How to Balance Life as a Mom, Wife and CEO

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In celebration of Mother’s Day, the BrandMakerNews team is proud to honor mothers all over the world. We’re so thankful for the tremendous joy they bring into our lives every day.

While motherhood in itself is a full-time job, there are countless women who go above and beyond, proving that it is possible to have it all… a beautiful family, a thriving business, and a well-balanced life. One such woman is mommy-entrepreneur, Fabienne Fredrickson. As a wife, mother of three young children, and founder of The Client Attraction, Fabienne has found a way to create the perfect balance between managing her small business and her family at home.

In this insightful interview, Fabienne shares powerful tips to help moms master the entrepreneurial lifestyle:

What were some of the initial challenges you faced as you tried to balance motherhood and running your own business?

I’d had my own business for a few years before having a family. I was used to working whenever I wanted and setting my own hours. But when my first child arrived, I felt an enormous amount of guilt spending time on my business. I felt that I was stealing time from my infant daughter if I took time to market my business or when I was speaking to a client on the phone. At the same time, I felt conflicted, because I knew that I really enjoyed my work, that it brought me fulfillment but that I also needed to focus on my business if I wanted to continue having paying clients.

What changes did you make in your work/home schedule to create a better balance in your life?

I decided that I could have the best of both worlds, in a sense. I decided to get support from a part time nanny who would come 3 days a week, and to create definitive work times, a strict schedule to follow. So, when I was with my child, there were absolutely no emails or phone calls. And when I was working, there were no interruptions. That helped me put the feelings of guilt to the side, knowing that I was fully committed to whatever was in front of me, that I could give it my best and not “cheat” my child or my business.

So many women are pulled into different directions when working at home. There’s something I call the “Just-one-more-email-honey-and-mommy-will-be-right-there” syndrome. But you can absolutely avoid this by sharing some important principles with your children. It’s been about communication and setting expectations.

Having 3 children under the age of 8 and running a very successful company, I have let my kids know that when Mommy’s working, it’s a “no interruption time”, and when Mommy’s not working, it’s “total kid time”, with no work allowed. The solution I found very useful is to put a sign on your work door. One side has a smiley face and in big bold letters the words “Mom is free” and on the other side, a sad face with the words “Mom is busy”. What I’ve found is that even if your child doesn’t know how to read, he will understand what it says.

Are there any proven techniques you can share with Moms who are trying to manage their entrepreneurial lifestyles more effectively?

The ultimate way to manage an entrepreneurial lifestyle with kids under foot is to get support for everything you can. If you can find someone to help you in your business, even for just a couple of hours a week, you’ll be able to focus on the money-generating activities while other administrative details can get taken care of. Most importantly though, is getting support for the “personal” things that take time away from your business. Getting a wash-and-fold service for all the laundry was one of the very first things that ended up saving me a lot of time (I dislike matching socks and folding clothes.) It’s pretty inexpensive compared to what you’re probably worth per hour and it buys you extra time to work on your business. Same with making use of delivery services for things like dry cleaning and groceries. But you can also take advantage of online banking, online drugstores, online purchases for books, office supplies, etc. The more time you can eliminate running to the store, the more time you get work done, which means you can close your office door much earlier and spend more time with your spouse and kids in the evenings and on weekends.

Another thing I would recommend highly is to take a day off each week. It sounds crazy (most would never do this in a Corporate job) but let’s be honest. As a business owner, you work at least 5 days a week, many times morning to night. But add to that being a mom, a job that requires nearly 24 hours a day, a full 7 days a week, there’s NO time for you. (Remember, you used to be on top of your priority list?)

Having a day just for you, even an afternoon (I choose Friday afternoons) to just read, take a walk, catch up on Oprah episodes or anything else you like to do, all of this replenishes you. When your well is empty, you’ve got nothing to give your business and you may become short, impatient and perhaps even resentful, with your spouse and kids. But when you’ve had a few hours to fill the well back up, then you can be even more generous with those you love most.

How do you unwind after a long day or week of juggling all of your family and business responsibilities?

The key is to winding down after a long day or a full week of work is to plan low key activities after a long period of working. In the evenings, I plan for easy-to-make meals. I recommend having a freezer stocked with healthy foods that are easy to make. In the morning, you can take out some individually frozen pieces of lean fish and frozen diced vegetables from the freezer and leave them in the fridge to thaw during the day while you work. At night, all you need to do is bake it with some seasonings, reheat or make a simple pot of rice, serve these with a simple tossed salad, and you’ve got dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes, healthy and without stress.

On weekends, we make Friday night “pizza delivery night” and curl up on the sofa to watch a movie with the kids. It’s low key and family focused, and it doesn’t require any more juggling or responsibilities.

Thanks to Fabienne Fredrickson for showing women that is possible to have it all. She dedicates her professional life to helping self-employed, sole practitioners get more clients in record time. For more about her company, visit www.clientattraction.com

Happy Mother’s Day to moms and mommy-entrepreneurs everywhere!

One Comment

  1. Posted May 7, 2011 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Great Article! — It is certainly not easy easy wearing so many hats and still trying to have time for yourself. Nevertheless, yes you can have a family, raise your children and also, stay true to your dreams. What does it takes? Your faith, hard work and most of all, support from your family and friends. Oh, let me not forget to mention, real funding resources to getting started on your new business venture. To all of the moms, yes you can make your dreams a reality. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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