Back to school.
Can you hear the collective sighs of relief from the mumpreneurs around the country?
It’s not that we don’t love spending time with our kids. It’s not that we prefer work over mum time – most of us love both in equal measure. It’s just that doing both at the same time is well nigh impossible.
When my child first went to school I was thrilled that now I would have the time to grow my business. I’d let it tick over for the early years of his life, offering services in response to word of mouth referrals. Wonderful work with social entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and thought leaders in a coaching and facilitation role. Work that stimulated, work that was time limited, work that contributed. It was ideal. My child was in childcare for a few days a week, and the grandparents helped out once a week. It ran pretty smoothly.
Then my child started school. I felt like I was growing up all over again, with my child, and now was the time to really get moving in my business. Right?
- School has shorter hours than preschool.
- School has homework commitments.
- School wants parents to pop in and help out.
And school has…. wait for it…. SCHOOL HOLIDAYS. The first one crept up on me with what seemed like no warning. SEVEN WEEKS! I was astounded. Seven weeks? What was I to do about my work? Why hadn’t I thought about this beforehand? How would I be utterly present to my son (which is my commitment when I am with him) and utterly present to my clients (which is also my commitment)?
Actually, I couldn’t.
And then it happened again – just 9 and a half weeks later. Another break. Another two and a half weeks off. I settled in, tried to manage it all in those holidays with a tatty mix of exchange playdates and one or two holiday program days. But then it was just another nine and a half weeks and – woah – there they were again! Holidays.
You get the picture.
I’m 18 months into the school journey, with a good few years to go. I’ve just launched my first book, the Mentor Within, and to keep the momentum and manage the follow-up I landed up working from 5am to 6am each morning before my morning walk and the holiday days. I had great adventures with my son, and loved the time out, but noticed my head was often in two places at once. Not a good idea, and something had to change. I could no longer pretend my business was continuing while I wasn’t there.
I’ve made my decision.
I am becoming a proud ‘schooltermpreneur’, and I’m inviting others to join me.
Over the next six months I will explore with my clients how to shift their businesses so that they run in the four 9 and a half week terms that our kids are at school. I will explore how we can make the same money in a shorter work year, and how we can achieve our goals in smarter ways, exploring what we already know is right. I will turn this decision into a powerful triple win – one that works for each of us, for those around us, and for the world.
These are my commitments:
- One thing at a time: to be an entrepreneur and a mum, I am committing to focus on either work or school, but not on both at the same time
- No more pretence: I will no longer pretend I am available all through the year.
- School terms will be work terms: I will organise my work so that it happens in four nine and half week batches.
- Bringing in others to back me: I will offer opportunities for those not affected by school terms the opportunity to keep things ticking over in school holidays.
- I will listen to my Mentor Within: I will hear the messages coming through from my inner wisdom that says I should celebrate both – school and work time, and holiday time.
Perhaps I’ll create a label, a badge of honour, a certification, and start a tribe. We’ll be recognised and we’ll be proud. I think that’s a plan.
What’s your experience of running your own business and being a mum of a school-age child? Would you like to become a proud (and recognised) schooltermpreneur?