Own a business and run a family ... impossible! Only if you let it be. The 1960s are over, ladies. Time to get to work. What American woman doesn't want to be all that she can be? We are strong, smart, ambitious and able to do it all, just like the men right? Sure, you can run your own business, be the loving supportive wife, nurturing mother and devoted friend all at once. Right? Allow me to let you in on a little secret: men can't do all that without the support of those closest to him, both personally and professionally, that is. Same holds true for the female entrepreneur.
Managing a business is time consuming, sometimes 90 percent of your time is consumed by your business. So how do you do it? How do you find the time to truly balance family, business and friends? Truth is, there really is no balance if you ask me. There are only priorities.
In the words of the late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, "God first, family second, career third." Sometimes easier said than done right? I do believe that God will always be first and foremost and, in all cases, He is the easiest to prioritize at the top when you are constantly in need of prayer for the second and third place winners. It's a no-brainer! Keeping God front and center, in my opinion, is a matter of involving Him in all areas of your life. Seek Him first.
Sometimes, however, your second and third place winners will trade places depending on the day, depending on the moment. Let's be honest for a moment can we? Scenario: You have planned a few hours to spend with your kids because you haven't seen them much all week with the exception of the dinner table and a quick kiss goodnight. You're preparing to head out when you get a call that something needs to be taken care of at your business. It's something that makes the difference between your business closing today or staying open.
Do you say to the caller, "Sorry, I'm getting a mani-pedi with my little one today, I guess the water on the floor may dry up by tomorrow. Grab a few rags and call me when it's dry?" Unless you want to never again afford to take your cutie for a mani-pedi, you'd better cancel your little date. Truth of the matter is your second and third priorities will flip-flop from moment to moment. Maybe you won't win mom of the year because you have chosen to earn a living over being a full-time homemaker (absolutely nothing wrong with that - I wish that were in my future), but you will get to that mani-pedi later. I guarantee it.
Your days are not filled with picnics at the park and play dates. Your day is filled with running the little ones around in between meetings and professional duties in hopes that one of your uber-awesome mom friends will entertain your kiddo for an hour or two. Don't worry, you can stop on your way back through for 10 minutes and enjoy a few pushes on the swing before whisking the little angels off to their next activity that you're not totally involved in. But hey, you're getting them there, right? Doesn't transportation count for something?
Another challenge when owning your own business and having a family arises when you have visitors coming. Oh my goodness, that means we have to clean the bathroom "for real" this time. We actually have to take time out of our over-booked day to entertain! Shoot me now is what you're really thinking. No worries, hone in on your multi-tasking skills and "let" the kids join in on the fun.
The younger ones love cleaning, so take advantage! Plus, while they are playing with rags and Mr. Clean, you can pump out a few more emails and social media marketing posts for your business. After all, kid cleaning is better than no cleaning right?
Meal planning. Crockpot is all I have to say. Wait - you didn't think I fed my family the quick and easy frozen dinner from a box, throw some lettuce in a bowl and call it homemade did you? You thought right, sad but true as it has happened.
The easiest way to provide healthy meals to your family, without having to spend any significant amount of time in the kitchen, is to make crockpot meals. There are a million websites on the internet to give you some great ideas. One of my favorites is www.crockpotladies.com. Who doesn't love a good old dump-and-go meal? I always adjust the ingredients to make sure it's healthy, but, when push comes to shove, I am never too proud to bust out the old frozen chicken pot pies in a tin pan.
When you are running a business, I sometimes remind the kids they are super lucky to have food on a plate. During the school year, we run on a tight schedule having mealtime pretty much the same time every night. Typically, with my work schedule, there are at least two nights during the week that I really pay attention to the good and hearty meals. The kids help by setting the table and everything works like clockwork.
Summertime is a whole different ball game more like free for all and sometimes we actually forget to eat (this just happened yesterday). Well, I'm sure some of you my age remember the old saying from back in the day: "There are starving children in Africa, so eat up." Think about that the next time you forget to feed your kids they will survive a night!
In all seriousness (not that I haven't been serious on all the above), running a business and running a family is possible. Keeping God in control of everything is key. Then, you do your best to juggle 50 sticks. Just remember, it is ok to let one fall, or two or three. Running from fire to fire trying to put them out without everything burning to the ground is a way of life.
So if you're ready to start on your adventure of running your own business, do not expect it to be smooth sailing because it never really will be and that's ok. At the end of every day you lay your head down on the pillow, just like everyone else does, thankful that you made it through the day. Then you wake up five hours later, puffy eyed and ready to see how thin you will be stretched today. It is a viscous cycle, but I wouldn't give it up for the world. How can you love this cycle? Choose a business that you have passion for. Then, just like when your family drives you absolutely nuts but you love them anyway, your passion will see you through!