As a working mom, it can be hard to juggle the needs of the family with the needs of your work.
I get it.
It has taken me years to master this tug of war of time and priorities.
When I first started building a business from home in 2008, it was out of financial need. Ok... there was a little bit that was simply ME needing something of my own as a stay at home mom with 3 very young kids since working outside the home wasn't financially a feasible choice with daycare costs. The business I chose was a "safe" business. Meaning.... I knew I could earn money instantly, and that it would be a steady stream. It was also "safe" because it was in high demand. The only negatives? I was tied down to my customer's schedules. It was something that was only in high demand if I was flexible to their time schedules. AND it was something that I couldn't charge as much as I wanted. There was a definite maximum I could charge. And I was charging it. It was capped time wise and I was capped income wise. Sharing my income goals with my kids while running this business wasn't something I ever did. Because.... well... the income was used minutes after putting it into the bank. Yes. It was THAT season of life for us. And I had no real control over the income anyway.
When I started a new business that had growth potential I could control in 2014, I was unfamiliar with sharing income goals as I'd never been able to simply state an income number and actually be in control of achieving it. Totally new mindset about income for me. It took me several months to actually even SET an income goal because I was still trying to wrap my mind around the concept. I was actually SCARED to set a goal, because I am a perfectionist, and I knew that if I didn't actually reach that goal it would be a HUGE personal issue. (Yes, I've worked through those limiting behaviors and beliefs, thank the Lord.)
One morning I was working and my daughter who was 10 years old at the time asked me what I was doing. I said, "working." Ya. That wasn't what she wanted to hear. No mom, what are you "DOING?" I said, "I'm earning income for our family."
Then the question we always learn to embrace as parents:
I honestly couldn't answer her with a clear, concise answer. I had NO real goals with my income or my work hours. I was just working because I ..... should? I guess?
Man. That sounded SO lame.
There is power when you actually get clear about what you are doing and why and actually SPEAK it out loud and make it REAL.
Try speaking your goals, struggles and purpose out loud as much as possible my friend. You'll be amazed what happens to your life when you live in reality. :)
My daughter's question was legit. I looked at her and she REALLY wanted to know. It hit me.
I am her role model right now.
She wants to know why I do what I do.
What importance does it hold over other things I could be doing?
Why do I choose to work from home instead of outside the home?
Why do I choose to work at all for income when daddy has a decent job?
Why do I choose to be on the computer at this time right now?
I didn't have clear answers to these things.
But I realized in that moment, that I needed to.
I set aside time over the next week to write down my goals. To really dig deep and think about WHY I was doing what I was doing. What were my visions and purpose? What was it that I was doing all of this for? WHO was it for? WHY?
I called a family meeting a few weeks later. In that space with my 4 children (I now have 5) and husband, I laid out my goals. I laid out my work time. I laid out the possibilities and the family trip that I was working for.
I looked my kids in the eyes and told them that I was going to earn enough to take our family to Disneyland 4 months from that date. I explained that all of our family fun up until that point had taken some debt, because daddy's job just didn't earn enough for us to have much extra for fun. But I was going to work this business to CHANGE that. This trip was going to be 100% CASH.
The pit that developed in my belly from FEAR at that moment caught me off guard.
Why did I feel so scared?
What have I done?
What is this feeling?
Friends... it was the fear of commitment. It was the fear of committing to something come hell or high water. I was NOT about to disappoint those faces. I was going to do WHATEVER it took to make this goal a reality! Telling them. Committing to them. Is what it took for me to get my act together and really COMMIT to doing everything it took to make this business venture work. I realized that I had never really committed to something like this before. I had always given myself an "out" when things got hard. I had always analyzed things to death before undertaking them to ENSURE my success. This was the FIRST time in my life that I had set a goal that I hadn't been able to see the clear picture on exactly HOW it would happen, doing something that was new for me. I was clearly afraid of success. I was clearly afraid of the accountability of leadership to my team and myself that would make this goal a reality. My intuition told me loud and clear however.... that I NEEDED to do this. This would be healthy for me.
So I created a bank account and I worked my butt off being 100% diligent and dependable to this new business to put $ in that account EVERY single week. I showed up for ALL the things. I tried lots of new things. I learned not to take failure personally. I learned SO MANY lessons you guys! Lessons that are now second nature. Lessons that have propelled me to a whole other level of living. Lessons that have elevated my ability to accomplish and to manage and to express gratitude and love and compassion. Lessons that took me to become the person I needed to become, to reach that goal. I told my kids where we were at regularly. When they wanted me to play with them extra, I simply reminded them of the goal and they easily went off to play on their own. This skill of them learning to entertain themselves has proved to be one of the BEST skills that they learned as I developed consistent working habits at home! No, they don't have electronics. I'm talking learning to open the coloring book and get out the crayons. I'm talking about making forts and creating adventures WITHOUT me. It was a wonderful transition of learning self leadership for myself AND my children. There were rarely any disappointments due to me working from home and taking time to do that. The kids started getting used to it. They understood WHY I was doing what I was doing. I became transparent about the people I was helping, and how the money part of it worked. It was awesome.
Sure, the motivation from the fear of disappointing my kids was a sort of annoying accountability type motivation. Remember, I'm a go-getter. The 4.0 perfectionists that has control over ALL my outcomes. ;) I had actually put my goals out there and accepted that it was going to be hard. The goals were out of my head and into the world, and not just anyone knew-- it was those I cared for the MOST. It was scary and new for me. I had SAID out loud that I would earn a certain amount, and then had to figure out how to make it happen. It gave me anxiety it was so new.
Think about it! All of these things happened once I told my kids my goals.
My success rate changed dramatically once I committed to the goals out loud and told my kids their part in it.
This propelled me personally to tackle even harder goals.
Just 18 months later in 2016, my business was at an all time high. I was earning more income than I had ever earned working the small hours I was working.
Then our family was thrown into the unknown when I got pregnant with our last baby. The pregnancy was unlike any of the previous 4. Ultimately ending with a premature baby, a mom that wasn't able to work regular hours for over a year due to physical and mental trauma, and the business folded in half by the end of 2018.
A really amazing aspect about all of this, is that the skills that the kids learned while I was working toward specific goals they knew about, set them up for coping with the hardships of those years. They knew how to get along without me. They knew that moms and dads had hardships and goals and failures. They knew that when mom wasn't working, that meant a change in income. I honestly think that unless kids are told these things they just don't understand and can't be expected to behave in a way that shows us they understand what is at stake. My kids were sensitive about money requests and understood when we didn't have a big vacation that year. When I was literally laying on the couch for MONTHS, they pitched in. They did meals. They did laundry. They were willing to do extra. They understood so well.
I distinctly remember one afternoon after a hard conversation with the school councilor regarding the anxiety of my 8 year old son at school during this family crisis. I sat in my recliner, where I'd been for months crying my heart out to God. Asking why we had to go through all of this trauma. Expressing the fear I had on the effect it was having on our family. When peaceful voice spoke to my heart and shared this message,
"Your kids need to see this. Your kids will have experiences in their lives later on when they will remember this. They will see how the family pitched in. They will see how dad went shopping and did laundry. They need to see the neighbors bringing dinner and cleaning the house. They need to see your humility and your strength during this trial. This experience will be a defining moment in how they learn to deal with struggles in their own lives."
After that experience, I was able to bear the struggle a bit better. I understood that they were taking it all in. Just like when I was creating big dream boards and marking off goals and taking the family to Disneyland and out to dinner to celebrate goals reached. Sitting in this chair with gratitude and strength was JUST AS POWERFUL for their growth and understanding of compassion and how humans help one another and cheer for the successes of others.
SO many lessons and skills were learned once I was transparent about my business and my goals with my kids.
They became my partners in home business.
Those kids were no longer a reason I couldn't work... they were the reason I COULD work. They cheer me on!
And now, after having 2019 with my full health back I've been crawling back into the business world and earning income again and taking some risks and you guessed it-- I've been transparent with my family about what is happening. They know the goals. They understand what I'm doing.
And you know?
I think my oldest, who understands pretty well everything I'm doing, respects me and is proud of me for what I'm doing. She already talks about the businesses she is going to create as a mom.
I LOVE hearing that. I LOVE knowing that she knows what it takes to create and raise a sacred family and hold all the power of a Joy filled life designed by God AND work and create opportunities while you serve with your talents and gifts for the benefit of others beyond your home & kids.
Share your goals with your kids my friends! Let them see how you deal with failure, struggle and also how you celebrate the SUCCESSES! Give yourself some CREDIT and they will learn how to give themselves credit for all they do in life.
Here are 5 steps to successfully express your work goals & needs and get it done with your kids:
Consider the ages of your kids so you present your business hours and goals in ways they can process and tie a reward for THEM along with the reward of your business goal. Kids under 5? Simply let them know that mommy is at the computer because there are people outside in other buildings and homes that need her help. Create a few activity stations they can play at when you are working hours when they are around. Play dough, blocks, washable water paints, puppets, dress up, etc. They will look forward to your work time when they see the effort you put into their care. Better yet..... hire a day care provider for the few hours you work when they are awake. You will get more done doing this I can guarantee you! I speak from way too much experience. With kids this young, I suggest associating a fun activity when you reach a goal. If you have a goal to earn $100, let them know what will happen when you reach it. When my kids were really young I told them we'd go to Frozen Yogurt or the park when I earned certain leadership promotions. Then, when you DO reach a goal, STICK TO YOUR WORD and go do that activity. With older kids you can simply present your goal, why you want to achieve it, what it means to YOU and then express what it means to THEM. What will the income do for them? What are you asking them to do when you are working hours when they are home? Be clear and specific with a voice and attitude of gratitude for their part in your motivation and ability to do this.
Actually write the goal on paper and post it where they can regularly see it, and consider making tick marks for milestones and writing out what those milestones are. Color them in or paste paper over it as you hit them so they can see the progress and be constantly reminded that mommy is working on something important and ---> that she is succeeding. This visual aid teaches them how to set goals and make them into milestone markers too. I can't tell you enough how the benefits of writing my goals into timelines and sharing this with my kids has shown up in how they now plan out their own school projects or personal projects they want to achieve or create.
Celebrate the successes with defined rewards. ALWAYS. Don't ever skip out on the celebrations of what went well. Whether thats a dessert night out, or a family dance party with loud music at 4pm on a random Wednesday afternoon. Celebrate ALL the wins and milestones. My kids have learned a LOT about their mindsets on what should be celebrated. When they reach their goals for book reports or science projects or finishing a recital when they were scared to perform----- we celebrate. It might be a high five and a big hug with a small candy bar. It might be a single rose presented after the performance. It might be simply showing up to the debate speech and seeing me on the front row celebrating them being there. Whatever it is, define what the reward will be when you reach a milestone on the way to the goal or the goal itself and make sure you DO IT/BUY IT/Create it. Whatever it is.
Be transparent but resourceful about the struggle and allow your family to cheer for you. When it gets hard, tell them it's hard. When you feel anxiety about that next project or product launch, gather the family together and let them know you are struggling. Allow your spouse to cheer for you and accept it graciously! Allow your kids to genuinely tell you they know you can do it. Just like you do when they are learning hard or new things. If you are scared you will miss the goal and need new ideas, get with your mentors and find out what they did in that situation. If they are the right mentors, they will have done exactly what you are trying to do and will have perspective and resources to offer that will help.
Set work hours and stick to them as best you can to help the family stay as balanced as possible while you work to achieve your work goals. Even if that means you change it up often and have to keep practicing doing it. Being able to feel "balanced" is a matter of time management and emotional management. Balance in and of itself in world where the only constant variable is CHANGE, is impossible. When you perceive balance, it is simply the movement of small shifts keeping the consequences of changes happening minimal. But nothing is really standing still in this life. NOTHING. You can bet on that! So when I say balance, I'm simply stating that you get to work at it constantly and setting hours is one way that I've found to be a continual help in working while raising a family.
Being the best YOU you can be is where success is found. Sharing your goals on the way to becoming that person and sharing the process of setting the goals, reaching milestones, and celebrating them, and learning from the failures are LIFE skills that your kids can only benefit from.
Thank you for being YOU.
Thank you for being the person that wants to serve the world AND raise a close family. The world needs your skills and knowledge. We need you to build your business and impact other families for GOOD.
I'm honored to be along the journey with you!
Keep me posted on your successes so I can celebrate with you, and reach out when things aren't going as well so I can offer any resources or perspective I can to aid in your success.
All my love and belief,
PS------> I know that being a working mom takes a lot of energy! If you haven't taken my Eating for Energy class, please consider downloading this Free Eating for Energy guide to help you understand how to plan your food for the best energy possible. :) xo