I’ve started my own business, try to keep a healthy lifestyle, and now want to start a family with kids. How does one balance all this out? How do you ensure you spend enough time with your kids while running a successful business? – Marina in Pawtucket, RI
Marina, it’s wonderful that you’re so ambitious and have love to share with a growing family. However, proceed with caution. I’m not sure when you started your business or how stable it is, but before you add kids into the mix, make sure your business has reached a point of stability first.
If that means you must continue focusing only on the job for now, that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready for kids. Here are some things you should focus on right now before you have kids so you’ll be ready to be a present parent:
- Set boundaries. It’s common for entrepreneurs to feel like they must constantly be working, but for your sake and that of your future children, don’t fall into that mindset. You must set boundaries now so that you’ll already have some work-life balance once you have a child. Set boundaries about when you work: Don’t make it a habit of working late into the night. Don’t make it a habit of working every weekend. You need time off and away from the job. It’s actually better for you and for the business if you have time to unwind and spend with others.
- Trust your co-workers. This will help immensely with the point above. If you’re working with the right team and have hired the right employees, you must trust that they know how to do their jobs, and they can get it done just fine without you. Even if you’re on vacation for two weeks, they’ll be able to manage – the company won’t fall apart, I promise! If you trust the people you work with, you’ll be freer to stop working each evening and each weekend. You’ll be able to handle little emergencies that take you away from the office, because they’ll have it covered.
Both of those things will be invaluable when you start having kids. Not only will you certainly want several months of maternity leave to spend time with your new little one, you’ll also need to have time for the child as they grow older. Spending quality time with your family is a must, and in order to do that, you can’t be spending all of your time at work.
Balancing a Career & Kids
In terms of having a successful career while raising a couple of anklebiters, try to be realistic. We’ve been told that women can somehow “have it all,” but we know now that most women can’t – at least, not without help. In order to fulfill your dreams of having a successful business and happy, well-adjusted kids, do everything you can to set up a system that will help you accomplish those goals. If you have a partner, make sure that they’re on the same page as you and are ready, able, and willing to take co-parenting seriously. If their own career and aspirations allow it, it could be a good idea for them to take the lead here.
Even with a fully supportive co-parent – or without a partner, if you don’t have or want one – you will most likely need a little extra support. We’ve all heard the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” – take it to heart. Involve whatever friends and family you have that can, will, and want to be involved in taking care of your progeny. It might also be the case that you hire a nanny or au pair, if your finances allow it. They can be a great support for you on your journey. Just don’t be a Mrs. Chamberlain.
With some conscious effort and the right people in your life, you’ll be able to have a successful business and a happy family. Just make sure you’re prepared to add more to your plate before you jump into having kids.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.