Before diving into the entrepreneurial world, what was your vision of how your time and family life would be?
If you are like many parent entrepreneurs, you probably imagined spending more time with your children and family but quickly realized as an entrepreneur, your work is never done. You always need to work on your business to keep evolving, marketing, budgeting and engaging with your community via social media.
Cue the parental guilt.
Sometimes you will be working with your children at your feet, or trying to outpace them as you walk around the house on a business call. Sometimes you'll need to go to your office and shut the door. Sometimes you'll feel guilty because you love your business so much and feel passionate and excited about it and just need more time to work!
It's okay to love your business and your children, yet you feel guilty that you are giving neither one the time they deserve. Here are 3 tips to help you combat guilt as a parent entrepreneur:
PUT DOWN THAT PHONE
When you make the decision to play with your children and be with your family, be fully with them. They will appreciate an hour of complete attention rather than two hours of you tweeting and emailing while playing. Be present.
When the guilt creeps back in, you can also use this dedicated time as a reminder that you do spend quality time with your children.
DETERMINE YOUR BEST WORK TIME
Reflect on your productivity. Consider what were the driving factors behind you achieving the work you were most proud of.
What time of the day do you get the most work done? Where do you find it easiest to work? What do you need to feel focused and ready to go? Find the answers to these questions, and schedule your work time accordingly.
ALLOW YOURSELF A BUFFER ZONE
You know things are going to happen in your family life that you cannot foresee. Children get sick, you get sick or your toddler has decided to drop their afternoon nap. These are situations that are very likely going to impact your work time. Allow yourself to give into what is happening and accept it.
When offering timelines to clients, tell them you need more time than you actually think you do. State you need four days when you think you'll actually need two. Better to deliver early than late. This extra time will enable you to take care of family life and even have time for an extra hour at the park or library because you're having fun.
Life may not always be balanced, sometimes you will work too much because you have deadlines or an amazing opportunity comes your way. Sometimes you'll stay off twitter for days on end because you are completely focused on being a parent. As an entrepreneur you can be flexible about your time. Find what works for you and your family.
Recognize that as a parent entrepreneur the guilt might not ever go away. You can always be working on your business more and you can always be with your children more. Remember that you are teaching your children about following dreams, creating their own opportunities and making their own path.