Why Mompreneurs Avoid The “No Excuses” Approach

young and nice woman in a black tailleur working as a hostess and checking listOne of my favorite personal trainers thinks most people are full of excuses. “I’ve seen every excuse in the book,” she insists. Call it an occupational hazard – she’s watched countless people invest in their fitness only to fall short by not showing up to do the work. But what she may not realize is that there’s a difference between excuses, obstacles and choices. And what sounds like an excuse is often an obstacle or a choice.

So how can you tell the difference? Well, if we’re still talking about the gym, let’s take a look:

You don’t show up for a workout because one of your kids got sick = obstacle.

You don’t up for a workout because your husband came home from work early and you realized it would be the only day that week you could eat dinner as a family = choice.

You don’t show up for a workout because you overslept = excuse. (Unless, of course you were up all night with a colicky baby, which caused you to oversleep. Then, I’d call it an obstacle. Maybe even a choice!)

Regardless of WHY you skipped the workout, the next day, when you show up at the gym, you’re likely to catch some flak for your so-called excuse. The intention is to motivate you, but it doesn’t always work. Who wants to face all that humiliation the next day?

Leaving Room for Grace

Like fitness experts, many business professionals find it motivational to take a “no excuses” approach to their goals and success. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been to those conferences that are more like pep rallies for struggling business professionals. Where everyone gets “fired up” to make a commitment and meet a goal. And they all agree to make it happen. No. Matter. What.

Well, there’s a fine line between motivating people and setting them up for failure. And for me, the “no excuses” approach crosses the line. Why? Because when you accept the “no excuses” approach, there’s no room for grace.

When you’re filled with excuses, faced with challenges and making difficult choices, you don’t need a reprimand. You don’t need to feel shame or guilt or hopelessness. The one thing you need is grace.

Mompreneur Obstacles

The moms I know and work with need grace. I mean, we REALLY need grace. We have good intentions. We have goals and strategies and skills and creative ideas out the wazoo! But we also have kids and laundry and teacher meetings and church festivals and bake sales and soccer practice. Just to name a few of our “excuses.” [Read more...]

Avoiding Friendly Fire: Tips for Setting Boundaries When You Work From Home

boundariesIt’s no secret that many work-at-home moms have a difficult time getting things done. We’re constantly being torn in conflicting directions. No matter how old your children are, or how many children you have, there always seems to be one demanding your attention just as you sit down to write a blog post or review your financials. If it’s not a child, then perhaps it’s a phone call from your mother or an unannounced visit from a neighbor.  Or even a client texting you in the midst of an artificial crisis. We are frequently under attack by the mompreneur version of “Friendly Fire” in which our own team is unintentionally sabotaging our success.

It’s not just interruptions that derail our productivity. Oftentimes it’s our own delusional drive to be a multi-tasking super mamma. We set ourselves up for failure simply by believing we can do all things and be all things for all people at once. Truthfully, it’s not our children, friends, neighbors or clients who are to blame when we suffer from chronic interruptions. It’s our own fault for failing to establish firm boundaries.

It may sound harsh and uncaring, but even the most loving mom needs to set boundaries at times. I know our MOST important job is being a mom, but I personally believe that doesn’t mean we have to drop everything and be at the beck and call of our children at all times. And the same goes for our clients, co-workers and employees. This is the generation of connectivity and it takes every ounce of self-control we can muster to disconnect for our own good. But it’s worth it. In fact, I think we do our families and clients a disservice by teaching them to seek instant gratification via our immediate response. Rather, I suggest we teach them the value of boundaries.

Now, only YOU can determine exactly what those boundaries should be…and exactly how you plan to enforce them. But if you’re being assaulted by Friendly Fire on a daily basis, then you might want to try some of these tips for setting boundaries.

Tips for Setting Boundaries for Work-at-Home Moms

1. Get clear on your priorities. The number one thing that gets in our way when it comes to setting boundaries is guilt. We feel guilty if we don’t play with our children when they ask. And we feel guilty when we tell a client we’re not available because we’re taking the kids to the park. But if you wake up each day with clarity of purpose, then you will know how you should spend your time and you won’t feel guilty about your choices. Not sure how to get clear on your priorities? Spend some time in prayer and in your journal.

2. Set expectations. Once you are clear on your priorities, you actually have to tell others what to expect. If you’re a stay-at-home-mom embarking on a new business venture, you will have to explain this change to your friends and family so they don’t expect you to be free for coffee every day at 10 am. If your little ones are old enough to understand, try telling them why it’s important for mommy to work and how you are fulfilling God’s call by sharing your gifts and serving others. And if they’re teenagers, maybe it will help to explain that the extra income will pay for their summer vacation. Need to bring your husband on board? Try these five ways to help your husband fall in love with your business. [Read more...]

Embrace the Chaos: The Best Time Management Tip for Mom Entrepreneurs

This was the year we visited hospitals in five different states because every family trip resulted in an injury or illness. Here we are - embracing the chaos!

This was the year we visited hospitals in five different states because every family trip resulted in an injury or illness. Here we are – embracing the chaos!

Remember when your children were newborns and everyone told you to enjoy them now because they grow up too fast? You knew there was truth in that well-intended advice, but in the midst of sleepless nights, colicky screams and never-ending laundry, you had a difficult time “enjoying the moment.” Well, maybe you didn’t but I sure did!

It wasn’t until my last little child was out of diapers that I began yearning for another newborn. I miss those days. When I see a baby – fussy or not – I look at my husband with an achy heart. He thinks I’m a crazy hormonal mess, but I know for certain my ovaries are in a state of serious depression. Despite the newborn chaos, I loved every single minute of those early years. Even if I didn’t recognize it then.

Fast forward eight years and I find myself in a new kind of chaos. Today, it’s more about…

  • Middle school drama (including friends, enemies, puberty, sex, drugs, alcohol and all my favorite topics);
  • Restrictions on video games, social media, phones, music, movies and pretty much everything else (I am THAT mother who doesn’t care what EVERYBODY else is allowed to do); 
  • Transportation logistics (God should have given me a mature and safe driver for each one of my children…and He also could have given me the ability to be in two places at once…I would be so grateful for that right about now);
  • Even more dirty laundry (my babies went through five outfits a day and my teens/tweens wear the same thing over an over again – how is it possible I have MORE laundry now?);
  • Keeping the house clean enough that I’m not embarrassed when the whole team shows up uninvited;
  • Feeding my family something that doesn’t come from a drive through or the freezer section of the grocery store;
  • Missing my husband who always gets the worst of me – the exhausted, stressed and anxious woman who crawls in bed at the end of a busy day;
  • Waking up at 5 am because it’s the only time I have to myself – to read devotionals, journal or exercise…sometimes even on Saturdays;
  • Losing touch with family and friends because there simply isn’t enough time in the day for a phone call (the kind where you actually get to talk to each other);
  • Oh, and running a business…let’s not forget that thing I love to do and sometimes wonder if I would go completely insane without!

Does any of this sound familiar? I’m willing to bet you have a similar list with a few adjustments depending on your season of life. [Read more...]