As women entrepreneurs, specifically those working in an at-home business with small children, we have a never ending cycle to our work. The first cycle is: school in/school out. How much we can get done at our office job depends on if school is in session or the kids are home over Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, February break, April break or summer break. If you are a customer during those periods of time, be warned that emails may not get answered on time or if they are, expect a reply at ten in the evening. Orders may get a little behind too. And heaven forbid anyone (husbands included) gets sick or there is a snow day because that puts a total wrench in the office schedule.
The next cycle I like to call the planned plan cycle. We plan and plan and plan and then execute the plan, then revise the plan and then execute the new plan. Things usually go quite smoothly with this cycle and we can actually be quite successful and productive. New ideas can form during this cycle and then the planning can begin again. This cycle works well for a few months until you revert back to the first cycle mentioned above.
The next cycle can happen at any point in time, without the women even knowing that it is coming. Like a panther ready to pounce it watches and waits until just the right moment. This is what I call the guilty cycle.
This cycle does not discriminate. Everything is put on the table with this one. We feel guilty that we are not spending enough time with our kids, our husbands, our parents, our siblings, our friends, our communities. We haven’t been to the gym in days, weeks, months. This cycle makes us re-evaluate our priorities and values. This cycle questions our planned plans and makes us long for summer break. Some women go so far as to seek counseling with other business women. “Should I even be doing what I’m doing? Will my kids write a memoir when they are adults on how I was never around when they were young? What am I doing with my life?
I’m happy, however to live in a time where there is an understanding and acceptance towards those women who work from home and juggle being the main stay-at-home parent. Some workplaces are of course more accepting then others but generally more and more jobs are being offered with “mom hours”. I’m happy that my former employer (Mill No. 5 – google it) gave me lots of freedom to find a balance between work and family life. I’ve realized over the last few years though that I am an entrepreneur at heart and am happiest being my own boss. So my struggle with the never ending work cycles will continue for a while I wager. I hope we can all survive!