Every month I put out requests for story ideas, and every month I get responses back asking for more articles on how to balance work and motherhood. Seriously, ladies, I think we need to accept that we are never going to feel a perfect balance between work and motherhood.
And even if you do, it will change in a nanosecond. Your business grows. Your children grow. And your needs change daily. This month, I was asked how to get work done from home if you don't put your kids in day care. Well, there's no blanket answer to such a question. Every mompreneur has different work needs and finds different solutions. I share with you now my five top ways that a mompreneur can get work done from home:
1. Work on the fringe hours of the day. If your goal is to be home with your kids, then you'll need to work some extreme hours either in the morning or at night. It's not uncommon for mompreneurs to send e-mails at 5 a.m. or in the wee hours of the night.
2. Take advantage of nap time. Good sleep habits are non-negotiable for the mompreneur. You need to be no-nonsense about naps and diligent about making them happen. I swear by the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child . I probably get more thank you's for recommending that book than I do for my business.
3. It takes a village. You're a super mom, but you're not Superwoman. You do need help. Consider a baby-sitting co-op with a friend or another mompreneur. I figure if I'm watching one kid, I might as well watch another. Or you could do what I did when I started Stroller Strides: I had my mother-in-law come to the house two days per week so I could get in a big chunk of work.
4. Supportive spouse. Your spouse has to value your being at home with the kids. He also has to realize that you'll need some help. Maybe he can go to work later one day or come home earlier one evening so you can get some child-free work time.
5. Kid Space. Depending on the age of your kids, consider setting up some child-friendly office space. Maybe your youngster has his own computer with kid's games, coloring, etc. Give him some projects and make the supplies special. For instance, he can only play with those toys during "work" time. Do not expect to get phone calls or schedule any meetings during this time. But it's a good time to go through the mail, inbox, etc.
Mompreneurs need to keep expectations in check. We need to keep our sense of humor and be flexible every day. The way I see it, being a mom to small children goes by very fast. I can't believe that Jacob, my inspiration for Stroller Strides, is about to turn 8. I cherish every moment that I was with him before he started school full-time. I will never regret time I spent with him instead of working.
As my kids grow, though, my days are looking more like those of a traditional businessperson. We have the rest of our lives to work 9 to 5 in an office. Who knows? Maybe we won't want to again. For now, I do my best to acknowledge that my days are full of intention as both a mom and a businesswoman.
Lisa Druxman is Entrepreneur.com's "Mompreneur" columnist and the founder and CEO of fitness franchise Stroller Strides. Druxman is also a nationally recognized speaker and author, and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre- and postnatal fitness. She hosts a free monthly webinar during which she answers questions from fellow mompreneurs. If you are interested in participating, contact her at email@example.com.