Answering the question of achieving balance.

Recently a media query came through my email from someone working on a story of how Hispanic business owners manage being an entrepreneur and parenthood. This gave me time to reflect on my family, their support and how they understand it isn’t just my business, it’s OUR business to support OUR family. That’s the bottom line of how it works.

I’m half Mexican – thus the Hispanic inquiry fit, though a poor excuse since I barely speak Spanish. I work full-time from home. I am the main income and we have two elementary school aged children. We moved to Oregon 9 years ago to give us the freedom to volunteer at their school and have date lunches since we are both home all day. CA didn’t afford that opportunity without living in scary places. We live in a “Leave it to Beaver” type of neighborhood in Beaverton.

Our children were raised with my working from home, taking calls, programming concentrating. When they got in school full-time my business exploded for the best because I was able to draw clear lines between work hours and family hours.

I get up early, get personal and volunteer tasks under my belt, and marketing done.
They get up, I spend breakfast with them, get them on the bus and then I’m on the clock for clients – time to earn.

When the bus drops them off I take a break, as much as possible to 100% focus on their recaps of the day. This is CRITICAL to let them know I’ve looked forward to their arriving home, hearing about their days. I try to end calls or not schedule them for 15 minutes during that time…. 15 – that’s what it takes to make my kids so happy.

They move on to homework, I go back to work for another 2 hours. I do my best to take weekends off 100% – at least Sunday – I rarely have the computer on.

School holidays are the killer and this is where the village comes in. All of their friends know the signal when I’m on a call, need silence to record a show, etc. They all respect it. We share kids between the houses those days to keep sanity since I don’t have the luxury to take a day off for every dopey school holiday.

My clients are understanding and supportive. They know summer means camping weekends where I am off line Friday through Sunday and sometimes an extra day at either end. We prepare projects before then and I may take phone calls, but I’m pretty much unplugged. My children LOVE camping for this reason more than any reason – our undivided attention.

How do you maintain owning your own business, especially if you are the key income – and still have time for family? I’d love to hear your stories.