Are you a business owner and a mom? Or a business owner and someone who is taking care of a loved one? Because I do. I kill myself trying to be both a great parent and a great business owner.
I watched P!nk’s Amazon Prime Special
The line, “I kill myself trying to do both” came from P!nk's Amazon Prime Special about her going on tour and bringing her two kids with her. If you haven't seen it, it's a good one. Not just for the fact that you get to see P!nk, her music, and the behind-the-scenes, but you see how she tries to be a normal parent in a life that's not normal.
My “normal” life
I consider my life normal. I'm a working parent, but I have a business. It is hard, and people without children don't understand.
Case in point, I was asked to be on the board for an organization I'm a part of. My answer was, “I can't. I'm just too busy and I don't have the bandwidth to be able to do it.”
The reply I received was, “Everyone is busy”. I get that everyone is busy, but when you have children you’re on 24/7 needing to:
Your time is not your own. As I'm trying to build my business, I've got two children who depend on me. That's why I stopped trying to do it all because it's a lot. It's one thing when you think they're at school for most of the day, or they’re at camps. Well, over the summer, I dealt with kids being at home all the time because they don't want to go to camps, and it's the summer, so I try to continue to build my business with kids at home.
Now, I will say that I do have support. I have two virtual assistants, Kristine and Karissa, who are absolutely amazing, and who do so many things for me, and that's probably why I haven't completely lost it.
That's part of how my business continues to move forward, but the reality is, that you cannot be an ideal parent and be the perfect business owner doing it all alone. You can't have both at the exact same time without help.
The same goes if you're caring for an aging parent or a loved one who needs your constant care and support, you are with them probably all the time. You get maybe a little bit of respite, but it's the same situation.
Job of a parent: me as a mother
When I heard P!nk say she tries to be perfect at both, and she'll kill herself trying, I completely related. On the parent side, my background is in teaching, education, motivation, and empowerment, and I thought, “When I’m a Mom, I'm going to have the greatest children. I'm going to organize crafts and personal development and teach them about having a business and all this”. To be honest, sometimes I’m just keeping my head above water:
But honestly, my house is a mess. They don't always do what they're supposed to do. They're learning to talk back now, and I am having a hard time with it.
When I was a new mom, my daughter at the time was about nine months old. (My daughter is the eldest. I have two now they're 8 and 11.) At that time, I was building my business, and I was a mom. I would be listening to books or podcasts as I hiked with her. I would have my computer open as I was nursing, trying to learn new things, trying to reply to emails, or posting on social. Those sorts of tasks while I was also being a mom.
It kind of worked. We did our best, and I didn't have too high expectations for myself. While she was sleeping, I would work the business and when my husband was home, I would work the business. I had coaching clients right through this. I took like three weeks off after she was born, which is basically Christmas and New Year's because she's a December baby.
One of those days, I was nursing her because my husband wasn't home yet. I thought, “Okay, I'll nurse her before my client call.” I never book clients unless I knew my husband would be home. There was an accident on the highway, and he was stuck. I wasn't able to hear from him to know when he would be home.
I thought, “Okay, he's just going to be an extra five minutes, no problem”. I nursed her as much as I could and then I put her in her crib, but she didn't want to be there. She actually didn't even want to nurse either. She wasn't hungry. I put her in her crib and she cried and I thought, “Okay, well, my husband will be here soon. Her dad will be here in just a few minutes, it'll be okay”.
I jumped on the call with my client. Wanting to be the perfect business owner, I didn't delay it. I started on time and I did my best at that point to focus on the client, but the truth is, she kept crying and crying and crying. My husband wasn't coming, and I couldn't call him because I was with a client.
When I finished coaching the client, he still wasn't home and she was still crying. I ran in there, and she was red-faced. At that moment, as she was screaming, and I'm holding her, and she was exhausted from crying for like an hour. I broke down, and I started crying because I thought, “Wow, look at that. I chose my client. I chose my business. I chose to look like a great professional business owner, rather than the honest truth of where I was at. That I couldn't coach because no one was going to take care of my daughter.”
She was safe. She was in her crib, but she didn't want to be alone, and I left her alone. That reality really sunk in, and I was hugging her and kissing her and saying I'll never do this to you again. That's the reality of being a mom and a business owner. Even being a mom and a career woman and having other things that are happening, you don't always get to be there, and you have to make hard decisions. That day, I made a decision that I regret, but it was a really good learning opportunity for me. I thought I'm never going to do this again because at that exact moment, I was a crappy mom, and a crappy business owner.
Kids need you way too much. That was a really hard day for me. That was like a low. I've had other lows since then and continue to learn.
Job of a business owner: me as an entrepreneur
Now on the business owner side, I can remember meeting with my business advisor. I told her about how I'm watching all these other people get ahead and get opportunities and do more with their website or their social media or whatever it was. I couldn't, and I wasn't. I was asking her, “Why am I not reaching my bigger goals faster? Why am I not doing this and that? Why am I not getting ahead as quickly as so-and-so?”
Then she said, “Well, Diane, can you count up how many actual working hours you have?” I counted them up, and it was like five hours a day. That's all I had and I had no help. She said, “So five hours times five days, that's only 25 hours. How are you going to build an empire and reach all of your goals on part-time hours?”
Maybe you're busy. Maybe you have other things going on, and you have to build your business in part-time hours, but do you have the same expectations of yourself? Because it is extremely hard doing it all by yourself. At that time, I was doing it all myself to do everything and get ahead at that speed, when I only had 25 hours to do it all from scratch.
There is the idea of the four-hour workweek, and I've been able to reduce my time so that during the day…
Those are all opportunities for me because I have support now, but the key thing is, without help you will kill yourself trying to do both perfectly.
What we can do
Here are a few steps or phases you can take:
Phase 1: Look at the actual usable hours you have
Because it's really hard to stay engaged with your family if you have work things to do and are trying to be both simultaneously. When they were little, I could do that a little bit, but now they know. They know when you're on your computer. They know when you're doing work. It's really obvious.
Phase 2: Write down the things you need to get done and who needs to be doing them.
Are there things you can pass off? If you're like, “Oh no, I need to write my own social media”. Do you? Because I don't. It all comes from my repurposing model. If you're listening to my podcast, it's actually done in video and put on YouTube. Then it’s also made into a blog. It's also then made into my social posts and my newsletter and everything is taken care of by this one piece of anchor content.
If you want that to happen too, we can do that for you, with my Your Content Made Easy Program, we're still in the pre-launch period, and we still have some spots open at the special rate to get four weeks of content made every single month. We do it in-house. My team and I manage the people who are working on it for you, and you get everything: carousels, stories, short-form videos, etc. You get seven posts a week, one per day, plus five stories per week.
Write down everything and then see who's going to do it. It doesn't have to be you. It could be someone else, and if you don't know how to figure that out, it's okay. I can help you with that. We got that covered. We have the systems and processes, training videos, checklists, and all the things that are needed. Passing things off to someone else is an amazing way to gain back time and reduce your stress.
Phase 3: Set some goals
Another thing to bring in is what I call the “perfect balance” for you right now.
Set some goals for those pieces, then plug in the tasks underneath them.
Phase 4: Set boundaries around your work hours
When will you work? When will you NOT work? I always tell my clients and my VAs, I'm only a WhatsApp message away. That makes me very, very accessible, but I don't mind doing quick responses through WhatsApp and setting up a meeting date for another day. That works for me, but maybe you need boundaries more around your weekends and your evenings, just so you can rest.
The rest part is so important because those two pieces, your career/business, and your kids demand so much of your time and energy. If you don't already get to travel with work and have some time off, I suggest you take a night off.
Once a year, I usually take myself on an overnight trip to Whistler. It's about an hour and a half for me. I'm sure you've got some places about an hour and a half from you that you can go to for one night. I leave the house early on day one, and then come back after bedtime on day two. That's what I found works great for me when I go to Whistler. I go to the spa in the morning then check into my hotel, have a chill evening, or maybe I feel excited to work on business strategy. Then the next morning leisurely breakfast, wake up whenever I want, and then move into a hike, check out the stores, and then an easy drive back.
That 48 hours is so rejuvenating and life-giving. Speaking of life-giving, what other things are you doing to support your spiritual life? Is there prayer, journaling, meditation, or going to church? What is that piece for you? That could be what your soul’s missing, that would really rejuvenate you.
Now I can continue on and on and on and talk about all the areas of life and all the things that you can do, but I hope from this, you get the idea that it’s hard to have these two full-time responsibilities. You're not expected to be perfect at both being a parent and a business owner. You're not even expected to be perfect at one. Know that you will do some crazy damage if you try to be perfect at both (even with help). I've been there. I've run myself into the ground, burned the candle at both ends and suffered for it with postpartum depression, and anxiety.
What I'm going to do moving forward and continue to do (which I hope you do as well) is give yourself some peace, give yourself some grace, and let's look at who you want to be in these two areas in the next three to six months, and work towards that.
BONUS FREEBIE: Grab my FREE GUIDE “Top 5 Tasks Busy Business Owners Should Pass Off Immediately”.
Read my other blogs:
Get Goaled! Coaching Mastermind
Connect with me