The last two days, on this site, I've introduced you to Leveraging the Talents of Moms with parts I and II, An Untapped Marketing Resource and Win-Win for All Concerned, respectively.
Today, it's time to talk about A Balancing Act / Releasing the Guilt - Managing home responsibilities with commitments to business.
Understanding how to leverage the talents of Moms requires a keen understanding of Moms - (ladies feel free to chime in on this one - remember, I am a guy, so I don't want to go too far here with out your approval - or you correcting me).
*** Note: I say understanding of Moms, not women. There is a difference - there is a change that takes place - whether it is physiological, psychological or both doesn't matter - it's important that neither men or (non-Mom) women really understand.
Truth is, up until the day women become pregnant, they are much more like men - but when that day arrives, when the "rabbit dies" (as the saying goes), everything in their life changes. And those changes aren't for nine months, ten years, or even eighteen years - becoming a Mom is a permanent life changing experience. Sure, we Dads are changed as well, when we have a kid - but don't kid yourself Men, we can't hold a candle to the ladies on this one.
Before pregnancy, we are all "mostly" self-centered. Sure, we might love others, and give a lot of ourselves to our spouses and other relatives - but on the whole, that "giving" is nothing like becoming a Mom.
Why this is important to understand is that Mom's have a tough struggle - trying to figure out how to give all they want to give to their children (and their spouses), while still having an identity and even a professional life. It's a balancing act, trying to find an equilibrium between their own needs and the needs of the family they love so dearly.
For Business Owners:
So if you, as a business owner, want to leverage the talents of Moms, you need to understand this balancing act - understand that there is still amazing talent that is within the heart and soul of Moms, its just that their NUMBER ONE COMMITMENT will always be to their children - its instinctual. It is going to happen. You are going to come up number two (at best) in their mind - overall.
The reason I bring up this "balancing act" and commitment to children, is because you can't win this battle - you can not change the way a Mom thinks. When the kids get the sniffles, she is going to stay home. When snow falls and the kids stay home from school, most of the time, its Mom that is going to stay home - not Dad. Get over it and stop resisting it.
So when the Eight Week point comes after the baby is born, and maternity leave is over, understand that the employee you are getting back in not the same one that left. If you didn't see the change before she left, you are definitely see one now. The key is learning what to do and how to work with it, instead of against it. Because believe it or not, even though you have dropped a peg or two in the priority level in her mind, as long as you respect and understand her new "situation", her dedication to you overall has most likely gone up immensely.
The root key to it all is helping them satisfy their number one commitment as easily and smoothly as possible, so that they have more time and energy for you when they are working for you.
If you want to understand how best to not just make the best of this situation, but actually turn it into a windfall for you, check out tomorrow's Blog, Flexibility and Support - The key to working with Moms is understanding their situation and working with them / not against them - No short-term Deadlines.
Ladies, this balancing act is real - or should I call it a juggling act. You have gone from trying to juggling three (plus) balls - your personal needs, your professional needs, and the needs of your spouse - to juggling six or more (yeah, I think caring for a child is a three ball juggling act all by itself). Throw in a second baby, and YEOW, we're talking ready for Ringling Brothers.
So what are you to do? How do you juggle six balls (or more) with only two hands.
Well to be honest, you don't. Sounds crazy . . . I know. But the answer is that simple.
You see, most Moms try to juggle six or more balls at once and usually end up dropping at least one or two every cycle. Who suffers, usually YOU first, hubby second, and then work third.
So rather than juggling six at once, put two on the floor gently or hand them to someone else for a short period and then juggle four.
How do you do this, without pissing off the two balls laying on the floor? Well, you rotate the two balls on the floor. Yep. You commit yourself to juggling what you can, right now, successfully, and let the other two just stand-by, until you are ready for them. Until you can successfully put one or two of the others balls down and pick them up.
Ok, now that I have completely confused you, let me drop the juggling idea and jump right into reality.
You are NOT going to have time to give to yourself, your husband, your job and your child(ren) everyday. Something has to give. Or you will burn yourself out and lose one or all of them along the way. So rather than trying to being everything to everyone EVERY DAY, plan time to be everything to each one, at specific times during the week.
If you are a stay-at-home Mom, that might mean that work only gets your attention 2-3 days a week (when you can give it your full attention), but on those days your Husband doesn't get much more than a hug and kiss in the morning and evening. Then maybe your own growth gets one day's worth of full attention. And you set up special time for your husband on the other days - when you can be with him completely.
The key here is to stop trying to give a little bit all the time to everyone, and start giving your best to each of them periodically, based on priority in your life.
The reason this idea works, is that it helps you release the guilt of not giving completely to things that matter. Each moment you spend with someone or doing something important, you give yourself to them / it completely - whether its your job, your husband, your kids, or even YOU.
You can give yourself without guilt of who is getting left out, because you know you have given to them completely - and you will again. One of my clients recently shared with me how this idea works for her:
The reason I love this process so much is because it helps you to BALANCE your life so that you are doing what matters to you in your family life and other relationships as well as accomplishing your business goals at the same time. On those days where I am doing more in one area, I know that I can balance it out the next day and not feel guilty.
Bottom line is you have to find balance - stop trying to be everything to everyone, every day. Give yourself completely and "guiltlessly" one at a time to the things that matter most to you and you will find yourself happier and 10x more productive than you ever thought possible.
If you are a small business owner and / or a Mom that wants to understand how best to maintain Balance and release the guilt that so often stifles growth, please feel free to contact me, at firstname.lastname@example.org.