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Working Mothers: Does it Work?

A new report called “Labor After Labor” outlines many of the challenges women face when balancing parenting and running their own businesses. In this article from Fast Company, the Kauffman Foundation (who published the study) states, “As our society shifts to embrace more nontraditional work, we look forward to both policy and practice creating the space for mother entrepreneurs to succeed.” Women-owned businesses contribute $1.6 trillion to the economy!

If you Google “balancing work and motherhood,” your search will reveal more than half a million articles and pages of tips. Whether you have your own kids, take care of aging parents, or have employee staff members who juggle motherhood and demanding schedules, you know the many challenges.

Here are just a few of the tips for caring for that “extra child” (your business) while dealing with your own family:

  1. Develop a help system at home. Whether it’s a spouse, girlfriend, neighbor, relative, or trusted babysitter, create a support network. And then find back-up to that network as well. It takes time, but having others to depend on will alleviate stress. Once you’ve built the network, never feel guilty about actually asking for help. (Be sure to thank the people who have your back!)
  2. Develop a help system at work. This is easier said than done! Analyze who works with you that can take over some of your responsibilities in case of absence or emergency and start training right away. If you don’t have that back-up in place, re-evaluate your staff plan.
  3. Look for “life hacks.” This quick-read (because who has time to read more?) article from Parents Magazine offers some useful advice.
  4. Banish the word “guilt” from your vocabulary. You will have times when you are a less-than-perfect mother or a less-than-perfect boss. Cut yourself some slack.
  5. Do you work for someone else and are struggling with balancing your work and home life? If it’s due to a temporary situation (a child’s illness or school problems), let your boss know (generally) what’s going on and give them a sense of how it may affect your work. If you’re having extreme difficulties with work/life balance, consider job options that will afford you more flexibility (and tap into the help system outlined in tip 1).

Like babies, businesses grow and mature. Sometimes that will make your life less challenging, but once a mom, always a mom. Prepare for uncontrollable situations, don’t beat yourself up over your shortcomings, accept advice and tips from others in your situation…and above all, treat yourself to some “me time” whenever you’re able! Moms are pretty super…but we’re not superheroes!