{The REAL business journey – 
I call bullshit on being a work from home mum….}

So tonight while scrolling my fb feed yet another ad showed up. This time talking about how awesome it is to be a mum with a business, and you get to work from home and spend time with your kids and make lots of money…. yadda yadda yadda…. oh and how you too can have this amazing lifestyle with their health and wellness business (ie. MLM style business which acts all mysterious to try and suck you in 🙄. Just tell us your brand if it’s that good!!! Anyway that’s a post for another day…). And I am MAD!!!!!

I have seen so many women start businesses because they want to be at home with their children, only to later close them down. If this is your main reason to start a business, I’m telling you now, think hard about it first and if it’s what you really want! I learnt the hard way, working from home is not the perfect photos you see on social media, and to be quite frank, I’m bloody sick of business being made to appear so glamorous and subsequently setting women up for disappointment when it doesn’t meet their expectations.

So Working from home REALLY is:

– telling your children to wait 5 more minutes (for the fifth time) so you can do a website update.
– thinking you responded to an email only to find it half finished in your drafts folder because you had to tend to a hurt/spill/poop/dogs ear being pulled/cupboards being emptied… you get the picture. 
– Accidentally hitting the delete button on a fb post that took you an hour because you turned away to look at your sweet child about to climb on top of a cupboard.
– Feeling mum guilt for not spending enough time focused on your child as you are doing 10 things at once. ABC kids becomes a really great babysitter.
– Feeling business guilt for not spending enough time focused on your business.
– Working late at night once the kids go to bed as it’s the only time you can focus, but also means you are either missing time with your husband or tired the next day.
– Trying to explain to your friends that you actually are working, it’s called a business, even though you are at home.
– Putting on a load of washing and loading the dishwasher in between writing the copy for your website. Or just putting up with dishes on the sink (see photo below).
– Losing time for self care because you barely have time to shower in between chasing your now walking toddler and working on your business.

Businesses take a lot of work. As do raising children. I totally believed that it was possible to have it all but I very quickly realised that if I was to stay sane it simply wasn’t possible. 

Going into business for the flexibility of working at home with your kids isn’t the pretty picture it’s made out to be. As a working mum there are always trade offs whether you work from home or in the office. 

So before you make the leap to go into business make sure it’s for the right reasons. And here are a few tips to help make it easier:

– have child care options in place so you can dedicate a set amount of time to your business kid free, ie childcare, grandparents, creche, time share.
– Know what you want for your business and stick to it. Don’t get caught up in the hustle if that’s not what you want.
– Make sure your partner is on board and understands the time you need to spend on your biz.
– Have a great support team who will back you and keep you going. This maybe a business community, business coach/mentor or group of friends. 
– Schedule in self care time for you and make it a priority. You are your family and your businesses greatest asset.
– Be ready to be flexible. Things will happen that may mean family has to come first. Eg. Illness. 
– Get systems in place and automate what you can to ease the burden and maximise use of your time. For more in depth support, Aerlie Wildy has some great tools on this particularly around the use of asana, Evernote and planning (she is a guru on productivity!)! 
– Set boundaries. Learn to say no. Turn the phone off. Set up an email auto responder. Be clear on when you are in business mode and when not. And stick to them. Set them early and practice often, it will make such a difference to your stress and overwhelm levels.

I do have flexibility now to do school drop off and go to sports days etc. But the work doesn’t go away, there is no team to pick up the slack. I just have flexibility as to when I can do it. I am a much more engaged mum when I am with my kids now too and love picking them up from school and family day care and that time we get to spend before the dinner craziness.

I am sooooo insanely passionate about women growing successful AND sustainable businesses that bring joy, fulfilment and allow you to have fun (because I know for me, if I’m away from my kids I want it to be for these reasons!). Being realistic about the effort and challenges involved help to not only prepare as best you can but not feel so alone when the hit a speed bump. And if you do hit one and you need extra support, I am here to nurture you through. 

Xx Carly