039: How Do You Balance Your Biz & Your Kids?
So, how’s your summer going? Are you having a blissful time with the family? Or perhaps you're still a bit stressed out about the work you're not getting done?
This is something I've been struggling with enormously this summer, which is my first full summer as an entrepreneur and coach. Deciding how to prioritise your time, particularly as a mum running a new business, is something that we all have to make decisions about - sometimes consciously, sometimes less so.
So, a question for you today - how much progress are you making for your business over the summer?
If your answer is not that much, are you at ease with that? Today we're going to dive into what it's like to be a mum and building a business at the same time. If that's something that you've struggled with too, let's begin.
Hi, I’m Jo Ingram, host of Action Taker Tribe, and welcome to today's episode, which is all about being a mum and building a business.
I was on a Zoom call the other day - we're on zoom all the time nowadays, right? – and as I was sitting there it was an opportunity for me to really start thinking about what was important in my life. I was going through a session where I was being asked to go inside, close my eyes, and start thinking about my why. Do you know what I mean by what is your why? Why is it you want to build your business? What is it that lights you up and drives you forward? What really is it that's deep within you that means you need to succeed in building this business?
Not unlike the majority of Mums out there, I thought about my children - my beautiful three daughters. I thought about how important it is to me to build a business that is successful for my family. I thought about how I really want to be a role model for them to show them that you do not have to have a career in something that you have no love for, like I did for 20 years in corporate. You can follow your passion, truly help people, and feel lit up every day, making an impact. I'm so excited to be that role model for them to show them that they can do anything they want to do in their future.
I knew as well that I want to create experiences and I want to have the money in order to do that. I want my family to travel, to be able to just decide that we can do anything we want to do and not have to think that money is holding us back in any way. I'd love to have those experiences that money can buy.
As I sat there deep in my revelry about the beauty of all that I want and why I want it, one of my kids opened the door to my office and the first thing that flashed through my mind was ‘shut the door, I'm on a call!’ I'm sure that you see the irony in this as just as much as I do. I just thought to myself, wow, as Mums, we want to do it so much for our beautiful children - and yet at the same time, balancing motherhood with building a business is an everyday reality. Loving our children fiercely and yet feeling the stress and strain of spending time with them and meeting their needs while still spending the time that we need to actually build our business. Does that resonate? I hope I'm not the only one.
I think it's such a vulnerable thing for us as Mums to admit that we are far from perfect.
Even though we work on our self-development so much, we are still a work in progress and our kids have that way of pressing our buttons.
I was in a great session the other day with Cathy Heller and Alison J Prince and literally in the middle of what was a really inspiring talk, Alison just stops and says, ‘is it okay if I go on mute for a second, just shout at my kids...’ For some reason, this really, really spoke to me. I think I've spent a lot of time trying to pretend that my children aren't around or interrupting. Kathy responded to tell a story about how, when she was interviewing Rob Lowe, one of her children showed up at the door and said she needed her bum wiped and Kathy had to literally go on silent, cover her mouth and say, ‘go and find daddy’.
This is the reality - this is certainly my reality. My kids drift in sometimes when I'm on a coaching call and I've got my desk positioned in such a way that they can't be seen on the screen, but I can see them. I use a hand gesture that sort of waves them away. That says, ‘not now’, really, I can't be interrupted. For the most part, they do pay attention to that, but not every time. Sometimes you've just got to be vulnerable and say, ‘excuse me, just one second’ and give the children the attention that they need.
But knowing what the right thing to do at the right time is, is a difficult thing.
Having grown up in corporate, I've always felt that professionalism is absolutely key and I'm never going to change. I will always feel that way. Yet knowing where that line is - is it professional to interrupt a coaching call with a paying coaching client to say, ‘excuse me, I've just got to deal with my child for a moment’? Or is it OK as a Mum to ignore your child and say, ‘there is no way I'm going to respond to whatever it is you need because I'm on a coaching call.’
The reality is I don't think that there is a right and a wrong answer. It's about making a decision in the moment, about trusting your instinct.
That's something I'm leaning into far more to try and understand exactly how to meet my whys - to be there for my children, to be present in a way that I wasn't when I was working long hours outside of the home for someone else. Yet to also be a person that's building a business with the integrity and professionalism that I believe is really required to be the business owner and entrepreneur that I can be, and I am already.
After all, prioritising our children is absolutely key. I know if you're listening to this podcast, then you are with me on this one - you're building a business because you want to prioritise your family in a way that perhaps you haven't been able to before.
For me, even creating my family was a mammoth task. When my first daughter was born 17 years ago, I nearly died in childbirth and was made infertile. I knew that I wanted to complete my family, but it then took another seven years for me to lean into surrogacy - international surrogacy - as the solution. Then my twins showed up at 29 weeks, so they were really, really premature, and we had to go through all of the worry of having little, tiny preemies. To come through that with three wonderful, beautiful, healthy, smart, courageous daughters who are now 17, and the twins 10, was something that I appreciate every single day. But do I appreciate it in such a way that I can translate that into being the best possible mum?
I'm going to be totally honest with you – no. A lot of the time I wonder why I can't seem to meet their emotional needs and I don't see how I can spend the time on my business - or prioritise particularly the time of day that I need to be working on my business, which as I'm in the UK, is often in the late afternoon or in the evening because I work with so many American clients. I love doing this, but there is that time difference aspect.
I often question to myself, am I doing the right thing?
The kids are around at this time but are they really around? - because they want to watch the TV or they want to go on their screens and play on Roblox, which is this big game that they’re all so obsessed by at the moment. So, I'm constantly moving between, wondering, ‘am I doing the right thing or not?’
If you're on Instagram and you watch reels, you may have seen this too, but there's a little Instagram reel that goes round at the moment where they talk about how they didn't want to work nine to five and now they're working 24/7 as an entrepreneur. It's ironic, right? You quit your day job because you don't want to work nine to five and then you end up putting in so many more hours.
Back to the subject of summer for a moment - how do we prioritise our time when it's the summer? How do we decide what's right for us? Is it more important to take a bit of downtime and spend more time with your family? Does that worry you, that your business isn't moving forward? There isn't a right or wrong answer, but I can certainly tell you what I have decided to do this summer.
First of all, I've got a vision, and my vision is that I can take summers off. I think to myself that we would go away for the whole summer somewhere hot, and I can totally spend that time giving my undivided attention to my kids, but that certainly isn't how I'm spending this summer. As it stands with the pandemic, that kind of travel isn't really a viable option for us at the moment, but even so I do feel that there's stuff I need to focus on for my business.
So, I've planned out my summer, not too dissimilar to when I worked in corporate. I've made sure that I'm spending a day or two with the kids every single week and doing fantastic day trips, but on the other days, they're spending time with grandma or they're in holiday clubs. It really does feel the right balance for us at the moment because my kids are super active, and they just need to be out with their friends. That's something that I couldn't necessarily provide for them, even if I was here 24/7, and it also allows me a good solid three days a week to be working on my business. Though let's be honest, three days a week, particularly at short hours by the time I drop off and pick up the kids, is not a massive number of hours.
I've had to come to terms with the fact that I can't get everything done. I've had to prioritise.
If that's something that you're leaning into this summer – the short number of hours on your business, I'm sure that you're thinking of the same thing too. So how have you prioritised? What is it that you've decided is most important?
As you probably know about me, I'm leaning much more into spirituality, alignment, and intuition when it comes to making decisions, rather than just using the ego mind and a purely rational decision-making process. I want to do all the things and I want it all done today or even yesterday.
So, it's time to take a few deep breaths and actually ask what is the most important thing to do, even if it's not something that provides instantaneous results?
Personally, I have decided to focus on training this summer. I know that in the fall, I'm going to be launching a new program - one that's focused specifically on developing amazing offers for new coaches and course creators. If that's something that calls to you, send me a DM and I'd love to tell you more about it. In the meantime, what I'm doing is diving into training about how to promote that best, how to build a business around an offer you're really proud of. That's something that takes time. It's not something I can do in five minutes, as much as I would wish that were true. Taking a step back from doing all the things to focus on the needle-moving things is something that I have lent into, and I would encourage you to do so too.
Decide what that one thing is. Perhaps for you it's about building an audience on Instagram this summer. Perhaps it's about understanding your avatar more. Perhaps you're also building a new offer but focus on just that one thing and let everything else go. Know that when September and October come, you will have achieved that one thing - that one thing that calls to you more than anything else. The thing that you're excited to do.
That's the other thing about when you have limited amounts of time - doing something that lights you up, that keeps you in a high vibrational state, means that you're actually more productive and it happens.
When you're trying to drag yourself through the day, to do something that doesn't really excite you, no wonder it takes hours and perhaps didn't even get to a point that you're proud of by the end of spending all of that time on it.
The summer is actually an amazing gift for our businesses. If, like me, you are deciding to take a step back in the summer, this is an opportunity to really think things through. We all know that running an online business coaching or course creating, in September and October, things really ramp up. Perhaps you've noticed that your clients have gone a little quiet over the summer too, as a lot of people are not working on their businesses full tilt, and a lot of people are not working on themselves. Whatever your business is focused on, summer may be a quieter time for you. Hopefully that's not something you're worrying about and it's actually something you're embracing.
This is our time to actually get our heads down, do something specific and significant.
That means that when we come back to our desks full energy in September or October, we're able to move forward with gusto, with enthusiasm. Not only that, but we can also know that we have spent that time with our kids - that we've created a balance that works for us.
Being a good Mum doesn't mean always getting it right. Being a successful entrepreneur doesn't necessarily mean spending all of our time worrying and working on our business.
I'm super focused in September on helping new coaches make big changes in their business. If you're at all worried about your lack of momentum, about your strategy, or how to prioritise as you move into the autumn, jump onto a discovery call with me. It's your opportunity to make some small changes now and to learn how I can help you in the future. The link for that is in the show notes.
If you like the sound of joining me on a program that focuses purely on creating the most amazing offer you can be proud to promote, then let me know too.
Send me an email or DM me on Instagram - my account is @iamjo.ingram. I'd love to share more information with you and an opportunity to join my waitlist on an early bird special.
Now I've finished recording this episode. I'm actually going to jump on my bike and cycle up to the Olympic Park in London. I'm going to do some training, but out in the open using my headphones with my notebook. I'm just going to take advantage of what it's like to be an entrepreneur, free to spend my time as I wish in the summertime. Then I'm going to pick my kids up from their daycare and we're going to hang out this evening.
So, let's celebrate the balance where we have it. Let's celebrate our freedom to choose.
Have an inspired action week. Take care. Bye now