a family sit together in their home office making use of social networking and computer technology
making use of social networking and computer technology a family sit together in their home study

It’s a fact that we mompreneurs are in high demand. Our kids want us, our clients want us, the dishes want us, the pile of laundry wants us . . . . But even superstars need boundaries from their adoring public. We can’t be all things to all people all the time. We have to make sure others respect us and not take advantage of us, and that means taking care of business like a mother.

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

– “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree

That starts with taking care of yourself. Now, I’m going to make this easy: there are a whopping 2 things you should start doing to take care of yourself (which in turn becomes an advantage for your family and business). Two simple things that you will thank me for once you make them a habit. Ready?

#1 Establish boundaries

For some of you shyer folks, establishing boundaries may be a new experience, but they are necessary to make sure you get the respect you deserve and need to function well.

What kind of boundaries am I talking about? Here’s a few examples:

  • No means no, no matter who it’s told to.
  • Set your work hours. If a client needs to talk with you, they can do it during your business hours. Also, there’s always something else to do, but if it’s quitting time, leave it for the next day, because now it’s family time.
  • Office space: it’s your office, not an extension of your kids’ playroom.
  • The Shut Door: I have a rule that if my door is shut, I am not to be disturbed. Whatever the kids need can wait (unless there’s a fire).
  • Phone calls: Another rule I have concerns client calls. On the rare occasion when I am expecting a client call, they know when I’m on the phone that they cannot talk or make noise. The sound of kids or pets as background noise to a phone conversation is a turn-off for clients who expect professionalism. Make sure you maintain it.
  • Stick to the Contract: if your client signed a contract for you to perform x-number of deliverables, hold them to it. If they ask for more, get it in writing and adjust your fee accordingly. They also need to pay on time and respect the deadline. The client is not your friend (though they may be friendly). You have a business relationship with them, so keep it professional. Don’t mistakenly think that you should do a little extra for them in hopes of getting repeat business. Uh-uh. I’ve found the nicer I am, the worse it gets. The firmer I am, the smoother the project goes.

#2 Pamper yourself

We moms often struggle with that nagging sense of guilt at the back of our minds that we should do more for our families, even if it means denying ourselves. We’re used to skipping meals, breaks, new purchases, opportunities to get away—you name it, all in the name of putting others before ourselves. But you gotta renounce that guilt complex and take care of yourself in order to be a better mom and business owner.

What are some ways to take care of yourself? Here’s a few examples:

  • Nap
  • Walk
  • Workout at the gym
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Mani/pedicure
  • Indulge in your hobby
  • Shopping (even window shopping–the exercise will do you good)
  • Movie night by yourself or with your girlfriends (no animated films for once!)
  • Movie marathon (like all those British period drama miniseries)
  • A weekend away (let the grandparents or other relatives watch the kiddoes)
  • Trip to the day spa. Even a one hour massage works.

YOU are your greatest business asset. You’re also a mom. Boundaries and taking time for yourself will help your household and business run more smoothly. Now that’s taking care of business like a mother.

Becky Duncan