Owning your own business gives you more flexibility, flexibility that allows more time with the family, right? It does but this means there is even more pressure for moms like us to be Superwomen and try to do it all! This is the quandary I find myself in nearly everyday. Here's how I try to keep it sane:
Unless your children nap all day, play on their own for hours on end, or you can run your business exclusively after they have gone to bed, I highly recommend finding consistent childcare. There are so many options - entire books have been written on the subject - but the most important elements remain the same no matter what type of childcare you are considering. You must feel 100% comfortable with the care your child receives AND I highly recommend fixing a schedule so that you know on a weekly basis the blocks of time you will have to devote to the business. But be creative here. Can you do your work over the phone and computer? How about driving to the in-laws one day a week? While the grandparents enjoy the kids, you crank out a solid afternoon of work.
It's true that being a mom turns even the most unorganized person into a veritable logistics diva. Embrace this organizing inclination and use it everywhere in your life. I'm a list maker so I keep a task list of everything I need to do and write it down as soon as something pops into my head. This has created a lot of random pieces of paper, stickies and notepads so I religiously record them all into my Outlook tasks and assign a date. Assigning future dates to items clears my mind to focus on the urgent tasks at hand and not worry about whether I will remember the things that need to happen later.
Look hard at all the errands, chores, projects and to dos in your life, both business and personal, and decide what can be delegated and what it will cost to delegate it. Don't forget to factor in the price of time. Tasks that can be delegated should be, in order to free you up to work on the parts of your business that only you can tend to or allow you more daytime hours with your children. Also remember that anyone you hire will need to be managed and that takes time too. So if it regularly takes an inordinate amount of time to manage someone or oversee a certain task, consider if it's truly worth delegating. Be creative here too. Can a neighborhood student help out a couple of afternoons a week with household chores and errands? Sometimes removing the small but regular tasks from your plate can really free up a good deal of time and energy.