We’ve been talking about what it’s like to be a parent and run a business over these last 2 weeks. Today will be the last post (for now) in this mompreneur series. I’m sure the rest of you non-parents want to get back to business! LITERALLY.
I have one very basic rule by which I live the balancing of kid(s) and a business. It is…
Don’t blame your kids.
What does this mean? It means don’t use your kids as an excuse for not getting your work done – ESPECIALLY with clients. These excuses may sound like this:
I’m so sorry for being late, Jonny threw up all over my purse.
I have to flake again. I can’t find a sitter.
I won’t be able to meet the deadline because Maddy isn’t napping well and I couldn’t get it done in time.
The reality of the situation…
The reality is that every insane thing is going to happen when you are juggling your own business and children. There are days that you will have to jump through hoops of fire to get it all done. Children will be sick. Children will not nap. Babysitters will flake or quit or get into an accident. All of these things will make it incredibly challenging (and at times, impossible) for you to get your job done. But, don’t blame your kids.
There are 2 reasons you shouldn’t blame your kids…
1) It’s not fair to your kids.
It may be the best excuse, the actual excuse, for not getting your work done. But, it’s unfair to your children to blame them. You will begin to resent them. You will begin to see them as the barrier between you and a super-successful business. And, it’s not their fault. They didn’t set out to make your day impossible. They’re just doing what they do: be kids.
2) It sounds like a weak excuse.
All parents know that this is not a weak excuse… kid sh*t happens. But as a business woman, you need to remember business is business and personal is personal. If you rely on your kids as an excuse you begin to sound like the grade schooler who tells his teacher “The dog ate my homework.” It might be true, but it doesn’t come from a position of strength. It sounds disorganized and irresponsible.
What do you say instead?
Be honest, but don’t blame your children.
I’m so sorry for being late. I didn’t calculate how much time it would take me to get here.
I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend the networking event as planned. I have other obligations.
I won’t be able to meet the deadline because didn’t schedule appropriately. I want to make it up by doing this…
You see how all of the above ‘excuses’ are so much more professional? You are taking responsibility for your business.
You can talk amongst colleague-friends about the trials and tribulations of being a parent. There is very little judgment here. If a good wedding industry friend is having childcare issues, I’m going to relate with her. She can share this with me. But, I’m not going to open up all of my personal family-balance challenges with a potential client or a colleague whom I don’t know very well. It isn’t professional.
As a mom, you’ll get good at damage control when it comes to balancing your kids and your business. You’ll be good at finding that replacement sitter in seconds flat. You’ll become good at wiping up vomit before it ruins your client’s fabric swatches.
You’ll also see that you are responsible for this damage control. (That’s your job – for better or worse – as a mompreneur.) And, you’ll take responsibility for all of it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what forces try to block us from doing our work. Business is business.
Over time, I came to learn that only I was responsible for my business actions (not my child; not an employee). I wouldn’t dream of blaming my kid for ‘getting in the way’ of my business. Not only because it’s unfair to them – but also because it’s MY JOB to make sure that I can put out the mompreneur fire drills that happen daily.
What do you think about this? How often do you use your kids as an excuse? Is it fair to them? To yourself?