Have you ever tried to work on your business with a toddler at your feet, a partner off at work and an ever growing pile of emails and missed telephone calls? Welcome to my day and that of many other mumpreneures around.
When I was first pregnant I went to great lengths setting up my office to make sure that it was “child friendly”. Naively I had thought that by bringing my baby into a world where I work from home, she would adjust and understand that quiet is needed when I am on the telephone and patience is required when I need to answer an urgent email. Now I just look back and laugh! What was I thinking?
My daughter is 2.5 years now; and realistically it took me almost 20 months to figure out how to wear all 3 of my hats and not feel like I was letting anyone down.
At first I struggled with learning to work from home. If you haven’t done this before you may be surprised to realize how different it is to “going off to work”. All of a sudden you are sitting at home and you can see the washing that needs to be done, the floors that need mopping the dishes that need washing and you feel like you should have a clean house with everything done by the time your partner gets home. Yet this wasn’t working for me. If I continually focused on the house everyday I was never going to get work done.
Then I had the never-ending list of playgroups, play dates and catch-ups for my daughter. We are lucky to live in a beautiful town that really caters for young families. If you want to there is a playgroup or activity on everyday that you can take your children to. I just had to draw the line somewhere. If I said yes to everything I would never be home. I had to make a conscious effort to find a way that I could be a mum, a wife and an entrepreneur without going crazy.
So what works for me?
1. When my daughter is awake my time is spent with her. I don’t try to work when she is awake as inevitably she wants to help and that just leads to frustration for both of us.
2. I make the most of her sleep times – I get work done then both during the day and at night. If there are telephone calls I need to make they get done during her daytime nap. When I am working I have developed:
- A schedule with repetitive tasks so that I cross them off as they are completed.
- A to do list with one off jobs that I need to focus on;
- Timesheet to help keep me accountable for those few hours that I do get to work.
3. Weekends are my time to spend with my family, do housework, washing and everything else that us mum’s have to do!
4. When I need some extra help I ask. Whether that be through delegating work in my business or simply asking my husband for a little extra help when I need it.
Sure life isn’t perfect and there are days that don’t go to plan at all. That is life as an entrepreneur though – you must learn to play the cards you have been dealt and make the most of every situation you find yourself in.
Lorrie Brook is the founder of ourchildren.com.au, Australia’s first website offering tools to help separated parents keep better records, communicate more effectively and avoid unnecessary legal action and conflict. Lorrie is passionate about protecting children throughout separation and ensuring they are not used as ‘messengers’ between their parents. She is also the proud mum to her little girl Tehya.