In my experience, juggling motherhood and business is an enormous challenge, but it comes with some unexpected benefits.
1. You become a multi-tasking machine
You’ll think nothing of making a lunch, eating breakfast, writing a note and calming a tantrum all at the same time. It carries over to your business too. Where a distraction or two may have derailed your day before children, now you’ll be able to cope with multiple distractions with ease.
If you work from home and choose to have your children at home with you like I have, your day will be full of multitasking. I’ve stopped five times while writing this article, to grab a snack for my little girl, to change a nappy, to straighten out a picnic blanket, read a children’s book and play a game. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. You better understand your value and the value of balance
If you had a problem pricing your services appropriately before children you’ll most likely think differently now that you’re even more stretched for time. Becoming a mum made me see work as “time away from my family”. It made me prioritise the work I choose to do myself, the work I choose to outsource and the work I just won’t do. It made me charge more appropriately and it has also made me better value the time I have away from the business.
3. Your children focus your mind on the future
Having children makes you quickly realise it isn’t just about you anymore. Their needs are always front of mind, including their future needs. Suddenly your plans to own a fancy car are moved aside and you’re thinking – how much do ballet and karate lessons cost? What if they need braces? What high school will they go to? How will you make all this happen?
There is nothing like the future opportunity and happiness of your precious children to focus your mind. For me it focused my mind not only on my business goals but what I wanted for my life and my family. Without warning you’ll be whipping together a vision board, an updated business plan and be approaching your business goals with a reinvigorated determination.
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4. Your brain will relish the challenge
After you’ve watched a few dozen episodes of Play School, sung hundreds of nursery rhymes and made your 500th Play-Doh sculpture your mind will crave a different type of stimulation. Where once you might have hated the thought of writing a blog post, balancing the books or systemising your business, doing these tasks will become much more attractive.
5. You discover unexpected thinking time
No I haven’t lost the plot. I know children have a way of interrupting at inopportune moments and making you lose your train of thought. Now where was I? What I’m talking about is the unexpected snippets of time that you didn’t have before children. Think… a 3am feed or an afternoon nap. Instead of vacantly staring at the wall while changing a nappy maybe you’ll come up with a solution to a problem you’ve been working on. It’s just like shower-thinking time (which you don’t seem to get much of as a mum to young children). Believe me, it will happen.
6. You know when to ask for help
We are super women, but we aren’t Superwoman. With the challenges of raising a young family comes the wisdom to know that you simply can’t do it all. In my case I have a weekly cleaner, my eldest is in day care three days a week and my husband helps out… A LOT. Do whatever works for you so that you can best manage your ever-growing commitments.
Raising a young family and running a business at the same time has certainly had its challenging and sleep-deprived moments, but the opportunity to do both – and the satisfaction it’s brought – has definitely made it worthwhile. Plus I’ve discovered that being a mum has given me a whole new set of skills to help my business succeed.
Now let’s hear about your experiences. Are you better at running your business now that you’re a mum or a dad? Dads, would you agree with this list? What would you add or take away?