Permission To Be Imperfect, Part 2

The struggle of balancing work and motherhood is consuming, but there are ways to manage it. I’m not going to argue if women do more domestic work than their male partners do (hint: we usually do), but I’d like to offer practical advice on how to manage it better.

First, delegate duties on both the home and business front when you can. Some women are blessed with a supportive partner who will happily step in for parental and domestic duties. Other women do not have such a partner, or they are single. If you can afford a cleaning service, use it, even if it’s just once a month. If you can’t, let go of a perfectly tidy home. Do what needs to be done, but don’t obsess. No none is on a psychiatrist’s couch because their mother had a dirty kitchen floor.

Ask for help even from your children. At a family meeting clarify your situation, that you want to be a good mother and a successful career woman. Ask what ideas they have to help you out, how they feel, what they would like from you as a mother. It can be surprising, when you open up honestly, what comes back. Keep in mind that what they want might not be in line with your vision, but that is where compromise and understanding come into play.

As for your business, delegate where possible. If you want to focus getting out on sales calls to meet people, hire someone, even part time, to deal with your social media strategy. Freeing up that time and eliminating your frustrations will more than make up the cost of your hire. If you work at home with perpetual distractions from your children, you need to really organize yourself. Plan phone calls during nap time or when they have their TV time. See if there is a baby-sitting co-op in your neighbourhood (or start one) or find another parent with whom you can trade time.

Ultimately, you might just have to accept the fact that your business may not grow as fast as you would like. It’s difficult not to compare ourselves to others, especially reading about successful entrepreneurs who seemingly have done it all. Frustration and self-doubt can overcome us. Relax, and accept that you are where you need to be at this moment, that your children are a priority and that your business will grow. A business plan projects where you want to be at some point in the future. Think of children as a 20-year plan. Investing time in them now will reap dividends down the road and provide you with just as much, if not more, satisfaction as watching your business grow.

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