While listening to the radio one morning, the talk show host posed a question to the listeners; “Which situation is more difficult? Being a stay-at-home mom or being a career mom?”
I had to think long and hard about that question. Then I thought about entrepreneur moms. Do we have a larger workload than career moms in Corporate America? What about entrepreneur moms who work from home? Are they subjected to more stress in trying to grow a business while nurturing a family at the same time?
I decided to survey a handful of impressive entrepreneur moms for their “secret sauce” on how they balance career and family. Since I received such great responses, I’ve decided to break them up into a few posts. To start, here are four fabulous shares (including one from me) that may help bring sanity to the life of an entrepreneurial mom.
GET HELP. ACCEPT HELP. HIRE HELP.
That’s what Ivette Lemons, President of Cadtek Design Studio, says. Her company is WBENC Certified and is a spectacular full-service commercial interior design firm that thrives at “solving the puzzle” in making space function to meet the unique needs of its occupants. Who better to offer advice than a detail-oriented person like Ivette?
As a mother of two, her most important tip is to “get help, accept help, hire help”. She admits that this is something she is constantly working on herself and adds, “Accept help when offered. Whether you have to ask for help or hire help—do it. We all take great pride in being the super entrepreneur mom, doing it all. But at some point we would hit a wall and experience complete burn out, so before that happens, bring people into your life to help. Allow them to help you balance personal life and work, whether it’s hiring someone to clean the house or accepting a friend’s offer to pick up the kids for a play date. Our time is precious!”
BE IN THE MOMENT
Laurette Rondenet-Smith has ten children in her blended family, but now manages five. She is the CEO and President of Edlong Dairy Flavors, a WBENC Certified family owned business that is a leader in supplying superior tasting dairy flavors that improve a consumer’s eating experience.
Laurette shares some insight on her schedule and advice. “People often say ‘I don’t know how you do it…having five kids and running a business’ and ‘you seem so calm’. This really couldn’t be further from the truth. I may appear calm on the outside, but inside, my head is racing, always trying to be one step ahead. I tend to think that if I plan really well, I can cram two lives into one! My mom often says that I have amazingly accomplished to live both her life and my fathers, simultaneously.“
She adds, “For all my best intentions, the planning really is a curse because it stops me from being in the moment. I’m always thinking when I get one more chore done, one more task done, then I can sit and play with the children with a clear head. It is delayed gratification at its finest. But, it never works, because as we all know, it is impossible to ever get it ALL done. And it really hinders being in the moment with all your loved ones when your mind is constantly ten steps ahead. What our children really want from us is our most valuable asset…our energy. I have to constantly remind myself to remain conscious and in the moment and turn my work brain off and soak up the light of being around the people I hold most precious in my life.”
INSTILL FAMILY VALUES AND TRADITIONS
Lori Hilson Cioromski, President of TH Hilson Company, also has a blended family of six children. While managing a busy home life, her company is a successful chemical distributor that provides specialty raw materials and innovative solutions to their clients in a variety of markets.
Lori gave me three great tips, but the one that caught the most attention was the importance of quality time spent with family. Lori states, “Another vital rule I live by is having a family meal together at the dining room table during the week as much as possible. I find creative short cuts with the evening meal and, while it’s not always perfect, the most important thing about our evening meal is that we are together as a family. Since we have a blended family with teenagers and a toddler, it is the only time of the day where we can talk and be together for a few moments without a computer or TV. I hope that when our children have families of their own, they will remember the good times we spent together during our evening meal.”
NO COMMITMENT WEEKENDS
As the co-owner of Desert Rose Design and managing an overly busy toddler, my favorite piece of advice is to make it a habit of scheduling a “no commitment weekend”. My husband, a spirits importer and entrepreneur, has a schedule that is just as demanding as mine. We are a blended family of two children with a large age gap—toddler to teenager. With travel and the demands that our businesses place on us, it’s difficult to maintain schedules and quality time; therefore, we have implemented a “no commitment weekend” rule.
This means that once a month, we pick a weekend and commit to absolutely nothing. No agenda. No work. No running errands. No house chores. No entertaining guests. It could be as simple as gardening together, site seeing the city as if we were tourists, or a movie and pizza night. We just spend the whole weekend with each other doing what we love most, being together.
There is no perfect balance in managing career and family, but if you can find one takeaway from these tips, I’ve done my job with this post.
Feel free to add your best piece of advice for entrepreneur moms to view and share with others.