I was single when I enrolled at IIN, but I was looking forward to getting married and having kids. In fact, one of the main goals of my career change was to work from home and be present for my future family. I’d work from my home office and the kids would play nearby. I’d earn a good salary and still be available to attend soccer games. I’d cook three homemade meals a day. And exercise. And do the laundry.
If you’re laughing right now, it must mean that you have actually tried this. Work from home and be present for your family? Work with kids around? Ha!
The truth is, I had no idea what motherhood would be like. I didn’t think about how my baby’s cry would interrupt client meetings. I didn’t know that I’d be trying to write a blog post while my toddler climbed in my lap and pushed all the buttons on my laptop. Or that I’d be trying to get my husband and kid out of the house on the weekends so I’d have five minutes to actually think straight.
So much for being present for my family. So much for getting any work done – never mind exercising or doing the laundry!
But have no fear, mamas! I figured out a way to continue growing my business and balancing it with family time - and even a little “me time,” too. Here’s how you can do the same:
Understand that you are not a SAHM
I often hear health coaches refer to themselves as stay-at-home-moms. But if you are working on your business, you need to consider yourself a working mom. And you need support, just like any working mother. So, get help with housecleaning. Follow simple meal plans and rely on make-ahead dishes. And – this one is really key – you need some form of childcare. Maybe you don’t need daycare from 7am-6pm. But you do need some amount of dedicated, child-free hours each week to focus on your business. (And don’t hesitate to use a few of those hours for a massage or cup of tea with a friend.)
Create products and services that do not require your “live” presence
With small children it can be very hard to make appointments at a scheduled time. Even with childcare, you never know when your little one may get sick and need you! Flexibility in your schedule is vital. When my son was born, I started coaching via email and running online programs that had downloadable materials and pre-recorded classes. This allowed me to work on my time and not stress about my schedule.
Adapt your business as your children grow
When my son was an infant, I did a lot of emailing and blogging during his naps. As he got older, the naps became fewer but I started sending him to a nature-based learning center twice a week. This allowed me to start scheduling a limited number of phone sessions with clients again. Now pregnant with Baby Pfennighaus #2, I’m considering ways to morph my practice yet again. Remember – this is your business! You can change your offerings as often as needed to accommodate your growing family.
Stop comparing yourself to childless entrepreneurs
It’s a different ballgame, friends. You’ll see highly successful entrepreneurs out there making high-quality videos and traveling to conferences around the country. That may not be in the cards for us...at least not right now as we struggle to get a shower each day! But that doesn’t mean moms can’t be successful. Our businesses may simply take a different form than for someone who is single and childless. Remember, life is a long time.
Michelle Pfennighaus, IIN Class of 2009 and star of the movie “Lemonade,” has been seen on ABC, CBS and NPR with her inspiring story of reinvention. As a health coach and business mentor, she has worked with clients around the world. Connect with Michelle on her website and on Facebook and Twitter.