Rightly or wrongly, the role of primary caregiver to children most often falls to the mother rather than the father and this can be a major challenge for female entrepreneurs when growing their business. Juggling childcare with work, even for Mums of school aged children can sap your time and focus, leaving you treading water with your business.
Starting a Business on Maternity
A lot of Mums start their business, as a result of needing flexible work to fit around their young children and sometimes having a baby can actually present a new opportunity.
Many women start their business while on maternity leave, owing to the fact they don’t feel under pressure to make sales because their maternity pay is covering the outgoings and if it doesn’t work out they can return to their job with nobody any the wiser that they had a go a flying solo!
Working with kids at home
We all remember the hilarious episode of the newsreader working from home with his kids in the house – as both children sauntered into his home office while live on TV, before a horrified looking Mum followed in to retrieve them. We asked Mum’s if they had any experiences of their own!
Sophie, a Social Media manager told us, “I was doing a Facebook Live from home, I thought my 4 year-old daughter was happily playing in her room and that the coast was clear to do a quick five minute video. All was going well, when my daughter presented herself, pants round ankles, bending over proudly to show me how she had wiped her bottom herself! I was mortified!”
Jenny Hardman, a Business Coach at Business Simplified told us that only this week, she was left without any childcare due to the summer holidays and was scheduled to present at her BNI Network. Not wanting to miss her presentation slot, she decided to take her six year old daughter Harper along to the meeting. Initially concerned that she might not be perceived as ‘professional’ she needn’t have worried – the group completely understood the challenges of a single mum running a business, showing that times really are changing!
Harper even gave a short presentation of her own!
What can working Mums do to stay productive at home?
None of us want to leave our kids sitting on an iPad or watching TV all day while we work – so what can we do to stay productive when we have little one’s to entertain?
One of our best tricks, is the soft play centre – most have WiFi, tables and decent coffee! Being able to sneak in a couple of hours of work while the kids run around having fun is a great way to get tasks completed without feeling as though you haven’t taken the kids anywhere.
Another great tip is to buddy up with other Mum’s who also have their kids in tow and work to do – you take their kids for a couple of hours, and then they return the favour by taking yours.
When you are lucky enough to get a few hours away from the kids to get some work done, it is really important to be disciplined as these hours are valuable! Consider switching off email and social media so that you’re not tempted to scroll Instagram or reply to discussions on LinkedIn. Before you start, set yourself a specific task to be completed during your child-free time, so that you hit the ground running with that work rather than wasting time wondering what you should do first!
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