, we laughed together, and she grew to understand, and respect, the time I spent editing images.
Now, my daughter is ten, and I regularly ask her how she would handle situations, either ones I’m dealing with with my business coaching clients or ones my clients ask for help with. She’ll sit down with me at my desk, and we’ll work through different scenarios, trying to come to a solution. Do I usually use her ideas? Not so much. But, it gets her thinking, and again, she feels like she’s included.
She always comes with me to pick out cards for clients, and loves giving input if I’m looking for a gift to send someone!
Regardless of what type of business you run, chances are you can find something that your kid(s) can do to feel like they’re included! Even if it’s helping you organize fabrics, or package your jewelry to ship, or asking them for ideas.
Bonus: if you find a little job for them to do, it’s one less thing for you to do yourself! Win-win!
Support Their Success, and Redirect Their Failure
One of the keys to being a successful business owner is to understand that failure is inevitable and that it’s important not to give up when things get difficult. Instead of coddling your kids so that they don’t have ever learn how to fail gracefully, or calling them out when they don’t succeed, teach them that failure happens, and focus on teaching them how to recover from it.
As a business owner, if you’re not failing, you’re usually not trying hard enough, and you’re not going to grow! Often, success comes from trying new things, and sometimes, those things just don’t work. Teach your kids to be willing to fail (excited, even!), and train them to look at failure as an opportunity to grow.
I’m very open with my daughter, now that she’s old enough to understand, about things I try that don’t work. I’ll chat with her about my failures, and about what I learned from them, and when the next thing I try works well, I love seeing how excited she gets for me! I can’t help but think her excitement for my wins is even stronger because she knows that it took a lot of work to get there!
Encourage Them Kids to Think Outside the Box
Owning a business can be difficult, especially because most of us aren’t completely reinventing the wheel. The majority of industries are saturated with other similar businesses offering the same kinds of services or products, so to differentiate ourselves, it’s important we find ways to be unique and put our own spins on things!
By encouraging your children to think outside the box, you’re teaching them to solve problems in different ways and to think about things from different angles.
Regardless of what their ideas are, or how whacky they might seem, encourage them! Help them brainstorm, point them in the right direction so they can do research, and don’t squash their ideas just because they’re utterly ridiculous (let’s face it, kids don’t always have the most realistic ideas!).
My daughter knows that I have a lot to juggle, and I like to think that someday, she will look at me and say “you taught me how to be strong, and how to make my dreams come true.” By working hard, and showing your children the importance of doing what you love, you’ll be teaching them valuable lessons, every single day. Remember, it’s more about what you DO than what you SAY, so always be aware of the example you’re setting and the traits you’re instilling in them!
Just for the fun of it, I asked my daughter, Dakota, how she feels about me running my own business, and about helping me with it sometimes. I loved her answer!
“I like that you’re so creative and it’s so cool that you have a business that you do all by yourself. I feel like you’re very smart and also that you like to help people and that makes me excited to tell people about my mom. I like that you let me help you because I feel like a grown up because you trust me to do important things.”
Want tips on how to ensure you’re setting good examples by balancing your business and your life like a boss? Check out my favorite ways to win the struggle!
So, momma, next time you’re stressin’ because you feel like you’re doing your kids a disservice by working, remember the amazing things you can teach them by doing what you love! Do you ever feel guilty about taking time away from your family to pursue your passions? Tell me your stories in the comments, or shoot me an email here!
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