Being a female entrepreneur takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. Your business becomes your baby as you birth it from idea to launch and beyond. Being a mother is even longer hours and a lifelong commitment to your family. As more and more women start and run successful businesses while having a family, they are often asked; "How the hell do they do it all?!"
We asked 10 Mompreneurs what their “secrets" are, and they openly share their advice, tips, and tricks to juggling their business babies and actual babies.
Let go of control and teach children independence
Actress and Blogger, Elisabeth Rohm, advises to "Instill confidence, positivity, and enthusiasm in the handling of their independence from you. Don't dwell on the goodbyes for too long or create drama around the fact that you're a working mother and definitely don't guilt yourself for working and being a Supermom and super role model!"
“Teaching our son from an early age how to be independent and creating routines and rituals for himself has been a gift. Since the age of 6, he has had his own diary to write his after-school activities in as well as important dates and reminders. We've always instilled in him that preparation is the key. I know he is confident to look after himself without relying on other people." Tina Bangel, Vocal Coach and Founder of One Voice School of Singing
It takes a village
“I have a lot of help around me. I have an incredible team at my restaurant who I am so proud of. They are an incredible bunch who work incredibly hard. At Super Mamas, our sister Elizabeth is our producer and who I delegate a lot to. At home, I have an incredible husband who is a true partner to me in life. So how I do it all? By asking for help, every day." Bricia Lopez, Owner of Guelaguetza Restaurant and Creator of Super Mamas
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Mona Loring, Owner and Partner at Conscious Living PR and Status PR says to "Plan ahead for as much as you can. From planning a week ahead of time to planning out everything I need to get done for the next day, I find that I'm able to get so much more done with a schedule. I will plan the night before for self-care, time with my kids on their homework and extracurricular activities while meal planning and scheduling my business meetings the week before whenever possible."
Fabienne Raphael, Online Business Consultant, Speaker and Podcaster, advises to “Prioritize and accept that some aspects have to get all my attention and some others will be neglected temporarily. It is also a great reminder to recognize which areas to delegate."
The early bird catches the worm.
Allison Carter, Creator of Confetti Party Plans and Host of the Memories in Moments Podcast, gets up an hour earlier before her kids. “Waking up an hour earlier than my kids has been the biggest game-changer for my productivity. It allows me to start my day with intention, rather than immediately being on the defense with kids, needs, and the breakfast hustle. During that time, I plan my day, look at what needs to get accomplished, get social media posts finalized and ready to post, read a business book, work on my podcast, really anything! The sky is the limit in that uninterrupted, quiet hour, and it has quickly become my favorite hour of the day!"
“I've found that when I get up about an hour earlier than the kids (and spouse!), I can plan my day, workout, meditate and really set an intention for how I want the day to go. This morning routine helps me stay focused on my daily goals. When I don't get up earlier than the kids, I am way more irritable and unfocused. It completely changes my attitude and the direction of my whole day." says Renata Rebing, Healthy Food Blogger
Intention is the name of the game
Sitinee Sheffert is a mom of 5, TEDx speaker and the Founder of Giving Artfully. She says her #1 tip for mom entrepreneurs is to “Be intentional with your time and actions. As a mom, when you are with your kids, be intentional with your time with them. Don't be distracted worrying about work. Our kids will grow up so fast before our eyes, we don't want to miss this precious time because we were too distracted. As an entrepreneur, be intentional about your action steps. We are so limited by time that we must focus only on steps that will further our business."
Saying “No" to getting it all done
“For many of us moms, there's a natural impulse to do everything for everyone. The idea that being a super mom means sacrifice isn't necessarily true. One of the best things you can say to free up time and brain-space is saying no when something is out of alignment." says Kenya Moses, Founder of Be A Fit Mama, Inc., Author and Speaker.
Andi Forness, an online dating coach, says “My #1 tip raising my 2 sons as a single mom while I started and now run a successful online business, and dating, was to realize early that I was not Super Mom. The reward for not being Super Mom is that I get time for self-care and fun and my sons are growing up to be responsible little men."
While building and running a business plus making sure your family is in order are all very important, don't forget to take care of yourselves. The last piece of unanimous advice from all of these incredible women is that
"You can't get it all done and that is perfectly fine. You are still a Super Mom."
It's the question on everyone's tongues. It's what motivates every conversation about whether or not Liz Warren is "electable," every bit of hand-wringing that a woman just "can't win this year," and every joke about menstrual cycles and nuclear missiles. Is America ready for a woman president?
It's a question that would be laughable if it wasn't indicative of deeper problems and wielded like a weapon against our ambitions. Whether thinly-veiled misogyny or not (I'm not going to issue a blanket condemnation of everybody who's ever asked), it certainly has the same effect: to tell us "someday, but not yet." It's cold comfort when "someday" never seems to come.
What are the arguments? That a woman can't win? That the country would reject her authority? That the troops would refuse to take her orders? That congress would neuter the office? Just the other day, The New York Times ran yet another in a long series of op-eds from every major newspaper in America addressing this question. However, this one made a fascinating point, referencing yet another article on the topic in The Atlantic (examining the question during Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid), which cited a study by two Yale researchers who found that people were either the same or more likely to vote for a fictional male senator when told that he was ambitious; and yet, both men and women alike were less likely to vote for a woman when told that she was ambitious, even reacting with "feelings of moral outrage" including "contempt, anger, and disgust."
The question isn't whether a woman could be president, or whether a woman can be elected president – let's not forget that Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than the wildly unqualified man currently sitting in the oval office – it's whether or not it's appropriate for a woman to run for president, in a pre-conscious, visceral, gut-check way. In short, it's about misogyny. Not your neighbors' misogyny, that oft-cited imaginary scapegoat, but yours. Ours. Mine. The misogyny we've got embedded deeply in our brains from living in a society that doesn't value women, the overcoming of which is key for our own growth, well-being, and emotional health.
Why didn't we ever ask if America was ready for Trump?
That misogyny, too, is reinforced by every question asking people to validate a woman even seeking the position. Upfront, eo ipso, before considering anything of their merit or experience or thought, whether a woman should be president, that, if given the choice between a qualified woman and an unqualified man, the man wins (which, let's not forget, is what happened four years ago). To ask the question at all is to recognize the legitimacy of the difference in opinion, that this is a question about which reasonable people might disagree. In reality, it's a question that reason doesn't factor into at all. It's an emotional question provoking an emotional response: to whom belong the levers of power? It's also one we seem eager to dodge.
"Sure, I'd vote for a woman, but I don't think my neighbor would. I'd vote for a woman, but will South Carolina? Or Nebraska? Or the Dakotas?" At worst, it's a way to sort through the cognitive dissonance the question provokes in us – it's an obviously remarkable idea, seeing as we've never had a woman president – and at best, it's sincere surrender to our lesser angels, allowing misogyny to win by default. It starts with the assumption that a woman can't be president, and therefore we shouldn't nominate one, because she can't win. It's a utilitarian argument for excluding half of the country's population from eligibility for its highest office not even by virtue of some essential deficiency, but in submission to the will of a presumed minority of voters before a single vote has ever been cast. I don't know what else to call that but misogyny by other means.
We can, and must, do better than that. We can't call a woman's viability into question solely because she's a woman. To do so isn't to "think strategically," but to give ground before the race even starts. It's to hobble a candidate. It's to make sure voters see her, first and foremost, as a gendered object instead of a potential leader. I have immense respect for the refusal of women like Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and pioneers like Carol Mosley-Braun, going as far back as Victoria Woodhull, to accede to this narrative and stick to their arguments over the course of their respective campaigns, regardless of any policy differences with them. It's by women standing up and forcing the world to see us as people that we push through, not by letting them tell us where they think we belong.
One of the themes I come back to over and over again in my writing is women asserting independence from control and dignity in our lives. It's the dominant note in feminist writing going back decades, that plea for recognition not only of our political and civil rights, but our existence as moral agents as capable as any man in the same position, as deserving of respect, as deserving of being heard and taking our shot. What then do we make of the question "is America ready for a woman president?" Is America ready? Perhaps not. But perhaps "ready" isn't something that exists. Perhaps, in the truest fashion of human politics, it's impossible until it, suddenly, isn't, and thereafter seems inevitable.
I think, for example, of the powerful witness Barack Obama brought to the office of president, not simply by occupying it but by trying to be a voice speaking to America's cruel and racist history and its ongoing effects. By extension, then, I think there is very real, radical benefit to electing a chief executive who has herself been subject to patriarchal control in the way only women (and those who others identify as women) can experience.
I look at reproductive rights like abortion and birth control, and that is what I see: patriarchal control over bodies, something no single president has ever experienced. I think about wage equality; no US president has ever been penalized for their sex in their ability to provide for themselves and their families. I look at climate change, and I remember that wealth and power are inextricably bound to privilege, and that the rapacious hunger to extract value from the earth maps onto the exploitation women have been subject to for millennia.
That's the challenge of our day. We've watched, over the last decade, the radicalized right go from the fringes of ridicule to the halls of power. We've watched them spit at the truth and invent their own reality. All while some of our best leaders were told to wait their turn. Why, then, all this question of whether we're ready for something far simpler?
Why didn't we ever ask if America was ready for Trump?