Studies conclude that maternity leave benefits discourage women from exploring entrepreneurship because running a small business demands your time in a way that is not compatible with raising families (i.e., the company is your baby). While there’s probably some validity to this argument, I’d have to disagree. Most female entrepreneurs I know created their businesses in direct response to their need for a work environment that supported their roles at home. But even with the supposed flexibility of self-employment, work/life balance remains a constant issue for these multitasking mamas.
Because the pursuit of balance seems like a more realistic goal than having it all (and it's much advised to avoid parent Zombie-dom), we’ve shared our favorite tips from mompreneurs Jill Spivak, Christina Simon, and Cheryl Petran—all featured speakers at Club MomMe’s recent event—for keeping the scales aligned.
- Jill Spivak, founder of Sleepy Planet, said to think of your life as a pizza pie. Each slice of that pizza represents your current priorities. And because there are only a finite amount of slices, you cannot overcommit yourself if the activity being contemplated does not fit within the 8 slices. Then organize a schedule around those slices.
- Beyond the Brochure’s Christina Simon shared that we often live lives that are out of balance because we’re too fearful to make the switch to an untraditional career that will ultimately be fulfilling. Although no one likes to take a huge risk and walk away from what feels like a sure thing, don’t fear following your heart and making choices (or mistakes) because nothing is permanent and those big and small decisions don’t define you.
- “Turn off technology!” was a common phrase we heard bounced around. We feel that no explanation is needed, although easier said than done.
- Speaking of shutting down Facebook and switching off the iPhone, Jill reminded that we should be present with our children, spouse, or friends and be present when we are at work. By making these deposits with our loved ones when it counts and managing distractions, we won’t suffer from so much mommy guilt when working on one and not the other.
- Attachment. Detachment. Ferber. Free-play…. Parenting trends are simply that: trends. They come and go and may only represent a portion of your parenting philosophy. So, don’t let one trend make you feel pressure or guilt to be someone you’re not. Embrace what style is best for you to stay balanced.
- Work and parenting don’t leave much room for anything else. But there’d be nothing resembling balance if we didn’t carve out personal time. Because it’s often hard to find free time when working (or it feels selfish if you fly solo), Cheryl Petran suggested incorporating kids into “me” time. You can jog with a stroller, get a mani/pedi, or host dinner play dates with your girlfriends.
How do you find balance? We'd love to know.
~ The Other Sarah