A busy professional mother shares her secrets. What are yours?
By Katie Lance (CEO & Owner, Katie Lance Consulting)
It’s ironic that I am writing this article about women, motherhood, entrepreneurship, and balance.
I just recently returned from a crazy busy week – spent two days in Denver with a client, was home for 36 hours and then was in San Francisco to speak and be a part of the National Association of Realtors® Convention for the past four days.
I returned home last night to a ‘reality’ – my kids squealing with delight as I came in the front door, dinner on the table and laundry ready to be folded.
Today, I am doing a little balancing act as I work at home on client projects, manage phone calls and also have my six year old at home because I realized at 7am today that it’s Veteran’s Day – aka no school for him.
Because I travel so much – speaking at conferences and various conventions – and run a busy consulting firm – I am often asked things like,
“How can you handle being away from your boys so much?”
“How are you doing with all of this travel?”
“I don’t know how you do it…”
Or my favorite – “Who watches the boys when you are away?”
I always wonder if my husband was in my shoes if he would get these same questions and I usually think the answer would be ‘no.’
We still live in a world with double standards about men and women and what I think is so interesting is how low the bar is set for men, especially when I tell people about my husband. My husband is a great guy – and honestly handles parenting sometimes better then me! He manages our kids and their schedules, feeding, taking care of them, shuttling them to school and back, and everything in between when I am away. I think though that if the roles were reversed it would be expected of me to do all of that – and I doubt I’d receive all the pats on the back like he does!
However, I am the first to say I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have his love and support, as well as my parents who live close by. It truly takes a village.
See the thing is – I love what I do. I love being busy. I pride myself as being the person that can get a lot of stuff done in a short period of time but also know when to say ‘no.’ I’ve learned early on to under promise and over deliver and although it’s a cliché – it’s an easy mantra that helps me balance it all.
My boys know I love them more then anything – ‘to the moon and back’ is what I tell them every day. I leave them love notes for them to find when I leave the house for the airport at 3am, I always try to bring home a special ‘something’ from the airport gift shops and because of technology I can FaceTime, Skype or just sent a quick video message to let them know how much I love them.
I also make sure they always know they are a priority. At nighttime the iPhone gets put aside as much as possible and any school event always gets priority over a project or speaking engagement.
So how do I keep all the balls in the air and not drop any of them? Three things come to mind:
- Letting go of trying to do all and be all to all people. Women are notorious for comparing ourselves to everyone. Letting go of trying to be the best at everything has helped me focus on what I can do – not what I can’t do. As much as I admire stay at home mothers and the women who volunteer relentlessly in my son’s classroom – the ones who always seem to be more on top of it then I do – I also recognize my strengths and weaknesses.
- Being accepting of who you are and what you are good at and what you need help with – and then asking for help – or hiring for it! I don’t know why but so many women I know look at it as a sign of weakness when we need help. Men on the other hand rarely think of hiring an assistant or adding someone to the team as a negative. I learned this year the value of not trying to do it all and hiring someone to help. It’s made a huge difference in my business!
- Setting clear expectations. This is vitally important when working with clients but also communicating with my husband. When you set clear expectations of when you will do something or get back to someone, it makes a world of difference. Don’t say you’ll do something Monday when really that will be a stretch – say Wednesday and then surprise them if you can get it done Monday or Tuesday.
So what are your thoughts about ‘having it all?’
I’d love to hear from you – leave me a comment below or send me a tweet!
About the guest blogger: Katie (@katielance) is the CEO and owner of Katie Lance Consulting. She specializes in social media strategy and content development, and works with mid to large-sized brands in the technology and real estate industries. Katie is a nationally known keynote speaker.