Posts Tagged 'work/family balance'

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/

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.

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 fog has lifted

mom-biz-coach-fog-lifting

Hello, Blogosphere. Nice to see you. Been a while.

Just wanted to drop a quick line and let you know I’m back. I’ve been MIA lately given some extreme focus I’ve had about my goals for this year.

I decided to add ecommerce capabilities to my website this year. So I did that a couple of weeks ago.

I decided to start offering a free teleseminar each month so I can help mom entrepreneurs stop wasting their time and learn how to get more of it. I did that a week ago.

I realized I needed to update my business plan to reflect my new focus on teleseminars, group coaching, and creating products and programs from my coaching and consulting. I’m doing that now, and having so much fun with it.

Then it dawned on my that I shoulda had a VA (remind you of a commercial from the 80s?). So I interviewed a ton of great mompreneurs and hired one today.

And I had a very sick little boy who just wanted to stay home with his mom and snuggle for about four days. So I’ve been snuggling a lot the past few days.

While I focused on those critical components of my business strategy (and on my family’s needs), I dropped more than a few balls I was juggling. Keeping up with my blog is one of them.

It’s nice to be back. Stay tuned for some posts on what to do when life gets messy, how to drop the balls gracefully, and how to love the life you live even more because of all that.

Come to think of it, it would be a good idea to subscribe to my blog (click that little orange button on the top right corner) so you don’t miss out those upcoming posts I mentioned.

Have you been in a fog lately? Why? Have you outgrown systems that used to support you? What are you planning to do about it? Please, do share.

How to get it all done (?!@#)

I’m laughing as I write this post, since I am pushing through some crazy stuff to get it done. I’ve been a little absent lately thanks to some great things that have been occupying the space of my prioirities. One of these priorities is standing on the chair I’m sitting in, hanging onto my head, and jumping and dancing to Raffi’s “Shake My Sillies Out” as I grip the computer for dear life, continually hitting the backspace key to correct all the typos and try not to get knocked off the chair.

So I’m singing Raffi, entertaining (lamely) my two-year-old daughter, and writing. This is the life of a mom entrepreneur that I love!

Getting it all done, juggling the various roles and responsibilities I’ve signed up for, balancing between the worlds of mother and coach/business owner… These phrases are loaded with energy, often negative energy, since lots of times we tend to focus on what we aren’t doing versus what we are doing.

I’m giving myself a break. This blog post may not be the most riveting or life-changing one I’ll ever write, and my humming along with Raffi is not the prettiest, and there are lots of better ways to entertain my babes during family time, and there are lots of things I could be doing for my business right now, and the godforsaken laundry is still there, right outside my office door, looking at me…

But I don’t care. I’m doing what I can. I’m doing it right now. I’m laughing at the juxtaposition of my littlest now singing “Shake Your Booty” while I try to compose meaningful thoughts.

This, for me, is having it all. There will be more time for babes and more time for business as my children grow up and my business grows. Both will go through stages that require more or less of me, and I’ll adjust my schedule accordingly.

My other big priority is an interview tonight with Angela Jia Kim on http://www.savorthesuccess.com. I’ll be sharing more on how we mom business owners straddle the two worlds we live in, and some tips for making it all work for us. Please consider joining in! To register for the call, follow this link: http://www.savorthesuccess.com/event/details/58

What about you? What does a typical day of working at home look like for you? What have you decided to let go of that has made you happier with your life? Please share your comments below.

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!

My first live interview–tomorrow!

Please tune in when I am the guest of networking diva Michelle Oliver, The Connection Wizard, on her BlogTalkRadio show Thursday, Jan. 8th at 12 pm ET!

I’ll be sharing my journey as a mom and an entrepreneur and some tips to help other mompreneurs make time for both family and business. Go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/connectionwizard to listen live at Noon (download will be available at this same web address once call is completed). There you will find instructions for calling in or sending a message to us to have your questions answered during the call. I look forward to chatting with you and knowing that you’re there!

You can also leave some questions or comments here, on the blog, and we’ll try to address them during the show.


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