Being a stay-at-home mom is an enormous responsibility and is a full-time job. Add a business into the equation and you can often feel like you are running on a treadmill that never slows down.As a mother and businesswoman, it is easy to want to please everyone all the time.
This is simply not realistic.
Sometimes prioritizing responsibilities is the only way to get through a day, week or month. There will be times when friends will ask you to join them at their child’s school play, colleagues asking for favors, friends who commute to an office asking that you watch their child after work until the sitter arrives.
It is not considered improper etiquette to say no to friends and family if you simply cannot balance your own home and work life. Don’t be indecisive tell them up-front that due to your schedule with the kids and work, it just wouldn’t be realistic at this time. Remember, you must put yourself first, and learning to say no to others will only assist in making you a more prudent decision maker when it comes to both your business and your family.
ALL WORK, NO PLAY
We have all heard the saying, “its quality, not quantity that is important”. Long hours do not necessarily make you more productive. Mothers who decide to work from home do so in order to see and spend more time with their family.
Since, you are not in an office where you actually must go home to make dinner or pick up the kids, work-at-home moms tend to feel they must work all the time and only take short break spurts here and there. We all seem to get in the mindset of “well, I can’t go play tennis or go out to lunch because I should be working.” There is nothing wrong with setting a time each week where you spend a few hours playing tennis, shopping for yourself or going out with ‘the girls’.
If you don’t take the time for yourself each week, you may find that you are not as productive. In addition, do take the time to stop during the day to do housework and chores. Personally, I find that my best work decisions and creative ideas come while I am folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher.
The mental break away from work may be just what you need to brainstorm or come up with that great new idea. No matter how you decide to use your free time away from your home office, make it a weekly ritual and you will find that when you return, you will feel refreshed and invigorated.
ARE YOU BUSY?
It is wonderful to be able to work out of the home, especially when raising children. There are advantages of having a home office and of course, disadvantages. If you worked in a true office setting for a corporation, family and friends would not dare come by and interrupt you during the work day. Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean that it is alright for others to assume you are not busy. Whether calling on the phone or stopping by the house, it is not considered poor etiquette to gently explain that you would really love to catch up, but are working on a project or have a deadline. It would be beneficial to tell them what time you will be free or find out what works best for them.
Don’t worry if you have to repeat this message over and over eventually visitors will realize that during business hours, you are typically unavailable.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
Prior to being a stay-at-home mother, you probably had a least one or two jobs. There’s nothing wrong with using those connections to help boost your own business. Perhaps you had an old boss who knows that your skills and quality of work were impeccable. Take the time to contact these individuals and let them know what you are up to.
You must remember that bosses or colleagues are now business peers and you must present and handle yourself in such a manner. Most people who you used to work for or with will be thrilled to see your business thrive and grow and they can be wonderful asset for your business. Remember, each person you can network with has friends, family and other colleagues who may be the perfect fit to help grow your business.
As a stay-at-home working mother, you are learning to prioritize, multi-task, organize, switch over gracefully from Mommy to working woman, work efficiently in a fixed time period, not to mention the patience and tolerance that is being learned each day.
If we look at a high ranking employee versus an intern, we would, in most cases, notice that the intern is learning new things each and every day and is getting more valuable life experience than the high ranking individual.
If you find yourself pooh-poohing and comparing your job, remember that the experience you are gaining is invaluable and that is more important than any title.
Our resident etiquette expert, Melissa has been wowing clients and readers over the past few years with her fun and dynamic approach to the often perceived ‘stuffy’ world of etiquette. After having two children (well-behaved, of course!), Melissa took her innovative style of teaching business etiquette and tailored programs for children, parents and yes, even yachting enthusiasts. Her “distinctive style and sense of humor” has helped put manners back into the ‘in-crowd’. Learn more about Melissa.