Mom guilt. It’s what many single working mothers carry with them when they head out the door in the morning. This guilt blooms from thinking that they are not raising their children in the best way possible, perhaps even berating themselves for running a business full-time instead of being a stay-at-home mom. But for single mothers, staying home simply isn’t an option. There is no one coming to the rescue, so you must provide for yourself and your children. This is why balance is so important when it comes to running a business and raising children.
Single parenthood isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying to run a business, co-parent, and have a life of your own. But, the lack of a partner shouldn’t stop moms from kicking butt at home AND in their businesses. Here are 5 secrets that successful moms have shared for balancing a business and single parenthood.
5 Tips for Balancing a Business and Single Parenthood
1. Leave Work at the Office
Even if you work from home, do your best work when you’re actually ‘at’ work or in your home office. But, unless it’s absolutely pressing, avoid taking work ‘home’ with you. Teach your children that when the door is closed, mommy is working, but also try not to do too much work when your kids are home with you. This will prevent your children from feeling neglected and will give you more of an opportunity to spend quality time with them.
“I work from home running an online sticker shop. Because I have the luxury to work from my home, it makes it difficult to know when I’m ‘off the clock.’ I continually have to remind myself to stick to a schedule and leave work at the proverbial door.” -Sylvia D, 32.
2. Set a Family “Date-Night”
One slice of parenting advice for balancing a business and single parenthood is to set a regular family night each week. Stick to your personal schedule as though it were your work schedule. Doing so will help your children see time with you as a reliable, sure thing.
“My children know that every Wednesday night is family night. They take turns picking an activity to do and then we do it. Sometimes we just spend the evening talking. It’s really important for all of us to stay connected this way.” Donna N, 30.
3. Be Emotionally Available
Children thrive when there are boundaries and communication in the household. They need to know that you are there for them emotionally as well as physically and financially. Maintaining open communication with your little ones is essential for balancing a business and single parenthood.
“I love my work, but so did my dad. I remember wishing he was around more often for me and I don’t want my daughters to feel that way about me. I remind them constantly that I am there whenever they need me. Am I at the office? Call me! If I’m sleeping? Wake me up!” -Natasha M, 37.
4. Take Time for Yourself
Single parenthood is no joke, especially when you’re running your own business. It may seem impossible to carve out some time for yourself in your already-hectic schedule, but you need to make time. You’ll be able to work harder and mother better when you are feeling fulfilled and happy with yourself.
Even taking 30-minutes in the morning or before bed to exercise, read a book, listen to music, or take a bubble bath can be incredibly helpful. If you have a weekend off from your kids as they are spending time with their other parent, do something you enjoy: go to a yoga class, go to the movies, go out to dinner with friends or sleep-in. Just do something for yourself, so you can feel rejuvenated.
“Definitely to take care of yourself. You can’t be a good mom or worker-bee if you have nothing left of yourself to give.” -Shannon K, 50.
5. Utilize Your Support System
Don’t be too proud to ask for help. When it comes to running a business and tackling single parenthood, utilize your support system for carpooling, babysitting and running errands. You can even ask friends and family to attend your child’s school activities or plan play dates for the times when you can’t be there.
“The person who came up with the phrase ‘it takes a village’ is a genius, because yeah, it takes a village. A country, actually, to raise a baby. If you’ve got friends, use them!” -Patrice O, 34.
Being a great mom while balancing a business takes practice, but you can get there. Moms must learn to teach their children that mom works hard so we can all play hard. Just remember to treat your kids like your #1 customer, lean of your village for help, prioritize family-time, be a good listener, and be present when you spend time with your children. Most importantly, don’t let mom guilt rob you of the hard work you put into your business or the wonderful times you share with your children. By following these parenting tips, it will enable you to balance a business and single parenthood like a pro.