Thursday, 19 January 2017

There is no tougher job

This article was first published at A Connected Life:

When a mother of five children ranging in ages from 30 down to 12 tells you that it is tough but it gets better you know that day-by-day it will get easier. Sometimes it is hard to see that it will get better, it is hard to see that there is good in every situation. That day-by-day you are learning and one day you will look back and see the good things, if you have taken the time to enjoy those moments.

There have been many days in the last 5 and a half years where I have wanted to run away and join the circus. Times when demands from clients, family, friends and my baby have felt way too much. When I have been giving so much to everyone else and not getting anything back in return. Worse I was so busy giving to everyone that I forgot to enjoy the little moments with my baby.
My baby is now a big school girl – I love her like nothing else I have ever loved – there are times I wish we could go back to the days of cuddling on the couch and I could simply enjoy it. To be in that moment in my body and my mind – not thinking of the 20,000 other things I thought I should have been doing.
I wish I had slowed my business down – not thought that I could continue doing everything I had pre-baby, plus more.
There is nothing like a baby and a child to give perspective on life. To reset your priorities. For me, my business priorities have shifted dramatically. I have removed things from my life that do not make me money or give me satisfaction. I spend time with people who are good for both my family and myself. I have made the changes today that I should have made when Sophie was born. It didn’t happen overnight – it 18 months of living in a pressure cooker and two years of stripping away ‘stuff’ for me to get to where I am today.
Here is the thing though – I could have been in this place quicker if I had been better prepared to be a mum AND a business owner. Here is my breakthrough advice – it is possible to choose to put your business in maintenance mode after you have a baby. To focus on the core parts of your business (those things that make you money) and to make it easier for you to keep operating on those parts of your business.
Here are 5 tips to help you put your business into maintenance mode:
  • Set-up processes and systems
  • Automate
  • Outsource
  • Continue to communicate with the outside world through email, social media, newsletters and so on
  • Network with like minded people who respect that you are a business owner AND mum and accept your baby attachment!
This is your life and it is your business – there is no right or wrong way to do things. Be a business owner and dare to do it a little differently. Be a mum that is present with your baby and children. Do not feel judgement, understand that at that moment in time you are doing the best that you can. Enjoy the life that you are designing.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A Review: Finding balance between work and motherhood

This was a review written by Mel Gandevia and orignally published at The Well Planned Wife:

In a true indication of how I’m struggling to find a balance between work and motherhood (and anything else), I started reading When Business Meets Baby, a relatively short book, about 8 weeks ago. I struggle to find the time to read these days!
This book is very special to me, because I’m quoted in it! It’s pretty exciting to have a book sitting on my shelf that I’m quoted in. The book focuses on the author, Rachel Allen’s, journey to both grow her business and settle into motherhood. Unfortunately, Rachel and I have shared the experience of losing our mums before our daughters were born, so Rachel asked if she could quote this post in her book.
When Business Meets Baby is also a collection of advice from high-profile working mums, including Carolyn Creswell and Janine Allis. Below is some of the advice I took from the book:
  • The pressure many feel when becoming a mum is real: “Be The Best Mother. Keep the maternal health nurse happy, work towards the next baby milestone, go to mothers’ group, tell everyone how great you are doing. Smile. Cope. Get the baby to sleep without screaming. Do the books, update the website, answer emails, get some sleep.”
  • The vision may not match reality: “Some new mums have a pre-conceived idea of what type of mother they will be. They often model themselves after their own mother (or parents), or they have a fantasy idea about what a baby should be like. They become lost in a world of trying to understand their new baby, and spend fruitless hours trying to meet an “ideal” of how things should be (an ideal that it rarely realistic). They do this instead of just enjoying the moment.”
  • “Understand that it is OK to change your priorities as your baby grows, and it is OK to change the way you think. Parenting offers the ultimate gift of learning. Trust in your intuition across all areas of your life and business.”
  • As the saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, but unfortunately, in modern society, many of us are going it alone. According to this book, “there is a solution: we can consider what roles are most important to us, accept our limitations, decide what we can let go of and learn to engage and respect outside support. At a deeper level we are being asked to examine our beliefs and attitudes around child-raising and to acknowledge that much of what we strive for is not really healthy for us or our children.”
  • “A wise woman, Hazel Walker, once said that you can always earn more money but you can’t buy more time. Investing in help is my way of buying more time. The trick is to prioritise to make the very best use of your time.”
  • “Everyone has the same 168 HOURS in a week, and although life can be unpredictable with a young child, somehow we always seem to find the time for the urgent priorities, the mundane things and the fun things.”
  • And finally, don’t be afraid to make the choices that are best for your family.
At its core, When Business Meets Baby is about acceptance of the new role you’re taking on in becoming a mum, and being present in every moment, whether that’s at work or at home.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Being a thriving mum in business

This article originally published on Mouths of Mums:

It is possible to be a business mum who thrives at both being a mum and a business owner.

All you need is balance. To find your balance you first need to define what it means for you.
Think about what your balanced life will look like. In business, life and for yourself. Ask yourself – what would you achieve in your business daily, weekly, monthly, this year? How much money could you earn? What would you do with that money? What do you want to achieve in your life daily, weekly, monthly, this year and in five years? What does that look like for yourself, your partner and your children? What about you – how do you look after yourself and motivate yourself daily, weekly, monthly and yearly? Do you reward yourself, celebrate your successes both big and small?

So, what does balance look like to you?
What is stopping you from achieving your balance and thriving in your life? Is it time, support, focus, motivation? Is it your mindset and the excuses you create for yourself? Are you so stuck that you don’t know where to begin?
You could start by following these tips:
1. Answer the questions above – don’t think of where you are in life, think about where you want to be.
2. Next to each answer write your reason why you are not doing that now. It could be you never thought about it before, or you need to look after your kids, you don’t have time, it scares you. Whatever reason you have write it down and be honest!
3. Then next to the reason, write real or perceived – that is it is in your head.
4. Next to real, write what you need in your life to be able to achieve what you need to. Is it time, childcare, money…. Then go and ask for help from someone who can help you remove these barrier.
5. Next to perceived, write ‘excuse’. These are your immediate things to implement in your life starting today, make this your priority.
You are working hard at being in business and, also raising healthy, happy children. Don’t let the stories you tell yourself stop you from finding balance and thriving in your life.