Archive for the 'work/family balance' Category

The Toughest Question Working Moms Face

 

Guest post by Michele Dortch of IntegratedMother.com

What do you do?What do you do?

It’s a simple question that comes up frequently for business women. Yet motherhood makes the answer complex.

Before children, you probably responded to this question with your career profession, “I’m an HR Manager.” Once children enter the picture, your heart wants to lead with, “I’m a mother,” but your head advises you to lead with something perceived as more credible first, especially if you’re at a business function.

If you’re like most success-driven women, you want to make a contribution to something meaningful. You also closely attribute what you do to your significance and importance. Becoming a mother complicates what you perceive as important – my career or my children? As a result the simple question, “What do you do?” transforms into the more difficult question, “Who are you?”

The transition from working woman to working mother is a period of significant change, yet few women recognize the change or actively do anything to bridge the gap between the two phases of life. Somewhere in between meaning, significance and importance is lost making the new question, “Who are you?” harder to answer.

The key to understanding the importance of knowing who you are can be explained by considering a metaphor; your life is like a computer.

When you first bought your computer, it was installed with a specific operating system (OS) as well as a variety of software applications. Technology advances rapidly, so before you know it you have to upgrade to a new OS to run new software applications, otherwise the computer will crash. This is exactly how motherhood works.

Before children, you operated from a specific set of values and beliefs (your OS) and pursued certain life goals (your software applications). You found confidence, importance and significance because new goals were handled by your OS with ease. Then one day, you added a radically new software application (children) and this required a major upgrade to your OS. But, you got busy and forgot to upgrade, so today you’re running on a patched up OS that’s often buggy and experiences full-system crashes periodically.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to upgrade your OS. Here are some basic steps to get you started:

  • Clarify your values and beliefs. What are the 3-5 words or short phrases that describe who you are? If you’re having trouble determining your values, ask people around you for 3-5 words or short phrases that describe you.
  • Establish your mission. A personal mission is a statement of purpose that provides direction and clarifies your reason for being. It’s a must-have for all working moms.
  • Beta test and work out the bugs. Begin to actively use your mission statement. The ideal approach is to use it as a planning tool. As you plan your week, focus on activity that is aligned with your mission.

Once you complete these steps you’ll be well on your way toward upgrading your OS and before long, you’ll find greater ease and confidence answering the question, “What do you do?”

 

http://www.integratedmother.com/blog/the-toughest-question-working-moms-face/

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Up Next in the WoMEN teleseminar series: Alisa Bowman

This is gonna be so much fun.

As you know by now, I’ve put together a fabulous and FREE teleseminar series for working moms called: “WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need.” Our next topic in the series is something every mompreneur I know needs–some advice, tips, and clever ways to get the support we need from our partner or spouse. Running a business and raising a family is not easy, and it’s near impossible if you’ve got a struggle with your partner going on.

I’ve found just the gal to help us figure out how to make this better.

On Tuesday, April 14th at Noon ET, I’m pleased to welcome Alisa Bowman from “Project Happily Ever After” as my guest expert for the teleseminar entitled: “How to Make Your Marriage Work With Your Business.” alisa_bowman

Her approach to marriage, parenthood, career and friendships has been described as “disarmingly honest.” Her fresh take on life includes mentioning what others deem unmentionable.  From bikini waxes to second honeymoons, the silent treatment to power struggles (both with 2 year olds and 42 year olds), she is able to masterfully blend the helpful with the hilarious. Alisa speaks at college events and conferences. She has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s Health and American Baby. She has also been interviewed on large websites such as Glamour.com, various newspapers and a guest on regional radio and television news shows. Alisa has authored and co-authored or ghosted more than 20 books, including 5 New York Times Best sellers. Alisa currently lives happily ever after (most of the time) with her husband, daughter and dog in Emmaus, PA.

I hope you’ll join us for this fun, wise and honest look at how we mom entrepreneurs can get the support we need from our relationships. Here are the details:

What: “Make Your Marriage Work With Your Business” teleseminar, the second teleseminar in the “WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need” series, hosted by Lara Galloway, The Mom Biz Coach with Guest Expert Alisa Bowman

When: Tuesday, April 14th, from Noon – 1pm ET

Where: On your computer or your phone via www.blogtalkradio.com/MomBizCoach (click on the link to listen via webcast) or call (347) 838-9199 to listen and ask questions during the live show!

Tell your girlfriends to join you! I promise you’ll find some great nuggets of wisdom, some funny things to laugh about, and a few actions you can take immediately to improve your relationship.

Do you have a question or topic you’d like to hear addressed during the teleseminar by Lara or Alisa? Just leave a comment below.

Ten Ways a Life Coach Can Help Mompreneurs

On today’s Mom Biz Coach Audio Blog, I’m going to answer some questions that I’ve been asked several times by working moms or mothers who are thinking of starting a business. I know how overwhelming it can be to be a fulltime mom and a fulltime entrepreneur.

Most of the mom entrepreneurs I’ve coached spent a lot of time thinking about hiring me before actually doing so. They weren’t exactly sure what life coaching is all about, or what we actually do in a coaching relationship. Some of my clients admitted to feeling embarrassed about hiring a coach to support them, almost like it meant they were a failure at being able to do what they wanted to do in life.

On my radio show today I’m going to tell you exactly what hiring a life coach can do to support your business. If you want to be successful on your own terms, create a business that works even when you don’t, get the buy-in and support you need from your spouse and your family, figure out how to get more clients and make more money without working around the clock, and understand how to spend quality time with your kids (especially while they’re young!), tune in to today’s show. I’ll be addressing these issues and more.

Details for the show: Go to www.blogtalkradio.com/mombizcoach. The Mom Biz Coach Audio Blog airs at 11:30 am ET for 15 minutes. If you can’t make it live, you can listen to the show at your convenience since it will be immediately archived in the “On-Demand” episodes listed on my show page at the above link.

Do you have questions about how a life coach could support you? Are you wondering what a coach actually does? I’d be happy to answer your questions if you leave a comment below.

Just gimme three weeks

frustrated-mother-entrepreneur2I just read the latest post by Jennifer New (one of my favorite mom bloggers) who writes the Blog “Mothers of Invention.” She wrote about working on “kid time” and how it reorders our lives as mothers (read her post here: http://jennifernew.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/working-on-kid-time/).

It’s so funny how, after having three kids for almost seven years now, I still forget to factor in “kid time” as Jennifer calls it.

I told a friend last week that if my husband would just agree to take three weeks off of work to babysit the kids, and therefore relieve me of my mommy duties, I would write a book, publish it, create an entirely new teleseminar series and coaching program, write my next several blogposts and newsletter articles, get hired by 10 new clients, and drop 25 pounds (due to not getting up from the computer to eat since I would be so happy to finally be the productive person I want to be)!!!

Sometimes I get frustrated since I have all this creativity, energy and passion to do my work, but am constantly interrupted by someone who needs a snack, to be wiped, wants to snuggle in my lap and play with my hair or my zipper, needs help building their pillow fort, or to play referree in a sibling war. Sometimes I’m able to shift from my work to my natural mothering-love mode. Other times I shout and fiercely defend my space like a territorial pit bull. Tears fall. Guilt engulfs. But eventually, we all get over it.

I don’t beat myself up for any of it. This is just what it looks like to be a mother, where my kids are always my priority, but also a human who has her own interests that are extremely worthwhile.

Now, off to clean up the puddle of pee my daughter just made on the floor.

The trouble with “balance”

I’m getting ready to give a teleseminar about time management for mom entrepreneurs, and that’s been taking me away from my other writing (this blog). The seminar is going to tackle some of the biggest issues mom business owners face: having time to do it all, and not feeling guilty for being both a mom and an entrepreneur. Admittedly, this is a tall order. (Find out more about the seminar at: www.mombizcoach.com and click the Events tab.)

One of the reasons this is such a challenge is because there is so much emotion wrapped around big ideas like “motherhood” and “entrepreneur.” Everyone and their dog has something to say about how things are supposed to go. If you’re a mom, you should stay home with your children, breastfeed them until they’re old enough to say, “No more, thanks, Mom!”, provide educational direction, character-building opportunities, and hot, healthy, organic meals to boot until they leave you almost 20 years later for someone/thing they love more than you. Well, those are just some of the things some people expect of mothers.

Entrepreneurs don’t get a much better go at it. They’re expected to be up to amazing tests of character and knowledge, to have the vision of SuperMan, the stamina of an Energizer Bunny, the discipline of a Marine Corps drill seargent, and all of their waking (and sleeping?) hours to devote to the growth of their business.

A lot of people (myself included) promote the idea of a healthy balance of these two completely different worlds. Balance is about three major points:

  1. The goal is to simply accept yourself.
  2.  Once you’re good with that, then set some priorities that are important to you.
  3. When you’re clear on what’s most important to you, then be intentional about how you spend your time on those priorities and let the other stuff go.

This philosophy is what makes it okay for me to feel very successful and satisfied with my life as a mom and an entrepreneur. I might not be successful in someone else’s terms (So what if I haven’t brushed my two-year-old daughter’s hair since she was born? And that pile of clutter easily found in every room of my house? Well, the pile and I have a mutual understanding now. We’ve learned to co-exist. And I know people who work 16 hour days in very stressful jobs who might not think I spend enough time stressing about my business. Hmmm. Ok.), but I am successful according to my own terms.

Balance comes for me when I focus on my priorities, then spend time doing the things that support those priorities, which are the things that are most important to me. It’s also about letting go of the things I’m not good at, or that I hate, or even the things that others want for me, but aren’t the things I want.

To have a balanced life, I have completely let go of the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” paradigm. I am focused on the most important things in my life: my family, my health and happiness, and my business. From my perspective, I’m doing great with the biggies. And I’m really getting good at ignoring the dust bunnies and the laundry mountain just outside my office door. Balance is all about making peace with all the extra things you could be doing, but that don’t matter as much as the biggies. So I think I’m just going to string some Christmas lights on that damn pile of clothes. Make it pretty. Or I could drag it out in the front yard, let some snow fall on it, and my kids would have a blast sledding down it. Now, there’s a SuperMom!

Let’s barter our way out of this recession

Happy New Year, Folks!

The New Year just about squeaked past me unnoticed since I’ve been travelling and visiting with family for the last two weeks. We just arrived home late last night after a sometimes thrilling trip across 750 miles of icy roads. Time spent relaxing, resting, eating, connecting, playing with family and friends caused a bit of a time warp.

One of the first blogs I read today was The Mogul Mom, authored by Heather Allard. I am so inspired by what this mom entrepreneur is doing to help other mom business owners. Heather has created a “Helping Out Directory” of mompreneurs who are willing to barter or trade their products and services in exchange for other products/services they need. What a brilliant idea!

As business owners, we all have to make choices about our priorities and what we can afford to spend on them. I know that I have a long list of business tasks I’d like to pass off to a VA, but haven’t done it yet for a number of reasons. I would gladly trade my coaching services in return for some VA assistance. I imagine that there are those of you whose businesses are in need of some marketing, web design/maintenance, bookkeeping, organization, etc. Would you be willing to exchange your services to get what you need?

If so, visit Heather’s blog, read about the “Helping Out Directory,” and add your name and information to her growing list. You might find something you need, and you might be able to lend a hand to someone else, all without exchanging a single penny.

Bartering is a great way of doing business when the economy is unstable. A sensible gut reaction to the recession is to tighten the belt and not spend if you can avoid it. But, putting off expenditures (especially investments, which pay you back in time) has its costs, too.  You owe it to yourself to get your business needs met, and bartering is a creative way to do just that. Consider what a system of bartering could make possible for you that you currently believe won’t happen given the circumstances.

Have you bartered for goods/services in the past, or are you bartering now? If so, let me know how it’s working for you and what sort of things you’re trading.

Got other creative ideas for meeting business needs in a recession? I’d love to hear them! Please share your comments here and consider subscribing to my blog (upper right hand corner of this page) to follow the responses of others.

Are you feeling guilty about being a mom entrepreneur?

I love my job. I love to work. I actually enjoy the thing I get paid to do.

And I’m in good company. Many mom entrepreneurs have found a way to make money doing work they love. Our work is a source for our creativity, passion, ambition, purpose, and various talents. Doing our work validates us, gives us a sense of accomplishment, and of course, provides rewards like acknowledgement and money.

But there can be a downside to all that great stuff. Someone once told me that in becoming a mother I had signed a lifelong agreement with Guilt.

Not so much. Read Lisa Druxman’s tips to ditch the guilt and celebrate your achievements in the attached article, “The Guilty Mom Entrepreneur” from Entrepreneur.com.

If you can turn your guilt into gratitude, as Lisa suggests in her article, what is one thing about being a mom entrepreneur you’re grateful for?


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