Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Kids and business:

In getting the mix right between kids and owning a business it's important to plan what you're doing.
By Donna Stone
Date: July 29 2013
Editor Rating:

If you're a business owner and a parent at the same time, then you know it’s damn hard work to do it all - and to do it all successfully. Some days you just wish you did not need to sleep so you could fit in everything. 

As you look at your business and plan your day and what you need to achieve, so too you need to plan your family and specifically your family time. 

I started my business over ten years ago when my three children were only three, seven and ten. I did not have to deal with changing a nappy whilst on the phone to an important client, but I did have my kids saying things like “You love your computer more than us” or “You love your clients more than me”. The fact is that I didn’t, but I was very determined to make the business successful and still be a good mum. 

I am not a child psychologist, or a paediatrician or child expert. I’m just a mum who has been through it all and I think that I (and my kids) came out the other end pretty much intact.

So, here are my two cents worth.

1.  Prioritise

There are times when the business really is the most important thing. 

I would not miss a client deadline so that I could do tuckshop duties or pick up my kids’ toys. I determined what was important and each person’s needs would vary according to the importance. I did miss a string of client appointments one day when my eldest broke his arm and I had to go to the hospital with him. At that point in time he was the most important thing.

At other times, I’ve had to decline kicking the soccer ball around as I had some client BASes to lodge. At that point the clients’ lodgements took priority. And yes, that is the time when my kids thought I loved my clients and their BASes more than them.

But they did tend to forget those occasions and do recognise that I have always been there when it counted. 

Do not let kids do the guilt trip on you (and they are good at trying it) – you know in your own heart if you are a good mum or dad.  If you think you are lacking, then it is up to you to do something about it.  Go back to your time schedule and decide if you can cut some work hours to spend time with the kids. 

2.  Allocate work time

When I started out in business I would work weekends and nights. I almost never do now. 

I do not attend evening business networking functions; I rarely make client appointments at night and I don’t work on the computer after dinner. 

You may have to do this when you first start out, but set a deadline for how long this will happen and communicate that time frame with your family. Maybe it is twelve months and then you will cut back. Ensure you keep your promise and do cut back.

These days I let people know that I do not work evenings as this is my “family time” and guess what, most people accept (and respect) this. I start work about 4.30am, so by 4pm my workday is done. I then switch to family mode – homework, chauffeuring to sport, making dinner, doing the washing etc. This is my family and ‘me’ time. 

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