If you’re a woman business owner, you know how difficult a juggling act balancing your family and your business can be. Whether your family includes a spouse, significant other, kids, aging parents or all of the above, keeping them happy while keeping your business running is never easy.
If you’re having an even harder time of it than usual, maybe you need to sit down and assess whether your family is really supporting your business and if not, what you can do about it. Here are some steps to creating one big, happy family:
- Pay attention. Often when we’re falling short, our families tell us in nonverbal ways. It’s tough when you’re working 18-hour days, but it’s important to tune into the signals your loved ones are sending. Is your child acting up? Are his grades sliding? It might be a sign he feels you aren’t paying enough attention to him. Is your husband always irritable? That could mean the same thing.
- Address the problem in an honest way. Figure out what isn’t working and what you can do about it. If your child’s schoolwork is a problem, can you work from home to spend some time with him when he gets home from school? Set aside time to really be with your loved ones, not half-listening while checking email on your smartphone.
- Enlist support. Of course, I’m not suggesting you become a doormat. As part of addressing the problem, it’s important to ask for what you need. Explain why your business is important to the family and that you need their support to succeed. Often, this is all that your family needs to be reminded of.
- Work out compromises. Making it work requires trade-offs. Maybe you need to spend an hour each afternoon helping your kids with homework. In return, however, you can let them know that you need an hour of uninterrupted work time after dinner. Figure out a plan that makes sense for your family.
- Set boundaries. Thanks to electronic devices, it’s easy for your business to consume every waking moment, but this inevitably leads to problems with loved ones feeling neglected (not to mention what it does to your physical and mental health). Set boundaries, whether it’s a family dinner at 6:00 every night so you can really listen to your kids, or no checking email after 10 p.m. so you and your significant other can have some quality time.
- Don’t try to do it all. The belief that we can have and do it all is, in my opinion, harmful to women’s mental health. No one can fire on all cylinders at all times as a wife/girlfriend, mom, daughter and business owner. Accepting that your life will never be “in balance” 100 percent of the time is the first step to feeling more in control.
By implementing these steps, you’ll find your family becomes more supportive of your business and both your loved ones and your business benefit.
Image by Flickr user tomo908us (Creative Commons)Google+