Being a woman in business has never been easy. We’ve had to fight for the right to work in the first place, fight for safe working spaces that are free from sexual harassment, fight for equal pay, and fight for respect. The fight for true equality in business may be far from over, but with more than 9 million businesses in the US now owned by women and more women opening businesses than men in the Philippines (*Philippine Statistics Authority report), we have made undeniable progress and have forged a path for future generations of women to follow.
When it comes to business women there’s always one topic that recurs time after time – how do women balance the running of their business with being a mom and a parent?
The reason why this topic comes up so often is that being a mom and a parent can be hard, but just because it is hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. After 9 months of pregnancy, the experiences of childbirth, and surviving the first few months caring for a newborn baby, women aren’t in the same position as men when it comes to jumping back to work, but these differences don’t make us any weaker than our male counterparts, no, in fact, our ability to overcome our biological differences makes us stronger. So if you are currently feeling overwhelmed as a new parent but are rearing to get back to your business, then here are some tips to help you balance things as a new mom.
Give yourself some support
As a woman in business, there can often be this overriding feeling that we need to prove ourselves, leading us to try to do too much. You may be a supermom, but even superheroes have “back-ups”. Make sure that you put some support in place to help you with your workload at home and at work. This could be having a family member or friend help you with childcare, utilizing a cleaner so that it’s one less thing on your mind, using a recipe box service so that you and your partner need not worry about grocery shopping or dinner, or even outsourcing some of your simple work tasks so that you can focus on the ones that matter most. Using the services of a virtual headquarters or virtual office, sometimes abbreviated to a VHQ, can be a great way to free up your time, handling your incoming phone calls and screening them so that you only need to speak to the people that matter.
Outsourcing is one of those things that needs to become habit, as it is impossible to do it all yourself. And while you may feel that you want to put your own personal stamp on it, the lesson that outsourcing can be a way to save your sanity needs to come first. Whether you need custom labels that communicates a rustic feel or you want to personalize your emails more, there are ways and means to outsource this to people who actually have the time to do it!
Schedule in time to just be a mom
When you own a business, it can be very difficult to switch off, putting pressure on your mental health and potentially impeding the valuable time that you have as a family. Many new moms feel guilty about going back to work, so to give your brain a rest and to allow you to just focus on being a mom, try scheduling in some time each day for you to switch off from work, put your phone down and enjoy the unadulterated pleasures of being a mom.
If you are working from the office, then this could mean scheduling time in the mornings and evenings, but if you are working remotely then you have more flexibility to schedule in family time throughout the day. By scheduling in free-family time, you will begin to feel less guilty about the time you spend at work and will start to feel as though you are achieving a more realistic sense of balance.
Don’t be afraid to allow your family and business lives to mix
Although scheduling separate time for family and business is very important, you shouldn’t be afraid to let the two mix. With more women in business than ever and antiquated attitudes to business changing, it is now more widely accepted that family and business sometimes have to mix. If you can’t schedule childcare and have an internal meeting, make it known that your child will be joining you for the call, let them see you in action as a businesswoman and not just as a mom. If you need to travel for work, then so long as you are able to, then there is nothing stopping you from taking your child with you for the trip. Many clients like to see a family-friendly attitude within the businesses they choose to work with, so embrace the fact that you are both a mom and a businesswoman, and don’t feel as though having children is ever something you need to hide.
So there you have it – a few tips to help you in the first few months of life as a mom and a woman in business. Balancing being a mom and a businesswoman may not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.