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The Juggling Act – Balancing Motherhood and Self-Employment

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The last seven weeks have been fabulously fun and busy in equal measure.  But it hasn’t been without its frustrations.  As much as I have enjoyed having the little people in my life around, it has been a constant juggling of way too many balls.  Trying to fit in client meetings, write CVs, up-date the blog and social media sites while creating some new workshop material has been something of a balancing act and has often taken a back seat to the more important tasks of baking, refereeing fights, dealing with sick children, organising playdates, beach and park visits and a bit of Lego building.

I’ve had a few conversations recently with other working mums who, whilst they love being a mum, also need to be earning an income and spending time on building their business.  When you are working for yourself and are responsible for doing everything this can sometimes be overwhelming.  So how do you please everyone and maximise your time when you have the summer school holidays to deal with?

Embrace the Crazy

I appreciate that this might sound a little….well crazy.  But trust me if you don’t you might just go a little crazy! Being flexible and finding some balance has been the key to me getting anything done these holidays as well as to ensuring we’ve all had some fun along the way.  Scheduling time in advance and having clear priorities for both the business and the children, with time slots set up to devote to each has been crucial.  It’s meant some days I’ve had to get up a little earlier in the morning and work again once the kids have gone to bed.  Sometimes it’s even meant doing some work on the weekend but it’s been worth it. 

Scaling back the usual work and focusing on the essentials has also been key.  By focusing on what’s most important and actually working during the time I’ve chosen to work I’ve also managed to cut out a lot of distractions which has meant I’ve been much more productive. 

Switch Off

Technology is of course a great tool to keep your business ticking along but if possible it’s a good thing to avoid or at least minimise answering calls, checking emails and up-dating social media when you’re supposed to be spending quality time with the kids.  I’ve been guilty of this in the past and my kids always notice and comment.  Sometimes I’ve needed to remind myself that one of the reasons I started this business was to gain more freedom and have the flexibility to spend time with the family. Don’t be a slave to the technology. 

Get Support

Sometimes you just need to ask for help.  There will always be days where you need to focus on work and work alone; so having a network that you can tap into for some relief and help with childcare is essential.  It might be grandparents, it might be other parents from school or perhaps even a holiday programme that you can take the kids along to on a casual basis. 

When we are running our own businesses we tend to do everything ourselves but that’s not always realistic - we can’t be the expert at everything.  Maybe it’s possible to outsource some of the work that you like the least or are simply not that good at as those are the tasks that tend to slip to the bottom of the pile.  Help from a contractor or virtual assistant so you can have some peace of mind knowing that the essential work is still being done while you’re having fun with the kids could be an option.

If the funds to outsource the work is an issue however could you consider a contra deal?  Who do you know that also runs their own business that might be prepared to do some work in return for something you have to offer?  Maybe you know a marketing consultant, an accountant or a social media expert that could help out and who could benefit from your expertise in return.

Being a mum and running a business takes commitment, focus and energy, especially during the school holidays.  With so many balls to juggle it’s possible that things might not always go as planned but go easy on yourself and take a breather when you need to.  

Scaling back the work over summer has given me and the children a much needed break from the normal work and term time routine and we’re all feeling re-energised and ready to get back into it.

How do you cope with the school holidays?  Share your tips with us in the comments.

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Guest Saturday, 24 October 2020

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