Mums want to be in business – we love using our minds, feeling independent and recognised for our abilities – but we also seriously love our babies and want to spend quality time with them. It’s tough, but it can be done with some regimented planning and a supportive ‘village’ around you. Here’s my story and five strategies that have helped me find balance as a Mum in Business.
I have two beautiful girls – four and two. I manage a team for three days a week at Accru Chartered Accountants, and own and run a landscaping business with my husband. I fit in our business on my train commute, during sporadic naptimes on my home days, and after 7pm each night once the girls are in bed. So here’s what works for me…
1. Make sure you exercise
Being fit and healthy is essential so you can look after everything and everyone else. Try and keep on top of your exercise routine. Business Mums have so much in their brains – business, kids, partners, house – you need this time to calm and focus yourself.
Book in the same times each week on your fridge calendar (don’t have one? Set one up!), so your partner knows when they are required to be ‘on duty’. Once this becomes a routine, it’s easier to sneak away. I let this slide for a LONG time, and kept paying my monthly fee for the cheapest gym in the world – but eventually I booked a personal trainer to help me. His advice was simple – 1) Drink more water 2) Eat less sugar 3) Exercise for half-an-hour three times a week. The half-hour routine with weights training has provided a noticeable difference quickly – which helps justifying the time away from home!!
I’m also a HUGE Pilates fan – if your gym offers classes, try and include a session each week – the core strength and stretching is GOLDEN when combatting pains from carrying toddlers around and picking things up all day.
Take a multi-vitamin! Honestly, my mother in law follows me around shaking vitamin containers – “Have you taken your B?” and I roll my eyes – but seriously, a decent, daily multi-vitamin seems to make a difference.
2. Outsource the home stuff
Not always an option with budget constraints – but if you can employ a house cleaner to come and scrub the bathrooms, mop the floors and get rid of the dust – it’s worth the outlay! This will give you a few extra hours during naptimes and after 7pm to spend on your business work.
If your partner needs to help with the kids, outsource a lawn mowing person and a mobile car cleaning person to take the pressure off them as well – win/win. For me this means my days home with the girls consist mainly of washing, general tidying up and SPENDING TIME WITH THEM – amazing!
3. Accept help
Grab offers from in-laws for childcare, don’t feel guilty about it! If your children are day care age, and if by some chance the stars align and an available day pops up for each child in different rooms at day care, grab it. A day of childcare is a day of incredible productivity for your business. On these heavenly days, take breaks, go for a walk, do a load of washing if you must, but stay in the office for the best part of the day and catch up on emails and admin. You’ll feel a million times better.
4. Build a ‘village’ to suit your business and your strengths!
A Mum in Business needs a small village of experts to help her. Make sure you have a decent accountant and a strong business admin team among them. Focus on your core business and outsource the things you need help with or that aren’t your strong points.
For our landscaping business, my ‘village’ consists of a (very underpaid!) accountant (me) who doubles as bookkeeper and social media content writer; a contracted ‘business helper’ for website and SEO; a contracted graphic designer, and a sales/event expert (my husband’s best mate).
Find people who understand your business and can answer your questions quickly so you can get projects moving as fast as possible. Time is everything for Mums in Business. A team of advisors that you can contact after hours and get a response the next day will help you put all your amazing ideas into action.
I’d also recommend being part a couple of interactive Business Mums groups on Facebook (if you haven’t already) as they offer valuable support for all sorts of day-to-day concerns. There are tonnes around – pick ones that have a positive vibe, and you’ll find someone to talk to at any hour!
5. Don’t let guilt get the better of you
Being a business mum CAN BE DONE, and without sacrificing quality much time with your toddlers too. As they grow up, I believe it’s fantastic for children to see their mum in action pursuing her dream, and instil these business ideals in them also.
Is your business really taking off?
If your business is growing exponentially and you would like a great chartered accountant to be part of your ‘village’, please get in touch with me! Accru has a team of dedicated accounting, tax and business advisory professionals across Australia and can match our team to your needs. We specialise in providing outsourced accounting to fast growing business.