Women are still faced with difficult decisions when it comes to having a family and a career. Mothers are twice as likely to quit their job or reduce their hours to care for a child than fathers.
Among women who say that they “reduced their work hours in order to care for a child or family member, 35% say it hurt their career overall” compared to just 17% of men.
But, this is 2019 and motherhood no longer has to be synonymous with career suicide.
Many women feel the societal pressure to choose between a career and a family. Reconciling our personal and professional goals can seem like an impossible task. However, mother and entrepreneur, Julia Collins, argues, “we don’t ask our male colleagues how they balance.” There’s even evidence that proves that “skilled professional women who have children outperform their peers who do not in the areas of productivity, efficiency, time management and empathy.”
Working moms are more productive.
Did you get that? If that’s not all you need to go out there and slay your work and parenting responsibilities, here are four ways to totally dominate at being both a mother and an entrepreneur:
Surround Yourself with Support on All Sides
In an article by the Chicago Tribune, Julia Collins says that she is upfront and honest with those she plans to work with in her business. She’s pregnant and she says to investors, “As we think about next year, we’re making plans to strengthen the team around me during the time I’ll be away.” Building a strong team at the office will help you during maternity leave, or just during those times when your family needs you more.
Often times, the operation of the business relies so heavily on the founder, that when she’s away, the team struggles. Avoid being that single point of failure. Set your team, and ultimately your family up for success by enabling and empowering them to run the show without you. That doesn’t mean that you’ll get a perfect and uninterrupted maternity leave. Your business is your baby too, so expect calls for the occasional check-in and questions. If you’re already a mom, you know that maternity leave after the first kid is anything but peaceful anyway.
They say raising kids takes a village. Just like building up your work team, it’s important to build a solid team around your family as well for those late nights at the office, work trips, and times when being a mother and an entrepreneur just feels overwhelming. A supportive spouse or partner, grandparents, extended family, and hired help like nannies, daycare providers, and mothers’ helpers can make the challenge of running a business and a family much more manageable.
Pave the Way
As a business owner, you have a say in how parenthood is perceived in your company. Change the rules. Don’t allow a culture that’s toxic to working moms to thrive. If you choose to have children, set the example for your employees, and your peers, and show them that they can manage a career and kids. They can, and should, take parental leave to bond with their new baby. By making simple changes, we can change the stigma of the working mom from negative to positive.
As the captain of your ship, you have the authority to choose to partner with investors and businesses who respect your decision to be both a parent and a business owner. We often assume that bringing up a pregnancy, or the fact that we have children at home, will turn investors and business partners off. Be open with the people you want to work with and don’t settle. If you’re running an environmentally conscious company, you wouldn’t agree to work with someone who is adamantly against eco-friendly business practices. Put the same principle into play with it comes to parent-friendly businesses. Don’t be afraid to pass up the first opportunity if they aren’t the right fit for your business’s story, the next opportunity is usually better anyway.
Grace, Not Perfection
Being both a mother and an entrepreneur is a tall order, and it won’t always be a walk in the park. There will be days that you’ll have to give more of yourself to your business, and there will be days when you have to give more to your family. There will also be days when you feel that you can’t give enough of yourself to either. What it all boils down to is that you can be both an entrepreneur and a mother. What will hold you back is the idea that you have to be perfect at both. If your goal is to raise perfect children and run a perfect business, you’ll find yourself exhausted and empty at the end of the day. So, give yourself a little grace and choose to love being both a mother and an entrepreneur, because your family, your business, and you deserve nothing less.