I’m finding I’m coming across this question increasingly these days: “how do you actually manage an at-home business with kids who aren’t in school yet”?
I think the short answer is: you get it done! But the long answer — which is what you’re here for today, in part — is obviously a bit more involved than that.
My goal for today is to explore the mindset behind that question + how we can create some actionable steps toward deciding what would be the best fit for you and your family — especially when it comes to your entrepreneurship.
So, let’s dive in!
I think right off the bat — women, especially moms — find themselves in a pattern of waiting for permission or waiting for direction. And when it comes to entrepreneurship, you’re steering the boat. And you’re also — if you’re a mom — expected to be steering the ship at home. There’s just a cultural expectation that this all goes to mom, to the woman.
And what I’d love for us to do is to just start here and ask, “in our modern world, does that still necessarily have to be true?”
Because you don’t need to be a bra-burning feminist to maybe consider that men or dads or partners have way more opportunities to step up + not make the expectation more of an “I need permission” or “I need to run directions by” conversation but instead from a place of “being on the same team.”
I wanted to lead with that to say maybe that’s an initial trap that’s keeping you stuck right off the bat. Before you even decide what your work-from-home entrepreneurship looks like, are you maybe waiting for permission or waiting for direction from someone that you’re maybe putting on a slightly higher pedestal instead of looking to the left or right and saying “hey, do we have this as a team truly? Are we deciding together? Are we giving ourselves permission to explore these options?”
So, start there. Are you waiting for permission? Are you waiting for direction?
My Personal Story
For me, I was raised in a home that my mom was at home with the kids full-time. That was her JOB. And my dad’s job was to go out, work, and make the paycheck. So the baseline that I have just in my brain is that moms stay home with the kids and that’s what they have to do all day and making a paycheck is an extra; it’s like a nice-to-do not a must-do.
What I learned with that example in front of me was that it actually ended up being a little unhealthy.
My mom craved doing something creative in entrepreneurship + there was never a healthy fit to that exploration. She tried to start business, they sold out of it, they watched that business go on to make a million dollars, there was a lot of shifting.
And I think that a lot of that came from a place of my mom feeling like she was stuck in this role and that she couldn’t fully commit to stepping in as an entrepreneur without feeling like she was letting the ball drop or that she was steering the ship in a different direction than her captain — her partner, my dad — had set out for her.
And that was just the dynamic in my house. My parents aren’t bad people. My dad’s not a bad guy or controlling guy — if I’ve set the groundwork to make you assume that! — but it was just traditional values.
And you can still have a traditional home that appreciates certain things without necessarily having that separate dynamic of “well, whose work that makes money is more important?”
Because it took 2 of you to parent. And it took 2 of you to make this family. And so, could it stand to reason that both of you could actually earn a paycheck and enjoy doing it in a way that gives a little to everyone?
A little time with the kids for your partner, a little time with the kids for you.
So, I’m just throwing that out there. Maybe there’s a subconscious picture of authority or a family blueprint that you’re carrying with you that you’re maybe applying to your modern motherhood + maybe that’s where a little conflict is. Maybe that’s what’s making it feel a little stressful.
How to Create Your Childcare Options List
So knowing that — that you don’t necessarily have to wait for permission, that your work-from-home arrangement can be a teammate conversation — I really invite you to think outside of the box. Are you trying to fit a square peg in a round hole when it comes to arrangements like daycare, babysitters, nannies, preschool…?
Is it actually something that lights you up inside? Are you excited about it? Are you encouraged by that childcare arrangement? Or are you not excited about it + you feel like you need to use that for a meter mark how you decide in your business?
It’s okay to say, “Wow, you know what I’m realizing? All of my girlfriends have hired a nanny + they’re so happy with it. I just don’t know that that’s for me. I don’t even think I want to try it. It actually makes me nervous. It makes me sad. Or whatever” That’s okay! Own that!
For me, I have a community of women around me who all use babysitters, mother’s helpers, nannies, preschools, daycares the whole gamut and it works for them.
When I consider those options for me, I don’t know — I just can’t do it. It doesn’t align with my motherhood; its an internal core feeling that I’m leaning into when I even wonder if those options are available to me.
So, as you’re thinking about not waiting for permission or direction, teaming up with your partner to decide what fits our modern parenthood we’re creating for ourselves, then check-in with yourself to ask “what actually feels like a TRUE option for us?” Not an option that everyone else says to do because it’s working so well for them. Congratulations if that works for them. If it works for you, go for it!
If it doesn’t, don’t put it on your option list. Start out the gate by editing your choices.
And then, when you have your options, you can make a thoughtful decision.
Making an Authentic Choice for You First
When you are acting from a place of choice, you will feel so much more calmer + confident in your life. You just will. It just happens that way. And it begins with that editing filter process.
So, notice where you might be blindly following a blueprint or direction. Check-in to see if you need to think outside the box for some creative options. Then once you have your options list, you can genuinely assess how it makes you feel.
How it makes YOU feel.
Because raising children is the most important work we’ll ever do, but it’s not the only work we’ll ever do.
And regardless of whether we’re in parenting mode, or CEO mode, we need to feel authentic to ourselves so that we can do the best work at the time. If we’re not operating from a place of organic living, it doesn’t work.
So, if you’re feeling like you are constantly jarring and trying to figure out sleep schedules, and feeding times, and adjusting nutrition plans to make your kids fit this equation, I invite you to consider that maybe the blueprint that (we planners especially) we are desperately trying to apply to our entrepreneurship, maybe it doesn’t fit.
And that is SO okay.
That is more than okay to say “eh, you know what? Time to get creative again.”
What to Put on Your Childcare Option List
So, once you’ve checked-in that your basic financial needs are met — food, water, shelter, heat are covered — look at what’s available to you to get creative in choosing one of those options.
If you’re finding like the childcare decision comes down to a really hard-pressed financial decision, there is a certain set of options for you, like the Childcare for Working Families Act. There are options for you — and I’m not expert in it — but there ARE options for you.
If you’re finding its not as much of a financial decision as it is a family balance decision, then there’s a whole different set of options for you + that’s something I can speak more to here so I’m going to dive into those options.
I think a great way to brainstorm your list is to come from a place of service.
How could YOU offer — already in your busy life — to support another mom?
Now, before you check me, consider this:
If you were to offer support to your business bestie — like person who invited you into your social selling business, for example — and you were to turn to her to say “Hey, I seem to always have Tuesday mornings free. What if we met up at the playground, you take your laptop + go do your thing for an hour + I’ll watch the kids? Then, we’ll switch + I’ll go do my hour.”
You’re both there at the playground, you can see your kids, you trust this person obviously enough to have joined their downline, so maybe they’d be capable of hosting a public playdate, right?
And there you go. It’s a free hour of an exchange where you came from a place of “how could maybe help someone else, what could I offer up?” And what I find is that in our sub-conscious ways of thinking, women tend to be able to better identify pockets of time where they could help someone else more so than they could identify pockets of time where they could help themselves.
More than that, what’s interesting is that those pockets of time could very well be spent on efforts that serve you. Those pockets of time don’t always have to serve somebody else.
So, I invite you to put that lens on your list of options as you start to get creative on your options.
And here are just some general run of the mill ideas:
Do a Babysitting Exchange
Create a partnership with someone you know and trust, like that playground option or some other iteration.
Consider Homeschooling at Any Age
There are options from preschool through high school, there’s a beautifully simple structure to homeschooling + it just requires a willingness to actually consider another option before writing it off.
Side note: I never in a million years thought that I’d homeschool my children. And yet, in my home, that’s what I’m finding is the best option for us. It works with entrepreneurship. It gives my daughter structure in preschool activities in like 10-minute spurts. I don’t feel so guilty because I know she’s learning all through the year on quality material that’s done for me (I don’t have to think about it). It allows me to have more quality time — so that when I Play, I can PLAY. And when I’m teaching, I can TEACH. And it’s great to share with other babysitters, grandparents, your partners, whoever.
So, consider what you’ve written off about parenting previously + maybe add those options to your list — the things you said “oh gosh, I’d never do that” because it might serve you in your mom entrepreneurship now.
I know that’s big. But dare to ask the question: What would a shift to a lower rent/mortgage payment possibly do to free up some extra income? What would it mean to afford the help inside the home that you really need or want, and then some?
Would you get to have the creative license to run on your business without white-knuckling? How incredible would that be? Just consider it! It takes a willingness. That’s the first step.
Now, I share some of those options — like have your sister move in while she waits for a job post-college, or hire a mother’s helper instead of a full-blown nanny to save some money on the going hour rate — and there are MANY more creative ones with many tweaks we can make. But the point is that you don’t have to wait to make a decision.
Make a Decision
And sitting in indecision and waiting for permission and waiting for direction and not maybe tagging your partner in as a teammate and instead just waiting for further instruction is just going to hold you up from building the business that YOU KNOW could provide you with so much freedom.
And, yet, you’re keeping yourself constricted by not considering all of the options that feel good to you + putting those on the table.
So, most importantly, I really encourage you to think creatively about how you want to spend time with your kids — not all of your time with your kids, but most of your time with your kids — and how you can carve out the space that really feels the most authentic for you.
And THAT is what is going to be the best possible situation for your mom entrepreneurship.
So, what will you decide for YOU?
I encourage you to get those authentic option lists brainstorming, then come share your thoughts or ask for feedback on your options list inside of the free, private OrganicMommyCEO Community. I’d love to continue the conversation in there!