How to Be an Effective Parent and Scale Your Business At the Same Time
Keeping your business alive while parenting requires strength and a little flexibility
Working from home and running a business while parenting is no small feat. I went from trying to ensure that my children and my business grew efficiently, to trying to ensure that my children and my business survive. I never dreamed I would one day be responsible for managing millions of dollars in cash flow while also teaching third grade math — not just in the same day, but often in the same minute. And yet, here we are.
It’s noteworthy if I manage to have a call without multiple kid eruptions, so us parent entrepreneurs have little choice but to develop tools to ensure that both parenting and running a business are compatible. Needless to say, this is still a work in progress, but here’s what I’ve learned thus far:
Work when you can work.
There is no such thing as nine-to-five (was there ever?). And in this situation, you’re really going to have to figure it out as you go. What worked last week may not work this week. I am now working early mornings, helping kids with school mid-morning, then going back to work in the evening. If there is something I can’t miss mid-morning, guess who gets to watch ABC Mouse? This is uncharted territory for our kids, too. Most kids have little expectation, so try to schedule around what you need, and know that they will be OK.
Don’t be afraid to let some things go.
Perfection is not the name of the game right now. Figure out what can come off your plate, tasks that aren’t the highest priority for either your business or your family. At some level, you know you can’t home-scale and home-school at the same time. So don’t even try.
Teach when you can teach — manage what you can manage.
Try to find help if you can. We have asked enterprise companies if their employees might volunteer with us, we have brought back interns, and we have asked team members to do things out of their job description. At home, I got my dad on Zoom to help teach my kids math (which is not my strength). Even my co-founder and I put our four kids together on Zoom, when we need a minute to work. When it comes down to it, the best you can do is to be flexible, and just do what you can.
Remember that it’s okay to cross back and forth between work and home.
It’s inevitable, and it can be a pleasure, for example, seeing your colleagues’ kids on Zoom and getting to say hello. I have loved seeing their children more often. And seeing our corporate partners confront home-schooling challenges has brought all of us closer together. And I will always be grateful to run in and eat lunch with my babies during the work day.
There is much at stake, and there is no clear roadmap. There will be stress, and if you find you need help, take the time to talk to someone.