When we decided to have children both Mike and I were in full time employment in two very different industries. I always knew that I didn't want to be one of those mums that devote their life to children (nothing wrong with the concept – but not for me!). It was also important for me not to miss on all the landmarks in my child's development. Mike and I wanted to have something in between and thankfully entrepreneurship offered me just that! This article is for entrepreneurs with small children.
Going Against The Social Norms
I must admit that the cushion of maternity leave made it easy for me to get started. Music Radio Creative was at a time just a small “side kick” and I had the opportunity to make this my first project! I was a fan of establishing routine early on for both of my children and this enabled me to have fixed working hours in the day. In this post I am going to advocate working and looking after your children at the same time.(I am seeing the angry looks of perfect parents who NEVER work and look after the children at the same time!). If you are of that school you probably should stop reading right now. Before you judge me, think! When your parents or grandparents had children – could they afford not to work at that time? Even now in certain communities this is simply a done thing. People have no choice and we live in a society where you are suddenly a bad parent because you have to work and look after your children at the same time. I think that it is wonderful that you get to do what you love and look after your favourite humans at the same time. I think it also teaches children the concept of hard work and patience from a very early stage.
Top Tips For Entrepreneurial Parents
Below are my tips on making this work for parents with children who are not yet in school. I am a 30 year old mum of 2 children. Zara is 5, Zane is 2. When our family expanded I wasn't an entrepreneur. However in a way I owe to my children the choice! Over the last 5 years we have tried many things and here I share all of our “secrets”.
Establish routines from the very start
If you don't schedule your children – they will schedule you! In my experience children with established routines are happier and grow to be more content than those left to their own devices, feeding on demand and driving poor mums nuts in the process! I owe Tracy Hogg my life. Her book “Baby Whisperer” was my bible. If you are a parent to children under the age of 2 – this is the book you absolutely have to get.
Make your office child friendly
There is no shame in having toys all around the room your work in. And I think those who think that they can have a sterile environment around them with small children are certainly living on a different planet :). Having a child friendly office will enable you to do some work whilst children play.
Plan the meals in advance
Create a weekly meal planner for your family, get all ingredients and choose one night where you do most of the big cooking. Choose meals that are healthy and take max 20 mins prep time to make. This way you will not spend hours cooking each day and will be able to utilise that time in more productive ways. I do highlight – healthy meals! Children deserve to have the best start in life and it is your responsibility. You transfer good and bad habits to those little brains, think of this each time you plan meals!
Schedule calls during nap times
I did not yet have a friend who didn't manage to get their child into a healthy routine with Tracy Hogg. If you follow all the steps you will know when the little ones nap. That's your call time!
Have clear working hours
This may sound straightforward but when you work for yourself it really is easy to cross the line. If you set yourself strict working times you will be a happier parent as a result. No use to be a frustrated parent and as a result likely a failed business owner.
Schedule each family member
If everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when they can prepare for this. Further more the whole household simply runs like the fine symphony.
Get help for the most time consuming tasks
For me it was always the house cleaning. It would take me likely 3 hours each week to get the house spotless. How much can I do in 3 hours? How much income can I bring? If you weight it against the cost of hiring the help you can see if that decision makes sense for you. It did for me very early on. It wasn't just the financial benefit but also the change to my mood and attitude to the day. You know it is always the little things in life.
It is OK for things to go against the plan
Finally, don't stress when things don't go as planned. With small humans it is very likely to happen on a weekly basis. Try to remain calms and simply go with the flow. Anything else will not bring the results you hoped for. It is important you enjoy and cherish every day. Just remember that you are one of a very few fortunate people who get to see their children grow every day. Having children is not supposed to be easy but it certainly supposed to be rewarding.