Top Three Tips for Summer Success as a Mompreneur

summer success

When it is cold and windy outside, we all find ourselves daydreaming of the warmth and freedom of the summertime, don’t we? Unfortunately, then the summer actually comes around and some of us have mixed feelings about its arrival. Suddenly as wonderful as the warm weather is, we also realize that this means the school year is over and our schedules majorly shift. It’s also not uncommon to go into a programmed “relaxation mode” in the summer. That is wonderful, but with kids home all the time and no routine, how do we do that?!

The summer is a great time to enjoy quality time with family vacations, having the kids home and (sometimes) just some peace and quiet to yourself. A lot of my clients choose to “power down” over the summer time just slow down and not be working as much or as hard as through the rest of the year. This can easily be confused as a lack of motivation and then they start feeling feeling like they’re not accomplishing enough. It is totally normal to struggle with this paradigm shift. So, how can we be strategic with juggling the summertime and being a mompreneur?

This is often my number 1 request for advice from those I am coaching – how to make it through the summer. Summertime is both a blessing and curse – because we get to enjoy our freedom, but we also tend to give up our routine. The lack of structure and routine (especially for bored kids) adds to the stress and chaos of everyday life. When kids get bored they will usually start misbehaving or bugging you because they are in need of stimulation. When the routine changes (or stops altogether) everybody gets on a different body clock or rhythm and it’s easy to fall out of sync. Your little kids are up and ready to play at 5 or 6am while yourself and your teenagers find yourself staying up later than usual.

Trouble easily starts from a lack of clear expectations. Kids are used to a routine during the school year. They are told everyday at school what they will be doing and what to expect during the course of each day. How can you combat all the chaos?

So, I have three tips for you to survive the summer:

  1. Developing a family calendar
  2. Having a family meet daily
  3. Encouraging input and collaboration

Developing a calendar seems like a no-brainer but is also something that a lot of us fail to execute. Moms and dads are always running around knowing who needs to be where, with what, at what time but often the kids are not privy to this information ahead of time. Maybe Mom and Dad have the cell phone calendars linked, but where does this leave the little ones? Kids ages 3 and up can start learning about what to expect and what is coming up on their family calendar. Helping them have clear expectations will help your home run so much smoothly. I love having a big visual calendar and filling in all the events that we know are going to take place. It is important to have your kids contribute to the calendar as well. Let the little ones who are too young to read draw or use stickers to know what is coming. Get your calendar out of your head and get it into a public place for all to see and understand.

Having a family meeting can help everyone be on the same page. No, it doesn’t have to be rigid and formal. Just chat about each week and each day in the morning while Mom is pouring her coffee and the kids are eating their cereal. Look at the calendar and talk about what’s coming up, add anything new things and give a brief overview. Once again, helping to set those expectations. I’m telling you, the best summers we have ever had are when we start each day with a family meeting.

Don’t just get your family members to participate, but get their input and encourage them to really collaborate together on your calendar. Don’t try to simply set a schedule and expect everyone to follow it AND be happy about it. Get your kids and family members to contribute and give back their opinions and feelings about how they would like things to go and help build those expectations. You will be so very happy you did (and they will probably cooperate better, too)!

If you put these into place, you can enjoy a smoother, more relaxing summer. Good luck!

Continue Reading

Permission Granted: You Don’t Have to Make Your Passion Your Job

Guess what you get today? You get my permission (not that you really ever needed it). Ready? Permission granted. You are granted permission to free yourself from “shoulds”, the “woulds” and the “coulds” that can be thrown at us by our daily lives and the media. These things tend to have an uncanny power to stress us out and make us unhappy.

When you set goals for yourself, you probably create an action plan and get going right on it don’t you? I know you do! And sometimes, you find yourself doing it all right, following the plan & meeting the goals and yet you are missing something. There is some element missing from the equation that would’ve made that goal truly fulfilling and satisfying for you. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be nearly impossible to figure out what or why that is for you. The reality is things can always change mid-plan. So many different things can happen in the time frame that you are so focused on your plan that you are distracted and don’t even notice. Then, you wind up reaching your goals & benchmarks and realizing that you are still feeling unhappy.

Sometimes, I think a large part of this can be the alignment or misalignment with your purpose and your passion. Good jobs are financially stable, offer a predictable routine,  and have benefits like sick days, time off and insurance. But, what if you have a “good job” but your true passion is something completely different? What if you are a nurse who loves public speaking, a waitress who feels inspiration in writing short stories or a paralegal who thrives through her photography? All of the sudden it has become a very common theme that if someone is not doing work that they love, there is something wrong. Or worse, that you better feel a burning passion for what you do—or quit and search until you find it. There is a crazy pressure to measure yourself and your success based on whether you truly love your work or not.

Well I’m here to say it is not one thing at the expense of all else. There are certain passions or hobbies that will never make good money. There I said it. Some things were just never meant to be a profit-turning venture. You can enjoy your passions your off time, while also keeping you fulfilling, stable job. I say go for it.

Happiness and fulfillment aren’t always in the same package. I can’t feel right coaching someone starting a business doing something they love, but also isn’t necessarily something that will ever be a profitable, sensible business. Or if it could, it would no longer be any fun anymore. Starting a business means wearing many hats, of which have nothing to do with the thing you are passionate about—like bookkeeping, paying bills, keeping schedules, appointments, managing people, and budgets.

You do not have to leave your job, take off and quit just because your job isn’t fulfilling you. If your job is providing you with things that you value and need for your priorities, you can usually find some other way to use, develop or enjoy your passion. This will still allow you to leave the mark or legacy that matters to you—that’s how I would do it.

I’m lucky to be passionate about being a coach, but I also don’t have to be a breadwinner. I don’t have a weight on my shoulders to support my family financially. I chose this path so I could spend more time with my kids and family while also doing what I love. If I wanted to build a huge business and wanted to define success in terms of extreme growth and profitability, I could do that. But it would also cause a major cosmic shift in our family dynamics, which is most certainly not something I want—at least not right now. I like the time I am around to spend with my kids, responding to emergencies and being here for them while still getting to enjoy my business. When my kids are older, I may shift that to a more growth and profit driven model, but only when it doesn’t affect my ability to spend my time with my family.

So, you’re welcome. Stop listening to the media and getting pushed around that you are some sort of failure if you are just doing a job that suits you and your priorities right now. You are not a failure. You can do a job that serves your family and find ways to fulfill your passions elsewhere in your life. You get to be happy and successful on your terms.

Continue Reading

New Year, New Home

Hey there, Women!

I apologize for my fall from the face of the earth this last month, but I needed a break from all my work to manage our family’s move back to Michigan from Canada. It was a fairly big deal. Not only did we move from one country to another, but then the holidays hit. We moved out of our house in Windsor on Dec. 16th, into our new house in Michigan on Dec. 17th, I turned 40 on Dec. 18th, and we left for a 10-day visit with family in Minnesota for the holidays on Dec. 21st.

Today my three children attended their first day of school at their new schools. They were brave troopers and handled it well, despite the fact that our house is still upside down from the move, and finding backpacks, lunch bags and snow bibs was quite a challenge this morning.

After my husband and I dropped them all off this morning, I had a little  mommy meltdown. I cried because I’ve been carrying a ton of weight around with all the decisions I’ve been making for our family for the last two months. I cried because I’m a sap and felt a tiny bit sorry for my kids having to be newbies, even though I know they’ll be fine. I cried because I’ve been sprinting towards January 3rd and all that had to happen by then to make the day successful for so long. I cried because I’m hormonal. I cried because as a mompreneur, a whole lot of people depend on me, and it’s hard to do it all sometimes.

When my meltdown was over (thank goodness it only lasted about 10 minutes), I pulled my sappy self together and got back to business. I turned the computer on, found a notebook among the piles of papers surrounding my new desk/office space, picked up the phone and called a prospect. I am delighted she hired me. I think that meltdown helped clear out the mental clutter that’s been in my head for a while now.

I have so many new things to share with you this year–big plans to help mompreneurs be their best in business and life. I’ll be posting a lot of those changes over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

What’s new with you this year? Please share below or tweet me: @mombizcoach.

Happy New Year!

Continue Reading

Summer Family Fun Made Easy

If you’re like me, you have the best intentions when it comes to having fun with your family during the summer months. And quite honestly, the thought of researching all the options to find healthy, fun, inexpensive activities and entertainment for myself and the kids makes me feel overwhelmed and tired.

One of my clients in the Mom Biz Makeover Program, Susan Heid, has created a fantastic “Summer Survival Calendar” that has click-able links on every day of the week during the summer. There are activities you and the kids can do, ideas for fun crafts you can create, and even healthy recipes you can make together. If you’re running “Camp Mom,” like I am this summer, you’ll really appreciate this comprehensive resource Susan has put together for us.

I’m always on the lookout for tools and tips that make my life as a mom easier and better. This is definitely one of those tools. I’ll be consulting it each Sunday and buying the materials I need to complete the activities and make the recipes for that week.

Support a fellow mompreneur (and yourself!) by grabbing your copy of the The Confident Mom’s Calendar for Surviving Summer with Kids!

Are you struggling trying to figure out how to create cool products and services your target audience needs? Not real sure who your target audience is? Check out the Mom Biz Makeover Program and start creating the business you love!

Continue Reading

One of Those Mompreneur Days

Today is one of those days where I don’t think I’ll be contending for the Mother of the Year Award. In this video, I share how being a coach and a mompreneur help me be a better mother to my children.

Have you had one of those days? Does your work help complete you and fill you up so you can be a better mom? I’d love your comments below.

Continue Reading

WAHMs: Is it time to give up on balance?

I’ve been having some great conversations with mompreneurs and work at home moms on the topic of “balance” lately, and specifically how it relates to the goal of work/life balance.

Seems like we’ve spent the last decade or so trying to achieve this balance thing, but it may be a concept whose time has past. Many think it’s unachievable, or at the very least, that it can be achieved but not sustained. Is balance what we really want? Do we want to spend equal time with work and equal time with family?

I know that certain words are “trigger words” or hot buttons for some people, but I think the idea of balance is basically a good one. I think that the more we’ve been working towards it, though, the more we are learning that there are other ways to define how we want our lives as moms and business owners to look.

When I think of words that capture how I want my life as a mom entrepreneur coach to look, these are some of the words that come to mind:

INTEGRATION

FLEXIBILITY

FULFILLMENT

RHYTHMS

SEASONS

I make my work a fully-integrated part of my life. That doesn’t mean I don’t set boundaries around it, just that I include it as part of who I am and what I love to do. How much and when I work varies from time to time, based on priorities, energy levels, moods, seasons… But my commitment to my work and my family stays the same.

What about you? Is there a phrase or concept you’re striving for that is more descriptive than “work/life balance”? How do you see your roles as mom and business owner? Are they one in the same or separate somehow? Please leave a comment below.

Continue Reading

Mompreneurs Need Different Kinds of Support

Get the acknowledgement, support and understanding you need from the right people.

support

Are you always going to your partner/husband, your sister, your neighbor, or a client trying to share something that’s important to you, only to wind up feeling let down when they don’t say what you wanted them to say? It could be that you’re choosing the wrong person to share with at that moment.

In this Five Minute Coaching MOMent for mom entrepeneurs, I share some insight on how you can avoid feeling let down when you’re up to big things in your business and life!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdQMHRo5AuM[/youtube]

Who’s on your support team or “board of advisors”? Do you expect different kinds of support from the different people in your life? Please share your comments here. And if you like my “Five Minute Coaching MOMents for Mom Entrepreneurs” and want to see some more, you can subscribe to the mombizcoach channel on YouTube so you will be notified each time I add new ones.

Continue Reading

I’ve gotta get outta here

With my three kids, who are almost 7, 5 and 2.5, I find that I really do need to be reminded that I’ll miss these days of being constantly needed. Quite honestly, there are days that I need to be reminded this about every half hour. Knowing that I’ll miss it doesn’t always make it easy to deal with the present moments that feel like eternity sometimes. It has nothing to do with how much I love my kids and everything to do with the developmental stages they (and I) go through. I can handle the whining, hitting, scratching, fighting, stealing, tattling, asking for snacks every 10 minutes, constant struggle to keep the toys picked up, the complaints about being bored or hating the food I work so hard to serve them, constantly being interrupted from loading the dishwasher or folding the clothes to wipe up another accident on the floor, then the tantrum that ensues when it’s time to try to get clothes onto my 2yo daughter who just wants to be naked all the time…but only if I’ve also done some things to take care of myself. I really can’t handle all that, especially in its 24/7 constancy, when I haven’t had a break from it in weeks, months, years. As I get older and grow in my role of motherhood, I find I’m having to learn how to take care of myself again just as much as I have learned to take care of my children.

Up until Thursday last week, I couldn’t last more than about 30 minutes from the moment I woke up in the morning until the first time I lost my temper with one of the kids. True, the littlest trigger could set me off (and my 2yo is nothing if not a master of stomping on all my triggers first thing in the morning!). Until Thursday, I could barely think about the fact that the kids will be out of school in two weeks, and then we have the long summer before us to be together constantly….All I could think was: “Oh my God.”

These are the thoughts of a woman who felt trapped, exhausted, stressed out, worn down, who couldn’t enjoy her kids.

Thankfully, on Friday morning, I woke up with a smile on my face, knowing that in a few hours, after the morning rush of prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner and getting everyone dressed, fed, clean and out the door to school, I was going to have two full days and one whole night to myself! And better yet, I got to spend it with two of my fabulous girlfriends! I had just about forgotten what it’s like to be able to do whatever I wanted to do, eat when I want, talk, relax, sleep when it suited me, and not have to worry about how everyone was doing. It felt so great to be selfish and self-centered for two whole days. Before this weekend, I hadn’t been away from my kids (and my house, with the laundry and all the responsibilities there, plus my business) since October last year. Living in Canada when our families are back in the States is a big reason for this. It’s just hard to get away without someone to care for the babes when they’re so little.
ellielarapaulbunny2So I just wanted to share that, although I was long overdue, a weekend away gave me the chance to recharge so I can love my kids when I’m with them. I’m the kind of mom who still needs some selfish time. When I don’t take care of myself, I can’t be the mom I want to be. When I do, I’ve definitely got more of myself to give to my family.

I think I’ll book a couple more of these small getaways this summer!

Continue Reading

Just gimme three weeks

frustrated-mother-entrepreneur2I just read the latest post by Jennifer New (one of my favorite mom bloggers) who writes the Blog “Mothers of Invention.” She wrote about working on “kid time” and how it reorders our lives as mothers (read her post here: http://jennifernew.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/working-on-kid-time/).

It’s so funny how, after having three kids for almost seven years now, I still forget to factor in “kid time” as Jennifer calls it.

I told a friend last week that if my husband would just agree to take three weeks off of work to babysit the kids, and therefore relieve me of my mommy duties, I would write a book, publish it, create an entirely new teleseminar series and coaching program, write my next several blogposts and newsletter articles, get hired by 10 new clients, and drop 25 pounds (due to not getting up from the computer to eat since I would be so happy to finally be the productive person I want to be)!!!

Sometimes I get frustrated since I have all this creativity, energy and passion to do my work, but am constantly interrupted by someone who needs a snack, to be wiped, wants to snuggle in my lap and play with my hair or my zipper, needs help building their pillow fort, or to play referree in a sibling war. Sometimes I’m able to shift from my work to my natural mothering-love mode. Other times I shout and fiercely defend my space like a territorial pit bull. Tears fall. Guilt engulfs. But eventually, we all get over it.

I don’t beat myself up for any of it. This is just what it looks like to be a mother, where my kids are always my priority, but also a human who has her own interests that are extremely worthwhile.

Now, off to clean up the puddle of pee my daughter just made on the floor.

Continue Reading