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What being a Business Owner and a Mum means to me

Photo by Twirly Girl Photography

Career or Mum? For most of us, it feels like we have to make a choice - and there's normally a lot of emotion surrounding the decision (and on occasion, guilt).

Having said that... I think it is less about making a choice and more about finding the 'balance'. I firmly believe that if I didn't have

my daughter I wouldn’t be where I am today and, The Social Smith probably wouldn’t exist. These milestones in our lives change us as a person entirely. Our goals shift - hey, who am I kidding?! Our whole world shifts!

Becoming a parent shifted my mindset - it made me want to show my daughter that you can have and be anything if you put your mind to it (cheesy I know!)

That work/life balance can feel so illusive.

Personally, I have come to accept that this 'balance' people talk about comes in all different forms.

I used to believe that clear timescales and boundaries were the only way to achieve the perfect 'balance'.

The balance that made me feel like I could achieve and maintain the career I wanted, all whilst being the perfect (cookie cutter) Mum.

I thought I needed to start work at 9am and finish at 5pm, never miss a meeting or a nursery pick up, meet deadlines in the office and still be at home making the family meals... In reality, that isn't the real 'balance'.

I used to drive myself crazy. How were other people managing it?! Equally, how were other people making it look so easy?!

In order to begin to find your balance - the one that actually works for YOU, your family AND your career, I firmly believe you first have to find your limits.

The second step? Accepting those limits.

Is there something you didn't manage to get around to today? Is most of your day's 'to do' list, unfinished? Well, guess what... Rome wasn't built in a day! There is always tomorrow...

That fear of not 'managing it all' holds us back. It makes us feel like we have failed and, the idea of achieving a work/home life balance is lost entirely because we are in fact, we are then looking for 'perfection' rather than 'balance'.

My business suits me AND my family.

My daughter has not yet started school and has 3 days of childcare... Does that mean I work 8 hours a day 3 days a week - definitely not! Yes, the bulk of my work is done within those 3 days but, there are some evenings that I log on to hit some deadlines, or to finish writing a blog while my daughter will watch a little TV. Previously, that would not have been my idea of a 'good' work/home life balance but, it is a tiny segment of my week.

If you are a working Mum, you will be all too familiar with the fact that your life can (and has to) change at a moment's notice.

A sudden temperature.. Childcare being closed for the day.. A teething baby and a sleepless night for the whole house..

No matter how productive you had planned on being, some things take priority - and others, just can't be helped.

These are just a handful of reasons why we need to accept our limits, embrace them and try to work with them rather than allowing them to consume us.

Do you know? My daughter has even been to a couple of meetings with me due to childcare arrangements or even just popping in to see a client!

Daughter meeting Keir Starmer at an event to talk about Women in Business
My daughter meeting a politician at a business event

That isn't a negative reflection on me as a business owner or as a Mum... It doesn't mean I am 'failing' at that work/home life balance... It is just how it has to be sometimes - better yet, I'm OK with that! It doesn't phase me in the slightest, in fact, it has helped my business.

I am very open about being a parent and I’m not saying that this is the 'right' way but it IS the right way for me.

My clients know and respect that she comes first, but they also know that I get the work done.

My clients get the real ME - the 'me' that is just as passionate for their business as I am for my own business, my child and my family. There is however another reason I don't keep my business and family lives entirely separate...

My daughter sees me working and I do that purposefully - I want her to see that I work hard for what we have, that I am proud of what I do, and that I am doing what I love!

One day I hope she is proud of me too.

There is no 'one size fits all' approach to running a business, being a parent OR when you're trying to juggle the two.

My biggest piece of advice is to do what’s right for you across every aspect of your life - make the decisions that YOU need to make for your business as well as for your family. I would say that I have found the balance.

It isn't necessarily the 'balance' I used to picture... Nor is it perfect but, it is the perfect balance for ME, my business and my family.

Stop striving for everyone else’s perfect and create your own - trust me, everything will fall into place.

Do you have any tips or secrets on how you manage your work/life balance?

Or... Are you like me? Taking it one day at a time.

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