Women today face unique pressures on their work-life balance, especially when motherhood is thrown into the mix. The confidence in the belief that you can be both successful in your career and a parent is something that many men take for granted, whilst for mothers, it often feels more of a balancing act. What many working moms I speak with want is the ability to be both a mom and a boss, a caregiver and a business owner, and to feel like they’re succeeding at both.
How do entrepreneurs balance bringing up children with running a business? I asked three creative and entrepreneurial mothers to reflect on their processes of running successful businesses with children. Here, they share the wisdom they have learned.
Rachel Agnel is the owner of Rachel’s Villa Holidays, a bespoke and independent travel service that matches holidaymakers with their perfect villa.
Becoming a mother was the catalyst for my decision to set up my own travel business. I became more creative as a businesswoman, and I embraced new technology to enable me to work easily from home and on the move. 15 years ago, the concept of working from home was still in its infancy. My previous workplace did not allow home working and flexible hours.
On my own, I become more focused and passionate about what I do because I didn’t have to work on set company procedures or standards created by someone else. I could finally be myself and set my own standards which I found and still find more fulfilling.
I also decided to do some further training as a copywriter. I had always enjoyed writing travel brochures and wanted to start writing optimised copy for travel websites. Having sharpened my writing skills, I started writing website copy for villa owners and villa companies too, so it’s all worked out well, on my own terms.
In the business I am in, being a mother does make me a better businesswoman. I have created a specific niche in the travel industry whereby I source rather special, luxury, holiday villas in Italy and France for my clients. 99% of my clients are parents or grandparents themselves. When they ask me to help them source their perfect villa for their family holiday, as a parent myself, I have invaluable personal experience, so I find it easier to tune into their specific requirements.
Rachels’ top tip for working mothers: When your kids are young, get as much help with childcare and housework as you can to enable you to work and relax enough. Don’t feel guilty about it. It’s an investment. You won’t need all that help forever because it all will become easier as your children grow up, become more independent and sleep more!
Silvia Del Corso is the director of PinkSEO, a Search Engine Optimisation and digital marketing consultancy.
Becoming a mother required learning an incredible number of new skills and things I would have never thought I could be able to do. So, when I was made redundant 10 years ago, I knew I could be brave in considering the wider horizon of starting my own business. The possibility of re-specialising, and learning a completely new set of skills did seem out of my grasp. I knew I could do it, in my mind I could do whatever I wanted, having learnt how to deal with 2 kids!
There are tough times: the stress and worries of being the director of a company are not 9-5. When the day ends, they can linger with you, and this sometimes taints my mood at home but working on improving myself is something that never really ends.
Being both a mother and a businesswoman has taught me how to juggle different tasks, set priorities, choose the most important and the most urgent things to do, and taught me how strong I can be.
I love showing my kids that a woman can be an entrepreneur, have a business, a team, passions, and goals.
Silvia’s top tip for working mothers: Become more analytical. As women, we are often very emotionally driven. Passions and dreams are what fuel us, but we need to understand that the business is not an extension of ourselves, it’s an entity of its own. It is crucial to be financially wise; to keep track and measure how much we give, as well as to remember our own worth.
Tessia Brival is the founder and principal of Les Petits Bellots, a bilingual creche in London.
Running a business is about taking risks, dreaming big and accomplishing great things. The pressure of having a family keeps the focus on making sure the projects pursued result in success, and the risks taken are smart ones. Being a parent will benefit your business growth. You are adding new skills to the team, may have developed a new perspective on certain subjects, are better at time management and efficiency, and have the best motivating force: your children.
Your children will benefit from your work. It will make your time together much more appreciated and valued, you will have more quality time together. Your children will also be able to develop their personality, social and life skills in an external environment which is vital for them. Everything you are doing and striving to achieve, you are doing for the benefit of your children. So, if you get the balance right and are happy with the priorities you have set, keep going. The children will be happy if you are happy.
Tessia’s top tip for working mothers: You need to take time for yourself! Running a business and having a young child is overwhelming and challenging, it is easy to get too harsh on yourself, doing what’s best for the business and your children while forgetting your own needs on the way. But doing something just for yourself for a couple of hours a week will enable you to be more relaxed, have clearer thoughts, and be more present in your work task as well as with your children afterwards.
A phrase often thrown around when discussing working moms is the idea of “having it all”. This can feel like an unobtainable and daunting goal if you are already overwhelmed with responsibilities at work and at home. If you don’t manage to “have it all” you feel like something of a failure.
The most important thing to remember is that you are the person who decides what “having it all” means in your world. Take away the pressure of external expectations and realise that you can have it all when the ‘it’ is on your terms.
Motherhood is complex, and so is running a business. If growing your business whilst raising your children sometimes feels like juggling too many balls at once, it could help you to work with a Business Coach. Working with a mentor can help relieve your cognitive load by teaching you how to focus your mindset, and build your confidence and your self-belief so that you can drive your business forward in the most effective way.
Working with a business coach can teach you the skills you need to learn how to be successful in business and life, how to set daily goals that allow for flexibility and prioritize your daily duties so larger tasks become manageable, as well as help you figure out exactly what “having it all” is really means to you.
Striking the right balance between work and life is uniquely challenging for enterprising mothers,
get in touch today for a free 30-minute consultation to find out how I can help you navigate your way.