If you’re a mom running your own business, the upcoming back-to-school season, you know your schedule is about to change.
For a woman balancing being both a mom and entrepreneur, also known as a mompreneur, back-to-school season means going back to babysitting headaches, back to running from one after-school activity to another and back to being homework helper. It also means you’ll likely have to don your chauffeur cap once again if your kids aren’t license carrying yet. Oh yeah, and you’ve got a business to run, too. Even if you have the help of a partner, spouse or other family, it’s enough to make your head spin.
To help you balance running your business and managing your kids’ schedules this school year, take a look at some of our back-to-school tips to make this your easiest transition yet.
Be flexible & keep things in perspective
Running a business is stressful enough, but what if you have to unexpectedly pick up your kids from school in the middle of the day or take over carpool on a day that’s not ordinarily yours? In situations like these, it’s key to be flexible and recognize your company won’t fall apart if you need to adjust your schedule at the last minute. You can adapt even if you need to figure things out on the fly.
Single mom Tracy Bagatelle-Black, a freelance public relations specialist and social media expert, says she brings her laptop with her if she has work to do and has to leave her home office to be with her two kids. During her daughter’s afternoon dance class, Bagatelle-Black has been known to use the studio’s Wi-Fi to get online and work if she has to.
Get organized & stick to routines
Even if you’re super organized when it comes to your business, keeping up with kids’ schedules is a monumental challenge. Here are Bagatelle-Black’s three organization tips.
1. Use Google Calendar (or whichever digital calendar works best for you): It’s perfect to input kids’ activities, early release days, parent-teacher conferences and more.
2. Set routines — and stick to them. Bagatelle-Black is often still working when the kids come home from school. They do their homework and then put it in a designated spot on the kitchen counter. “It always goes on the counter and I check it right before dinner,” she says. After dinner, things may get busy again with her kids, but when everyone is settled in for the night, Bagatelle-Black can hop back onto her computer to tie up loose ends from her work day. It’s the system they all know — find the one that works for you.
3. Set boundaries with your kids. For example, if Bagatelle-Black said if is in her office on the phone, the kids are not allowed to interrupt, unless it’s an emergency. Once she’s off the phone, they can come in and talk.
Take care of yourself
Balancing motherhood with your business – especially during the particularly hectic fall season – can take a toll on your well-being. For this reason, it’s important you carve out time to both exercise and relax. With such limited free time, this may mean a run or walk during your lunch hour or even using a treadmill desk. It’s also important you get enough sleep, eat healthy and take vacations so you can recharge.
Your business isn’t the only place where you may need hired help. If you can afford it, hire a babysitter or enroll your children in an after-school child care program. Quality childcare will help you focus at work so that when you’re with your kids, you can focus on them, says Pam Foley, who raised two children while running an Auntie Anne’s pretzel franchise business with five shops in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Foley sold the company and is now a real estate agent and artist. Even if money is tight, you can still work out creative childcare options. Bagatelle-Black suggests becoming allies with other moms, especially those you can carpool with and rely on in a pinch.
“I once had a meeting with a CEO and had to rely on another mom to pick my kids up,” she says.
Timing is everything
Bagatelle-Black’s biggest timing tip is to be early. Dropping the kids off at school early means she avoids the rush. She schedules blocks of on her calendar when it’s time to pick the kids up so she doesn’t have overbook her schedule. She also set up a designated nearby meeting spot so she doesn’t have to deal with the congested school parking lot area.
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Featured Image Credit: Imgorthand.