Entrepreneurship & Parenting : 7 tips on the balancing act
As we return to the normality and schedules that September brings I noticed the number of posts by parents about surviving the summer and almost a yearning for the school year to start. The struggle is real people!!
It got me thinking just how challenging holidays are for parents whether they are self-employed or not and how modern-day careers are not conducive to supporting families. I mean what are we suppose to do during those long holidays? Your employer isn’t going to give you the whole of August off! Yet here we are trying to balance holiday clubs, children, workload and not feeling the guilt of being a sh*t parent at the same time.
This is one of the reasons I am self-employed because I don’t want to have permission from someone else to spend time with my daughter. I don’t want to give away my power as a parent, I want to do what works best for me (even if it isn’t the easiest). I am also not knocking those parents that are in a position where they have to do that. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do so.
Just over a year ago marked the birth of my daughter and my new adventure into juggling my own business and the new challenges that come with that. Repeatedly many of you have said you have no idea how I have done it and, to be honest, neither do I!! This has been by far one of the most challenging years of my life however it has also been one of the most rewarding.
I am quick to judge my failings rather than my successes, what I haven’t achieved rather than what I have. So to ensure that I don’t lose my mind on this journey and ensure that I retain some equilibrium this is what I have done.
7 tips on how to balance your career and parenting
I want to share my own experiences of the last year and what I have done to keep some level of balance.
put your self-care above all else
If you have time to do only one thing self-care would be it. Self-care really is the base for success.
I say this to my clients all the time. What do you do for your self-care? Do you schedule in time for yourself? Now, this is all great but as I have discovered it is a little bit harder with children. The last few months I have let my self-care routine slip and the effects have been catastrophic.
The time that I have had I focused solely on my work and business (and scrolled through Instagram procrastinating). What I have come to realise is that before I even start work I need to practice self-care. During those rare nap times, evenings and nursery days I need to do this first before anything else. This can feel so counterproductive and I convinced myself it was but over the last few months I have felt burnt out, demotivated, low on energy and brain fog.
Self-care can be anything from meditation to stretching or reading and can be any length of time. The important thing is that you do something for you each day that helps nourish you in some way and keep your energy high. Let’s face it being a parent is such a giving role and to do it well we need to feel nourished and looked after ourselves.
celebrate and track your successes
As parents, we are well-practised on focusing on what we haven’t achieved rather than what we have. I have done the washing but not vacuumed. I have got one new client but I still need three to hit my target. I have made my children a nutritious meal but I haven’t spent enough time with them. We are so focused on the things we haven’t done, the big goals, that we don’t celebrate the things that we have done well. Does anyone relate?
Taking time to focus on what you have done well no matter how big or small can be extremely powerful and transformative. In many ways, this is practising gratitude for the things you have achieved. This changes the feeling/emotions around these thought processes. Practising gratitude produces a higher frequency emotion than berating yourselves does. Try it now. What feels different between the two?
schedule in work and family time
Schedule time for your family and your work. Trying to do both at the same time will leave you feeling like you are failing at both.
be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself and surrendering to the flow is so important. There will be times that things don’t go to plan, that things change or that you are faced with challenges and it is in these moments that we must be kind to ourselves rather than the opposite. Being kind brings acceptance to whatever situation you face.
be your true self
I wrote a post about this recently. We are all so keen to give ourselves labels or to fit in a box of some sort. The problem with this approach is that we have to lose a bit of ourselves, change something or suppress an aspect of ourselves that doesn’t fit that box. It is why we can sometimes feel out of alignment with what we are doing.
Share your message in your own unique way. Show up as your true self because that will always feel good and right for you.
I wanted to share this quote by Brene Brown; “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
ask for help
Asking for and accepting help is not a weakness but a strength. It takes courage to be vulnerable enough in asking for help. I was programmed to muddle through and pretend like I have all my s**t together, even when I don’t so it took some time to get to this stage. It is still a stage I am learning.
Ask for help, people want to help each other!! Ange Simson of The Gratitude Project talks about this in an upcoming episode on The Wealth in Wellness podcast.
Become aware of your mind
So many of us identify so closely with our thoughts but what happens when we detach from them and watch them from a place of awareness. To know that they aren’t you but just your mind telling you a tale (which you can choose to believe or not).
Imagine what we could achieve if we did not believe the tales that our mind wove in our heads? I’m not good enough. I don’t know anything about business. I am a rubbish parent. I don’t deserve to be happy. What would our lives look like if we didn’t identify with these thoughts and make them our stories?
Finding awareness of mind for me involved space, headspace to be exact, pausing between thoughts before allowing them to create feelings. I did this through meditation, giving space to my thoughts, practising gratitude and self-care which enables me to stay in a more positive mind frame overall.
so, what do you do first?
With everything, there is no one winning combination. What works for me might not work for you. I do know that at the very core of this balancing act is YOU. You have control to create whatever life you want using the tools above as a starting point. It is up to you how you use them.