As a mompreneur, I have to be CRYSTAL clear on my boundaries. I cannot waste TIME. (And if you are as intentional about time as I am, you may want to be sure you either read to the end or scroll to the end now to get my FREE 30 meals under 30 minutes download!) I need to have set business hours, set income goals, and my family must know what these are as well. When I violate my business hours, I lose trust with my family that they can have me 100% during my off time. I lose trust with my kids that I really will "be there in 15 minutes to help...." Every time I push it off just a few more minutes to finish a project.
Am I perfect in this?
But I sure as heck try my best to always be impeccable with my word.
It helps me to stay true to my values and priorities, which then helps my business stay consistent.
Let me share an experience that made the truth of the idea of always having clear boundaries and clear business hours very CLEAR:
About four years ago my husband was working 65+ hours a week, and was an anxiety ridden zombie. I was just a year or so in on building my first online business to help ease our financial needs, and allow him to scale back his hours. I was highly motivated to do this. I was SO DONE with vacations and outings without daddy. I was DONE with my date nights being ruled by his work schedule and project deadlines. We had 4 children at the time, ages 11, 8, 6, & 2 and "daddy's work" took priority over almost any plans we made.
Don't mistake me.
I DO believe in making your paying career a priority. But I have been bold enough to cut a boundary that says that it is NOT THE TOP priority. Going against what our current culture is telling us day to day. And you know what? I'm going to throw this out there too- that the reason I got brave enough to do this, and BELIEVE it, and act on it, was because I was building a business too, and it was bringing in income. I had legs to stand on.
Once my income was bringing in at least half of what my husbands was, I refused to go along with my husband's ideas of keeping our work hours where they were so that we could just save a ton of $ and have a huge savings and retirement.
I flat out refused to put MONEY as the top priority.
Yes. We need money to carry us through experiences and to feed and clothe us. But we don't need a TON of it to live happily and to enjoy life.
We talked it out and I told him that I would rather have a husband in my family vacation photos.
I told him I would rather cut out the all expense paid resort option to feed us on vacation and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the cooler in the car than have him be a zombie every weekend from working crazy hours with a huge workload.
I told him I would rather he cut his hours and BE PRESENT with his kids and his wife and ENJOY life on mini trips and getaways, than be a slave to the time clock just hoping to see a huge cushion of green in our accounts and try to just have one week a YEAR to see us. (Yes, thats how it was going for the 8 years previous.)
My husband's boss is not a great people manager. His boss is a wonderful person, I must tell you. He is generous and kind- but a self declared workaholic. This workaholic addiction makes it difficult for him to see the value in NOT working all the time. He sees value in profit and value in always DOING to make more profit. He values his employees, but has a hard time understanding that they do not see profit margins like he does. As the "one ring to rule them all." My husband had mentioned small things a time or two about needing more time off, to which his boss would reply "well next year it will be different....." but it never was.
I asked my husband to schedule a chat with his boss to talk about raising his wage, changing their pay from commission and salary to hourly, and to let him know he wouldn't be working more than 50 hours, ever. I asked that my husband make it very clear to his boss that this job is affecting our marriage, and our family relationships and our ability to make family memories. I reminded my husband of my income, so he could have a bargaining chip if his boss went the way of threatening his job.
My husband agreed that something needed to change, but at this point was so anxiety ridden about his deadlines due to how his salary and commission worked, he was paralyzed by fear.
Fear that his boss might fire him on the spot for asking for a change in pay scale. Fear that his boss might not understand his needs and think he was trying to get out of work. So many things. But I knew that if this guy, this Boss, knew my husband at all, he would know that my husband is 100% all the time. He should know by now that my husband has the highest of high integrity, the highest of high loyalty and the highest of high work ethics. So if my husband says he needs something, he better listen. (Something I've learned in our marriage. :) )
A few weeks went by and I asked my husband if he'd had "the chat."
They had not.
I was not pleased with that answer.
I threatened to email his boss myself if he didn't make a plan for "the chat" by the next two days.
You might question why I had to nag my husband about this, but please just respect that our relationship at this time was just that way and that really WAS the best way to get things to change. My husband needed permission to speak up. My husband needed the encouragement and the reminders and yes, the ultimatum. And it was ok.
Well, "the chat" happened.
My husband said that he just told his boss that he was going to lay it all out on the table. Every frustration, every consequence happening due to his strict schedule, reasons he should be paid more, and why the wages needed to be paid differently, my frustrations as his wife, etc. He said he was SO scared he was shaking and even got emotional. That is RARE for my husband.
He said that his boss just stared at him. Taking it all in with honest curiosity and care.
And when it was all over, they came to some agreements, and his boss actually asked if he could come to our home and apologize to me in person. Which he did.
I appreciated that. But I will tell you I was fuming. I was FUMING that this Boss did not see my husband who is by FAR the best employee this man had ever had, is by FAR the most talented employee he'd ever had and genuinely LOVED the job, and was making his small business flourish like it never had, for his full value on his own.
(Employers- take note!)
When he came to our home, he was very humble and kind. But then he said something that snapped my head up.
"You know, I agree that your husband needs to be paid more. But I do feel like I've been generous in his end of year bonuses. I mean he did get a check for _____ last year." And glanced at me with an expectant look.
To which, I replied with absolute clarity and I admit an edge of coolness,
"You can spout any amount of money to me that you'll promise to pay. And I appreciate this job, I really do. But let me make this clear: No amount of money makes up for lost time."
With that reply, he slowly downcast his eyes and nodded his head in understanding.
Since "the chat" and since that meeting in our home, my husband's relationship with his Boss has been amazing. The trust they have in one another is unbeatable in most business settings. They truly are friends. My husband is back in the photos. My husband is happier than I think I've ever seen him. He continues to make his priorities known and advocates for his value consistently. There is no more fear any more about money or about his job security. Worth "the chat" to get clear? That is what I call a No Brainer!
You see my friends, you MUST draw boundaries for yourself.
And in this context, PLEASE draw boundaries with what is IMPORTANT to you.
Keep commitments to yourself and those around you.
Nothing builds trust faster (including trust with yourself) than keeping your word.
Nothing builds trust faster than taking CARE of those you value.
Nothing builds trust faster than being INTERESTED in those you value, and showing it.
My husband was losing a LOT of trust with his family. And without boundaries drawn on his true priorities in his career setting, there simply wasn't a foundation of trust to be built! Changes were promised that were then overlooked by money making opportunities.
MONEY does not build trust.
Money doesn't build a home.
Money doesn't sustain a marriage.
Money doesn't sustain trust with your children.
Keeping your word, and making visible changes to keep your word when things come up, builds trust.
And to keep our word, we must have our boundaries drawn. Do you KNOW what your priorities are? Do those you work with KNOW your priorities? Does your spouse know your priorities?
Understanding the priorities of my spouse and seeing him keep his word on those through his actions allows me to trust his future actions.
When we lose clarity on our priorities, we lose clarity on our boundaries, and then we will lose clarity on our actions, and then lose trust with those involved.
My mompreneur friends.
What you are doing matters.
The service you are willing to offer is VALUED.
But you get to take the time to plan, and to use resources to make sure you honor your business hours that you set while you are in your home. Sure- they'll change as the kids schedules change. But you MUST have them, and you MUST honor them. Your business will always struggle, and so will your confidence without set business hours. I guarantee it.
What does this look like for me? Its changed yearly- I'll be clear on that. But right now I have my 2.5 year old at home with me so business hours are from 10-3 on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday - Friday I work 2-3 hours sometime in the day- usually the morning. I have a conference call with my team on Tuesday evenings for 1 hour. I block the times I'll be working in my big desk calendar on Monday based on the projects and things I need to get done that week. I do my BEST to not work at all on Saturday or Sunday besides a few social media stories. This schedule gives me a good 20 hours a week, very part time to consistently build my business and show up when and where I need to show up.
Make a system of your own and realize it won't be perfect, but it is necessary to do your best.
All my love and belief-
While we are talking about being resourceful, I've got a PDF with 30 family dinner recipes that are ALL under 30 minutes that I'd love for you to have too. :) It's kind of essential for us mompreneurs who prioritize health to have these kinds of things in our kitchens. DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY HERE. 30 Meals <30 Minutes.