For Mother's Day I want to share practical advice that's helped me manage my time and responsibilities as a caregiver and business owner. My son’s out the house, but I got to play Auntie to the sweetest little girl for about a week last month. Doing school runs (the traffic was real!), making sure she was fed, keeping her entertained and everything else that goes into nurturing a child, while also running my business got me thinking about things I wish I knew when I first launched Buy From A Black Woman.
So I decided to write them down and share them as my gift to you this Mother’s Day. Here are three things that helped me be present for my son and my family, while also giving my business the attention it needed to thrive.
1. Time management gives you grace
Learn how to optimize time. As a business owner there will always be something to do and moments where you feel like you're behind or even drowning. And as a mother there will always be demands on your time. So basically the work never stops! But learning how to use your time in a way that allows you to be effective without burning out will save you in the long run.
Books like The 12 Week Year and Atomic Habits helped me develop a work flow that actually allows me to be human, rather than working like a machine to fulfill the unrealistic expectations placed on us by society. So find books (here’s my 2023 reading list if you want more recommendations), scheduling tools and apps, and whatever aides you need to manage your time and honor any time boundaries that you set for yourself. Also:
Prioritize your tasks: Make a to-do list each day and prioritize your tasks based on their level of importance. This will help you focus on the most important tasks and avoid busywork. Also, be flexible and open to re-prioritizing if necessary.
Set realistic goals: Be realistic about what you can accomplish each day. Don't try to do too much and end up feeling overwhelmed. Set achievable goals that you can accomplish within the time you have available.
Create a schedule: Create a schedule that includes time for both your business and your family. Set aside specific times for work and specific times for family time, and stick to your schedule as much as possible.
Schedule time for rest: Put this on your calendar so you aren’t tempted to just do one more thing, or do a chore around the house real quick. Your body and mind need rest so you can continue to be your best. And you deserve rest too.
2. It’s okay to ask for help
The people in your life who value you and whom you trust want you to succeed. they may not always have that time and or resources to help you, but if you don't ask for help you'll never know. So communicate openly. Be honest with your friends and family about your needs and limitations. Let them know how they can support you, and be clear about what you can and can't do.
And express your gratitude for their support. Let them know how much you appreciate their help and how it's making a difference in your life. This will help you maintain strong relationships even if you aren’t always available for socializing. And by the way, set clear boundaries with them so they know when you're available and when you need to focus on work in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
3. You can create the community you need
Don't be afraid to look outside your immediate circle of family and friends for support. Business groups, local family programs, and even service providers who specialize in child care can all be sources that you tap as you manage the demands of motherhood and running a business.
Here are some ways to find and build a supportive community:
Join a business group: Join a local business group or networking organization. This way you can connect with other business owners who understand what your life is like. This is why community is a big part of what we do at Buy From A Black Woman, it’s a safe space to be vulnerable with each other and support each other.
Connect with other mothers: Connect with moms in your area. Join a mom's group, go on playdates, or tap into parenting Facebook groups. This will give you a chance to connect with other mothers who can relate to your experiences and offer support and advice.
Hire help: Consider hiring a babysitter or nanny to help you with childcare while you work, or a housekeeper to help you with chores around the house. This can give you the time and space you need to focus on your business without feeling guilty about neglecting your family.
Find what works for you
Being the best mother you can be and the most effective business owner you can be is the goal. What this looks like is going to be completely unique to you, and it might not even look the same on different days, which is perfectly fine. The goal is to figure out what works for you long-term. And eventually you'll develop a flow that allows you to blend your family and business responsibilities without sacrificing your mental and physical health. I hope this helps you get to that place. Happy Mother’s Day!
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