I enjoy working in a family business. After spending so many years fighting rush hour traffic and toiling away in the corporate jungles of Washington, DC, I am thankful for my lifestyle. I don't have to jump through administrative hoops to take my children to the pediatrician's office. I have more control over how my intellect and leadership skills are used to serve others. When I'm super busy, my husband picks up the slack, and I do the same for him when his cup runneth over.
Perhaps the best benefit of all is the peace of mind that comes from being able to center my work around my home, instead of the other way around. I am not as splintered as I would most likely be if I had a traditional job. Even so, integrating business and family can be a real challenge. It is not all sunshine and roses.
The Truth About My Family Business
- I Lose Myself A Lot. At the end of a day, I sometimes sit in my family room and listen to the silence. My children are bathed, fed and bedded. The sound of their deep, relaxed breathing provides me with a sense of accomplishment. I know that my babies are sleeping soundly, unburdened with the overwhelm of life.Their book bags are neatly stacked in the corner, ready for the next day. I smile because their homework is done, and we live in a county with a fantastic public school system. Their clothes are (usually) picked out for the next day, and sometimes, I've even ironed them.My husband is either working in his office, reading or watching a favorite (probably sports-related) television show. Sometimes, I consider pulling him away to steal some “special time.” Then, I remember how tired I am and how much time we've already spent together that day steering our business forward and planning for the next thing.
I feel good that I've served my IBN members well, I'm ready for the next radio show, the newsletter and blog post drafting is done and the next member benefit is in place.
I've called my mom for the day and connected with my family on Facebook.
Does any of this sound familiar?
So what about me? I'm not sure I have a good answer for that. For the most part, I manage to catch up with myself in spurts. Like when the kids are at a sleepover or my husband takes them for the day (which he does a lot, bless his little heart!), I find pieces of myself on the back end. While that's better than not finding myself at all, it's really not how I want it to be.
I must find a way to put myself first more in 2010.
- Enough Is Never “Enough” When It Comes To My Children. No matter what I do, I never feel like any of it is “enough” for my babies. While I know that I must generate income in order to provide for them, and that takes time, I also know that my time with them is fleeting. So it's back and forth and back and forth.This juggling routine is magnified since all of it happens under their noses because I work from a home office. When they see me working, I'm not spending time with them. To a child, not spending time “right now” often results in the on-the-spot conclusion that I never spend enough time with them. Even though my head knows this is not true, in my heart, I still a twinge of feel mommy guilt.I must strike a more sensible balance between my mommy heart and my mommy head in 2010.
- Many Things Remain Unfinished. The list of things that absolutely must get done is never-ending. I am blessed to have a husband who does more laundry than me, and I am thankful that he partners with me where all household chores are concerned.But there are things that only a woman can contribute to a home, and the truth is that I sometimes don't do them because I must get that one more piece of work done.On evenings before I go to sleep, I make a list of three important business goals and three important personal goals I want to accomplish the next day. I revisit the list in the morning to confirm how I will schedule my day. While I almost always get at least one of each accomplished, life often gets in the way and I frequently end up carrying some things over to the next day. By the end of the week, the list is impossibly long.
Some weeks, I beat myself up and drive myself crazy getting it all done. Other weeks, I just leave stuff undone — which I guess really means that some things don't absolutely have to get done.
I must find a better way to distinguish between what must get done and what absolutely must get done in 2010.
I Am Not Whining. (Am I?)
As I said at the top, I have it really good. I enjoy what I do and I feel genuine love and passion for the wonderful people I serve. I am so thankful. But being a wife, a mother and a family business owner requires consistent effort on multiple fronts. In addition to being challenged to generate a profit, mom business owners are also challenged to prioritize the cultivation of self, apart from both the family and the business.
I plan to do a better job of doing just that throughout 2010, starting with Just One Thing. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Question: If you are a mom or dad with a family business, can you identify with any of the experiences described here? What's your story and how do you successfully integrate all of the details?