As women, we can often feel guilty when we take the time to do something for ourselves. The nurturing aspect of our DNA seems to be set to constant concern regarding our family and those around us. When it comes to the decision of running our own businesses, I have seen female entrepreneurs worry how everyone else is going to succeed if they devote their time to a startup. I have watched my sister-in-law balance her desire to take care of her family while working. Seeing so many others multitask gives me a roadmap for how to successfully approach my work responsibilities with my significant other and family responsibilities.
Skills building and instilling a motivation to succeed
Unlike having a traditional job where your kids won’t see you, you can typically run a startup or small business from a home environment. This provides a great example for your kids about how a business runs and what goes into making it a success. I have friends who even include their kids in work — from stamping envelopes and making copies to filing.
It’s a great way to spend time with your kids and make them feel a part of what you are doing. It also ignites their own entrepreneurial ability and starts them off on a right foot. They can also build work skills at an earlier age, by typing, video editing, using social media, coding and more.
In fact, a study from Harvard concluded that mothers who work can increase their daughters’ future career prospects. The study also found that women who grew up with working and entrepreneurial moms earned approximately 23% more than women whose mothers didn’t work. They were also more likely to hold down a supervisory or leadership role.
In this way, you are not only helping your kids become more successful, but you are also pushing the momentum forward on female entrepreneurship and leadership that is so necessary for future generations.
Teaching and learning life lessons
You can also choose to use your time as an entrepreneur as a way to teach children about life, including how to handle challenges. Most people grow up ill-prepared to take on the real world. The natural inclination is to shield kids and family members from what’s impacting us. We don’t want to seem like we can’t handle what’s been put in front of us.
Choose to take a different perspective by embracing these situations as a way to explain to your family how you addressed the problem. Use the experience to teach your kids a lesson in ethics and values, problem-solving, or emotional intelligence development. Again, they are getting to experience something that other children may not, so you are putting them at a competitive advantage for later in life. You are also doing your job as a parent by teaching them something.
A friend of mine asks her kids what they would do in a certain situation, listens to their ideas, and discusses how they may or may not work. She said it not only gives her quality time with her kids, but it also calms her down when she has been stressed about that problem and often offers some interesting perspectives on the situation.
What makes the constant juggling act that many women do in all their roles work is a well-oiled machine of organization built around a schedule. Mostly working like clockwork, this schedule is based on everyone’s activities. Running the business often comes early in the morning and the evening to accommodate family events and lessons when others are around.
Many things will not go as planned. Your clients, children and family members have other ideas about how you should spend your time. These ideas typically pull you away from a productive workday. Be flexible and patient to allow some of that happen while taking control of other situations to ensure you still have the time to help clients and keep the business going. You’ll make more money on some days than others with your regimen. If you take care of everything you can, there’s no reason to feel guilty.
Delegating and investing in support
My friends often reach out to family and friends to do some babysitting or assist with other errands so they can get their work done faster, which leads to more family time. It’s OK to delegate some of your work by getting a virtual or in-house assistant who can take the load off of you.
As you grow your business, maybe you want to reach out to other mothers looking to put their writing, coding, graphic design or other skills to work from home. This is a mutually beneficial way to address any concerns you have about running your business.
You can even reach out to a mentor who can show you how to get rid of the guilt that could be blocking additional business growth as well as assist in creating a schedule and strategy that better divides your time up between responsibilities. Whatever it takes, pat yourself on the back in order to truly achieve the success you are capable of and deserve.
Angela Ruth is a co-founder, Customer Care Ninja, and Director of Marketing at Due. Let’s change the way payments are made.
This article originally appeared on Business Collective. BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.
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