Every working parent knows how challenging it can be to balance a career with parenting. Parents who run their own businesses experience an additional layer to these challenges. In many ways, parents who are also entrepreneurs find it easy to stretch themselves very thin between the children they are raising and the businesses they are aiming to grow. Both children and new businesses require a lot of attention and time to be healthy and successful, especially in the beginning stages. Balancing entrepreneurship and parenthood takes great care in planning and prioritizing their time to make sure that both the children and their businesses get the care that they truly need and deserve.
Here are 7 tips for balancing entrepreneurship and parenthood:
1. Learn to Delegate
Learning to delegate is the first tip for balancing entrepreneurship and parenthood. There is no doubt that being a parent and an entrepreneur can be difficult to balance. The sooner you realize that you cannot clone yourself to be in two places at once, the better off you will be. Prioritize special occasions and engagements with your kids that will require 100 percent of your time and attention. Make sure you have someone to step in to help you during these times, so that you are able to be present in all ways for your children. Accepting help is hard for some, but dealing with burnout is even harder. Respect that you need the help and plan for this when needed.
2. Take Time for Self Care
The second tip for balancing entrepreneurship and parenthood is to take time for self care. Adopting mindfulness, meditation practices, and other forms of relaxation are a must. Prioritizing your wellbeing will only make you healthier, stronger, more productive, and better all around for your children and for your business. When life becomes too hectic, the first thing to easily get dismissed is the priority of self-care. The likely response is, “I don’t have time for self care.” Here is the thing though… if you don’t make time for self-care, your body will force you to stop in the form of getting sick in one way or another. Stress will take a toll on your health and your ability to be there for your children and your work. Take preventative measures by taking care of yourself. Taking even ten minutes a day for personal relaxation will benefit your children, your work, and your overall ability to succeed at everything you are trying to get done.
3. Create Boundaries and Honor Your Word
Do your best to create clear time boundaries. These are specific times that you define for when you are available and times that you define that you are not available. This is a healthy lesson for your children as well. When you are not available, you are not to be disturbed unless it is urgent. When you are available, however, this means being fully present for your children without a cell phone and any other distractions. This is your time with them and only them, everything else can wait for a bit.
4. Involve Your Children When Possible
A huge motivation for parents who choose to be entrepreneurs is the flexibility in their schedule to be more available to their children. Another motivation along the same lines is that you may be able to thoughtfully include your children in your business as helpers who are important parts of the team. This can be fun and inspiring for both your child and for yourself.
5. Remember that Balance Does Not Happen Every Day and it’s OK
Balance is definitely an overused word and too much pressure is placed on being balanced at all times. It is not possible. It is really easy to fall into a trap where you are working too hard or too much and you feel like you are failing at achieving balance at all times. Balance is not achievable every single day. Things come up and throw you off and that is OK. Remind yourself that your children will benefit from seeing you work extra hard sometimes and that your leadership skills will benefit from stepping away from your work and spending valuable time with your children. A little time management improvements can help make these days happen less.
6. Take Control of Your Calendar
For parents who are also entrepreneurs, it is highly unlikely that the traditional 8 to 5 calendar workday will work. You may find yourself scheduling client meetings while your kids are at school. You may be scheduling conference calls when you’re sitting in the car-parent pickup-line at your child’s school. You will most likely be working on things after their bedtime. Getting to create your own schedule means you can be present at all of your children’s events and you are in control of your calendar, so be mindful, map it out and take control of your calendar versus letting your calendar take control of you.
7. Take a Moment to Refocus Before you Transition From One Role to Another
Another one of the 7 tips for balancing entrepreneurship and parenthood is to take a moment to refocus before transitioning from one role to another. Juggling the responsibilities of entrepreneurship with the responsibilities of parenthood can be tough. In an effort to really be present in each of these roles, when it is possible, try to take a moment to refocus prior to transitioning from one role to another. Turning your cell phone to silent mode and putting away your laptop are obvious things to do when you are going to stop working and focus on your child, but switching your mindset is also really important.