“What do you need?” (grouchy voice)
“Don’t touch my things.” (snappy voice)
“Go play for 5 more minutes.” (begging voice)
“We’ll do that when I finish here.” (apologetic voice)
“I. Said. I. Would. Be. Finished. In. A. Minute.” (tyrant voice)
Do any of these phrases and voices sound familiar to you? My all-time favorite, actually my all-time loathed, is the last one.
The pronunciation is done several ways. “I said. I would be finished. In a Minute,” uttered with only a little annoyance. As our frustration grows and our children continue to hang around us (the gall!), we begin to pronounce each word as its own sentence. “I. Said. I. Would. Be. Finished. In. A. Minute.” And when our exasperation hits its limits, we (at least I can speak for myself…sadly) start to break words into 2 parts like, “Fin. Ished.”
“I. Said. I. Would. Be. Fin. Ished. In. A. Minute!”
Bring on the Guilt
Pretty soon after we bark out one of the lovely statements above (or similar remarks that are popular in your house), the guilt begins to creep into our minds.
Of course, we fight against it at first, rationalizing our motives for such statements. We say things like, “Come on, I am just asking for a few more minutes,” or “Just give me a second to myself.” Our lips are held tight, our eyes hold a crazed look to them, and our heads nod just a little to place emphasis on our rational, yet irrational thoughts. The ones we have now verbalized under our breath in an angry whisper, really to ourselves yet not caring if someone else hears.
But as soon as we have that hard-fought moment to ourselves and reflect on this little exchange with our children, the guilt storms in, demanding a pound of flesh.
Our Plan of Action
If you have ever experienced this (and I am betting you have), you know just how rotten you feel and probably your children feel when it is over. The joy of accomplishing the task you set out to do is diminished by the yuck you feel about yourself because of the whole nasty exchange. (And I love marking things off my to-do list! But that great feeling doesn’t compare to the bad feeling of dismissing my children.)
So, what to do about it?!
How do we mothers feel less yucky about ourselves and still manage our household duties and meet business goals?
Drum rooollllllll....We SCHEDULE!
I know it sounds simple. And it is.
But, it takes discipline to make time to plan.
It also takes discipline to follow through with your plan once you have made it. It is a choice you choose everyday. Disciplined people make good choices by the moment. They don’t just wake up one day disciplined and never fight their lazy tendencies again. (Preachin’ to myself right here…and anyone else who might need that little motivational speech today.)
Why schedule time to work on our businesses and not just fly by the seat of our pants?! I know some of you are bristling at the thought of scheduling.
After all, isn’t motherhood about enjoying time with our children? You can’t schedule fun…joy! (Come on, Rach! Don’t you know that?!)
That is a correct sentiment…to some extent. But, if you are building a side business, you have to work at some point. And your work time must be productive. You don’t have time to waste.
Reason 1: Productivity
When you schedule time to work away from your children (perhaps still in your house, though), you are much, much more productive. You focus hard for that hour or 2 hours and actually get a lot done.
Here's the other option. Experience anything like this before? Package a box for shipping. Lose the label because your child interrupted you for a snack. Reprint the label. Then realize you left the package in the kitchen when you inadvertently took it to prepare the snack. Retrieving the box, you are once again in your child's line of sight and another request of you is made. 30 minutes of “work on your side business” = one product only half prepared for shipping.
Ugh! What a waste of everyone's time--yours and your child's!
Reason 2: Mistakes
You are trying to create and grow a side business. Bluntly speaking, you can’t afford and don’t need to make many mistakes.
Side note, mistakes will happen. That is a part of life and a part business. Accept that fact now. I am talking about careless mistakes, though. The ones that can be avoided with the right amount of attention.
Many people pride themselves in finding products at the start up level…like finding a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with the best food in town. A secret that people can’t wait to share. It makes them feel important, like they know something others don’t.
Friend 1: “Where did you get that necklace?”
Friend 2: “Oh…do you like it?! I stumbled upon this lady’s website. She is just starting out, but her stuff is beautiful!”
Friend 1: “What is the name of her site?”
These are the type of exchanges we want! We want people raving about our products and ideas. We don’t want disgruntled customers.
Two Weeks Later…
Friend 1: “Hey, girl! I ordered from the site you told me about. The necklace I ordered was beautiful and well priced. But, I didn’t get the one I ordered. And, when I tried to get the right necklace, she sent the wrong thing…again. It was a nightmare.”
Friend 2: “Sorry to hear.”
Scheduling focused time for your side business helps lessen situations like this one.
Let’s face it, when you are starting out, you need all of the good publicity you can drum up. And, you financially just can’t afford to reship things or to remake items. Not to mention how much time it costs you!
Reason 3: Guilt
This is near and dear to a mother’s heart…the guilt we feel for pursuing our own entrepreneurial dreams (and the little hearts we sometimes crush with careless comments on our way to the top…no wait, just to the next little step.)
Let me be perfectly clear. There is a time and place to tell your children that you are working and you need time to yourself to do that work. There is nothing wrong with that! That is how we teach our children to value work and to value other people’s spaces and ideas.
That is why scheduling your work time is so powerful. It removes the guilt by placing it on our to-do list.
It moves “work on business” from the something-I will-do-when-I-have-time category to the get-it-done-today category. The concept is the same with anything we care about…making time to work out, going on a date with our husbands, worshiping our Lord, and spending time with our children.
We have to intentionally make time…to schedule.
Otherwise, things get in the way. We are left frustrated because we (the moms) didn't get to do something we wanted (or really needed) to do. It is that frustration and attempts at multitasking (in order to squeeze in our wanted activities) that we lash out at those people standing in our way of accomplishing that task. (Admittedly, often times these so-called people are lying, crying, eating, screaming, etc. in our way. They aren't actually standing. But, you get my point.)
If we do things to lessen our frustrations, such as schedule official work time for our side business, our careless comments lessen. And when we are more thoughtful in our speech, we feel much less guilt! Think of scheduling work time as a preemptive strike on mom guilt!
One significant point must be made now. So...here goes.
I allowed myself to write this post because I am living it daily. I know the guilt, first hand, that comes from trying to sneak in 21 minutes of unscheduled work from 9:18 a.m. to 9:39 a.m.
The boys are playing in the living room quietly and sweetly. I suddenly remember the Instagram post I was going to share earlier or the paragraph I needed to write so I walk to my bedroom to do it. Much like the technology used on heat-seeking missiles, my boys instantly sense that I have left the kitchen and must be attempting some unplanned work on my business.
A fight breaks lose, the bodies come rolling down the hallway spilling into my bedroom, and the tales of what caused the fight begin. Both boys tell me at the same time at a noise level too much for my ears. This is minute 2 of the 21 minutes of unscheduled work time. Scenarios such as this continue over the next 19 minutes.
But, like the dummy I am, I plug away on that Instagram post or blog post or whatever business task, until I spew some (or all) of the commentary that started this article.
So, see, I am a real expert here. On the front lines and in the trenches. Fallible. But determined.
My imperfect self aims to create a side business of my own, while I lovingly (most days!) show my children what it means to set goals and to pursue them like a crazy person. (And some day, they may be that good kind of crazy too.)
Christy Wright's 5 Most Important Qualities You Can Teach Your Kids A Happy Mother's Day post about the power of moms modeling honorable characteristics
my post How to Set Realistic Goals as a Mompreneur A post about owning the stage of life you are in and using that knowledge to set tough, yet attainable goals
my post 15 Hours to a Side Business You Love A post about wisely using your limited time for a side business, inspired by an episode of Dan Miller's 48 Days podcast
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