All but one of my clients right now are women, and the majority of all my clients are parents. At half-term, how do you juggle being a Mum with being an Entrepreneur? Don’t! That’s my advice. Don’t split your focus. Organise your time across the business year so as to work extra efficiently during term time and be with your children when they are off school at half terms and holidays.
That’s easy for me to say, isn’t it? I don’t have kids, but here’s what I have observed over decades of working with parents who are self-employed. You feel guilty all the time because you shortchange every area of your life – your business/work, your partner, your children, yourself. Not necessarily in that order. You feel guilty all the time. That bears repeating because its oppressive, isn’t it? It’s exhausting to have to carry that emotion. Allow me to give you permission to put it down, put down your guilt.
Some of my parent clients tell me that they would go mad if they didn’t do some work in half terms and holidays. Fair enough. You know yourself better than I do and maybe that’s true. Maybe, just maybe. Or maybe its simply that you have forgotten how and because you feel guilty. There’s always something that needs doing somewhere, isn’t there?
If you have children and you want to give them your undivided attention for three half terms a year, then let’s plan your business accordingly. I know that’s possible, do-able. I’ve seen it done and for all areas of our lives to improve dramatically – mental health and wellbeing, wealth and happiness.
So when my client logged in on Monday morning with her weekly report and I know she is in beautiful Cornwall for half-term I said “Hello, lovely to hear from you, thank you for that report. Now unplug and go be with your family. I don’t want to hear from you again for 7 days. Bog off.” No, I probably didn’t say bog off…but you get the gist?
Anything to which we give our single focus we are likely to do better; we’ve just forgotten how to single task, that’s all. You won’t get those weeks back – ever. OK, once the kids are over a certain age, they may not want to spend as much time with you, but whilst they do – enjoy. Be with them and have them learn or re-learn how to just be with you. Appreciate each other. Give it your full attention and love. Be emotionally available and 100% present, not distracted by work or digital addiction.
Time invested in family improves so much about our relationships and our lives and our society and our planet. Some of my parent clients believe that good parenting is the best contribution they can make to our world and I am inclined to agree with them, looking at society’s ills.
And what can us singletons learn from this? When on holiday, unplug. Do agree with your travel companions and loved ones that you will allow yourselves perhaps an hour a day at the internet cafe to check in, then switch off. Go be with each other. Go to the yoga class. Go sight seeing. Take some arty photographs. Pursue your hobbies and interests, hang out, chillax. Read. Switch off. Re-charge. That’s what holidays are for, with or without kids.
The sort of half life where we never truly focus on our work and never really switch off to be with our kids and/or partners, or just with ourselves, is just draining and unproductive and – er – tragic. It is, as I say, a half life. No one part is truly lived; no one part of us is truly fulfilled and that’s just a criminal waste of our one precious life.
But this surely is the beauty of self-employment: we can create and shape a working life of choice. We don’t have to be accountable to a boss and we can educate our clients, most of whom are parents too, that we are not available 24/7 during weekends, retreats, half terms and school holidays. You lead, they’ll follow and even if they don’t, their respect for you will grow and their envy. “Look at that woman! I wish I could run my life like she does.”
As one of my clients said to me in an email last night – and she a parent with two school age children on half-term: “It is amazing what you can do in a short space of time when that is literally all you allow yourself. Often when I’ve had the whole school day I’ve probably achieved less.” Yes, it is amazing. She was talking about what she got done in 45 minutes. That’s the power of focus.
I can help you achieve that. Talk to me about re-shaping your business and family life. Be the dog that wags the tail not the tail that wags the dog. Email me now or send me a Facebook private message, or better still on Monday when the kids have gone back to school and you are home alone once more and twiddling your thumbs wondering where to start. All that luxurious space of a whole day… but how much of it are you using powerfully so that next half term – it’s October, remember – you can have a whole week off work and completely chill out and be with them, whoever they are, your people of choice, tinies or grown-ups, your special people.
And why don’t us single/childless people give ourselves half terms off too, now that I come to think about it?