Work-life balance is a buzzword you hear a lot these days, but there is no simple solution when it comes to juggling the many demands of family, business, and career.
It's something that all workers, especially mompreneurs—who are responsible for both earning money and taking care of children—grapple with on a daily basis. However, there are some steps that mompreneurs can take to feel more balanced and help ensure they are not guilting themselves for not being perfect.
Here are what some successful mompreneurs had to say about finding work-life balance in their own lives.
Making Sure the Important Things Come First
When figuring out how to balance work and family life, it's crucial to know what your priorities are. Mompreneur and CEO and founder of Green Kid Crafts Penny Bauder says she makes deliberate choices about what she wants out of life on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, and then proceeds with her tasks accordingly.
"Instead of just letting things happen, I am very intentional about how I spend my work, family, and personal time, and this helps me to deal with distraction and guilt," Bauder says. "I have a road map of what is important to me and then I commit to following the path."
Creating an Organized To-Do List
Finding work-life balance can start with a simple to-do list for your daily responsibilities. Shelley Meche'tte, certified life purpose coach and women's change agent, says, "Creating a daily list is always helpful in keeping a balanced lifestyle, but one should not become fixated on that list. Sometimes things will roll over to another day. Sometimes, more precedent activities will force their way into your day. This is OK."
"Balance doesn't mean you give the exact percentage of attention to everything. It means being able to complete tasks that mean the most and will have the greatest impact for an outcome of success," says Meche'tte.
Separating Work and Family Time
Ideally, when trying to achieve work-life balance, mompreneurs can put a distinct boundary between work and family time. Meche'tte says giving yourself set hours to work and to be with family are important. Practically, this could mean hiring a nanny to be with young children during the day when you're working, or shifting your schedule so that you work when the kids are at school. Additionally, she said entrepreneur life should be treated as you would a regular 9-5 job, unless emergencies arise.
"When we learn to allow work to be in its own place and allow home/family to be in its own place, we are more able to enjoy the moments and beauty of both," says Meche'tte. "We work to provide for ourselves and our families, but when we do not take time to value the ones whom we work so hard for, we miss the most important parts of life."
Finding Other Women Who Understand
When deciphering how to balance work and family life, mompreneurs need other women they can rely on for feedback, help, and support. Lydia Fenet, managing director and global director of strategic partnerships at Christie's, says, when she was traveling for a book tour, she didn't spend much time with her children.
She found herself sitting in an airport and crying because she felt like a terrible mother. She texted some friends, telling them how awful she felt, and they responded, "You've got this, mama," and "You do this for your kids." This outpouring of support made her feel better about the situation.
"Surround yourself with an amazing squad of women—and, in those low moments, make sure to reach out for encouragement," says Fenet. "Working moms can't do this alone, and stay-at-home moms can't do it alone. Be the person who supports others and make sure the people in your world do the same."
Learning to Accept a Lack of Balance
The truth is, sometimes, you have to accept that things in your work and life aren't going to be balanced—and that's fine.
"I've learned that I had to give up my concept that everything would be perfect at home and at work at the same time," says Josephine Geraci, founder and president of My Mom Knows Best, Inc., and a mompreneur for the past 13 years. "If I got up and pulled my house together, cooked dinner, and all the laundry was caught up, guess what? My desk at the office would surely be far from perfect."
Instead of getting wrapped up in the lack of work-life balance she has sometimes, Geraci has learned to have a good attitude. "Being a mompreneur is truly like riding a roller coaster," Geraci says. "But it's one of the sweetest rides you can take through life."