The struggle is real…yes it is people. It may be a first world struggle but far out, it can be tough.
What I‘m talking about is being a working parent, in particular a business owner and/or entrepreneur and establishing a business with young kids and trying to give them the love, attention, dedication and learning that they need and deserve and build your business at the same time. Family is my number one value. It always has been, though it took me a little while to “discover” that.
My mum is one of nine and I have some 33 cousins, who basically I grew up with in Victoria. My family and extended family were my life…until I moved to Perth. I’ve managed to build a high 6-figure business with three very young children and very little extended family around and with a husband who was working FIFO for a month on and a month off. Yes, it was an extremely stressful and rewarding time. We entered the FIFO life with caution and it took away much financial stress for us. The financial stress was gone but it was replaced by enormous solo parenting stress and to be honest, the first year of my daughter’s life was a bit of a blur. Why? I had my two boys who were 2 and 4, hubby was working away and I was in the grips of establishing a business. It was our choice to do so and I don’t regret it. I do however; have some tips for you to help you get through a similar phase of your life …which is basically establishing a business with young kids running around your feet and demanding your attention at every corner. You know what I’m talking about! You can’t even go for a poo in private without them coming to seek you out!
- Seek assistance where you can
Take up the offers of help from family and friends. Lighten the load where possible. This will make a huge difference and give you some time and head space.
- Join groups of other like minded parents
It’s true, it takes a village to raise a child and mark my word, having adult conversations with like minded people can be a savior after spending hours cooped up with three kids for hours or days. You can always look on Meet Up and Facebook for groups near you that you can join. Mothers Group was great for me and I’m still in touch with a few of the mums from my first mothers group, which was 12 years ago.
- Take Time Out For Yourself
“You can’t look after anyone else if you don’t look after yourself first!” YES! YES! Take time out for yourself on a regular basis and do what makes you happy. For me it would be playing touch football, or doing Pilates or yoga. When I was running FIFO Families, my first business, I would book in a for a massage once a month. That was my solace, no matter what I knew I had an hour and half to myself where no one else could contact me or interrupt me or yell out “MUM” from the other side of my house. Recently I have been getting a massage once a month. Again, it’s time out for me and it is crucial I have this. It’s a bit like when you find yourself at home, alone. There is no noise. There is the beautiful and tranquil sound of nothing. I love that. It’s rare and I cherish it.
- Au Pairs
We had a total of 8 au pairs who lived with us over a 4-year period. These were mostly young females from Germany aged between 18-23 who would come and live with us rent free for 3-6 months and who would be on hand to help out with the kids and the domestic side of things. Mostly it was BLISS!! Imagine someone being there to help with dinner, to help with the tidy up and bath time. Don’t forget the washing too! It took so much pressure off me and allowed me to have a little more time to work on the business. Six of our au pairs were brilliant and we are still in contact with most of them. We had one male au pair too and he was amazing with the kids, so don’t turn away from male au pairs! Of course, always do your due diligence and research into your au pair. Interview them before they come to live with you. I always used an agency because I had the back up to send the au pair back if something happened. Once it did, we had an 18year old who was more interested in her phone than my family so after 3 weeks she left us.
Parenting is a challenge. Running a business is a challenge. Doing them simultaneously is super challenging and only those who do it understand where you come from and what you go through. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s about finding out about what works for you and using effective systems and strategies that keep you on top of things. Please be KIND to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. This is your family; your business and you will find your flow. It is hard establishing a business with young kids, so surround yourself with others who are walking the same path and who have success in where you want to succeed and you will be well on your way.