Do you sometimes find it hard to balance your startup life and your family life?
I’m a wife, mother, and an advocate for foster care kiddos. I’m also the founder and CEO of my own tiny empire, mentoring early-stage startups, and entrepreneurs.
Right this very minute, my six-year-old is alternating between singing her own special version of a Taylor Swift song and playing a kazoo. In my office. (Note to self: hide the kazoo.) I’ve got a dog to walk, dishes to do, and miles to go before I sleep.
So believe me when I say: I understand first hand how difficult it can be to balance the roles of a partner, parent, and professional.
But it is possible.
Here are three sure-fire ways to find your own version of balance:
1. Set boundaries (and stick to them)
During the weekday, I’m full-on focused on my work. That includes building my business, but also managing our household and finances.
It would be easy for me to fill every waking hour with endless to-dos, but I’d soon be burnt out and frustrated. I know I need to set boundaries to keep myself healthy and sane.
Here’s how I do it:
- I say no, nicely and often, to many invitations and events. I know that when I say no to those calendar-creepers that don’t excite me all that much to begin with, I can create the white space to yes to my business.
- I keep Friday nights sacrosanct for Family Movie Night, because I know that time with my little family is the heart nectar I love most.
- I book workouts in my calendar because I know if it’s not in my calendar, it won’t happen.
2. Partner with your partner
My husband and I are equal partners. We have different strengths and weaknesses, and at times drive each other up the wall. (And I say that with the greatest love.) But we respect each other and work together to enable each of us to be mentally, spiritually and creatively fulfilled.
Once a week, we have a hot breakfast date at our favorite cafe. We take this child-free time to catch up, and also talk about what we’re working on and what we need from one another to make it happen. (Yeah, we know how to party.)
Our go-to tools are a shared Google Calendar and Smartsheet. We can easily see who is doing what, when. We can see when each of us is traveling, coordinate mini-me’s drop off and pick up, and draw proverbial straws for who “gets” to do what on our family to-do list.
My husband travels a ton, and I’m a quasi-solo parent more often than I like. But with a little coordination, we make it work.
3. Teach your children the value of work. (It’s not about the money.)
With two parents who work from home, our daughter witnesses us working and is beginning to understand the connection between our work and what it pays for.
But more importantly, we want her to understand that even if we were kazillionaires, we would still work, because we place a high value on learning and growth. We would still work because we would choose to serve and empower others. We would still work because we love our work, so it helps us feel fulfilled and like we’re serving a bigger purpose.
A six-year-old requires many (maaaaany) gentle reminders. (“Honey, please stop playing that kazoo so I can finish my work.”) But I think she’s getting it – and getting into having some “work” of her own.
So there you have it – three ways to balance startup life and family life.
The Short ‘n’ Sweet:
- Make “no” a regular part of your vocabulary (and remember, it’s just one word – it doesn’t require an essay-length explanation).
- Book what’s truly important in your calendar, so you won’t only do it “when you’ve got time” (because we both know that never happens).
- Lean on others for support and ask for help when you need it (because sometimes, you just gotta leave your SuperMom cape in the drawer for a day).
- And choose a career path that fills you up and gives you purpose, so you have more to give back to your children, family, and community (and so you can afford the luxuries that make life better).
Now It’s Your Turn
In the comments below, tell me:
What’s your biggest challenge balancing startup life and family life? Or, if you’ve got this down, what’s your hot tip for making it work?
As always, I give you all my best.