As entrepreneurs, we all make a solemn promise when we ditch our nine-to-fives for our businesses. We promise to make the most of our newly found flexibility. To strike a better work-life balance and carve out more time for our family.
But have you found that the more you strive to keep this promise, the further away you seem to be drifting from your family?
Recently on Goals Do Come True, I had an insightful conversation with a woman who’s on a mission for parents to be “nice to kids.” Ann McKitrick is a speaker, child development specialist, and founder of Nurtured Noggins, a comprehensive resource hub for parents.
Achieving work-life balance can seem like a far-off goal, especially for business owners with young families. Entrepreneurs often have to juggle multiple roles, which can lead to long working hours and increased stress levels.
But, as Ann pointed out to me, we might be able to achieve a calmer life if we had actionable insights into how to treat our children better and bring them into the business.
I completely agree!
Achieving a win-win
Ann: “There’s no reason why you can’t have a win-win. It all boils down to planning for both things. Building a business takes a lot of energy and momentum, and you can’t always hit the brakes big time to take care of stuff. But at the same time, you still have to pause occasionally to take care of the people that are sitting around you.
So, I think it’s really important to prioritise, plan, and think it through with your family. That’s the way to achieve a win-win.”
Ann’s idea that you can always achieve a win-win with your personal life and business is inspiring. It’s all too easy to think that you have to choose one or the other when, in reality, you can have your cake and eat it too!
I was keen to find out more about Ann’s suggestion to, “Plan for both things.”
Planning around your children
Ann: “I think that creating a space for your child in your workspace, and having them play alongside you while you are doing your work is a great idea. Children just want to be close to you, rather than being stuck in another room. So, it’s really important to bring them closer and help them understand the dynamics.
And of course, it’s going to be different for every child as kids have their individual personalities. Some may be able to manage this while others may not. And if they cannot, then that needs even more planning and strategising.
But essentially, you should give them a spot and communicate with them by saying something like: ‘Mom’s going to work on her computer and you do this.’”
Although sitting at your desk all day with your child only a few feet away may feel distracting, Ann has a proven approach to balance it all out.
Ann: “It’s also important to set a timed schedule, similar to what kids would typically have in schools. You could focus on work for 25 minutes, take a break and grab a snack with them, and then return to your desk and work for another 25 minutes.
Just think it through and create plans based on your child’s needs. Let them participate in the planning if they’re old enough. However, remember to hold it loosely because sometimes it will work and sometimes it won’t, but at least you’ll have a clear strategy and schedule to work with.”
Surround yourself with a community
If you’ve been following my blogs and podcasts for a while, you’ll know that I love to ask all my guests about their big, hairy, audacious goals. Ann’s goal resonated strongly with me – and I think you’ll find it insightful too.
Ann: “I want mothers to feel seen, supported and mentored. Today’s era of parenting is filled with a lot of noise and so, I like to try to help them clarify those voices and find their own voice – their motherly intuition.
My goal is to build a community of mums and right now, I’m doing that. I bring mums together, teach them, and provide a place for them to connect. It’s also an avenue for their kids to connect with each other and learn all the social-emotional things that come from a community.”
It’s human nature to want to be a part of a community. We all need a place where we can feel safe and express our feelings to other people who understand what it’s like to be in our shoes. And sometimes, having that extra modicum of support – whether it’s a mum group or a brainstorming session with fellow entrepreneurs – can be life changing.
Write down your parenting goals
As ever, writing down your goals is an effective way to remain laser-focused and strive towards them. Ann emphasised that this extends beyond professional and health goals; it also applies to parenting.
If your overarching goal is to become a better parent, it’s important to write down three key things:
1. The kind of parent you want to be
2. How you plan to tackle the process
3. What your expected outcomes are.
Is this something you’re willing to undertake this year? What goals have you set around parenting and striking a healthy work-life balance?
I’d love to hear all about them. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’d love my support and accountability for any of these goals, click here to book a complimentary discovery call.