Stay-at-home moms are often asked favors because they are “not working”. People around them assume that they always have time for everything— from being the homeroom parent, to volunteering in the lunchroom, to organizing the canned food drive.
How do you deal with those?
For mompreneurs, you can always fall back on, “I can’t. I have to work”.
Easier said than done, of course. One of the reasons moms take the road to mompreneurhood is to have financial wiggle room for their family while being present to their loved ones’ special events. Saying no to activities because you have a business to run doesn’t fulfill your mompreneur mission, does it?
But you can’t always say yes to every favor thrown your way. How do you discern which ones to take and which to pass on?
Here’s my strategy for deciding what gets on my plate:
- Does this fulfill my mission? – (To answer this you must know your mission. If you don’t, let’s talk at talkwithchristina.com.) Questions I ask to see if taking on a task or responsibility will help me fulfill my mission include:
- Will this activity bring me closer to my kids? – Driving to field trips, helping at class parties, coaching Battle of the Books all create shared experiences with your kids. Seeing your kids in the context of their peers gives insights into their struggles and strengths that you can help them with behind the scenes.
- Will this activity help me grow my business and generate revenue? – While there are some non-generating activities you need to do to be a team player, you must discern which ones to do and pass on or you will not be able to pay your bills at the end of the month. Be clear on what you are able to commit to and be sure you are not writing an open check with your time.
- Will this activity enhance the emotional, physical, or spiritual development of my family? Remember these are the important, but not urgent activities that contribute to your kids becoming the people God wants them to be. Make sure you have the right mix of these and then fill in with the other things as your schedule permits.
- Does that task or project require a gift I possess? You give the greatest value when you devote your time doing tasks that are a match with your unique talents. I invest my time in activities that involve leadership, strategy, and helping to organize bigger systems. I avoid anything that will require counting, phone calls, and administrative time. Think of where your passions lie. You may love the excuse to connect with people by calling to arrange field trip drivers. Say “yes” to those requests.
- Can I make this work in my schedule? As you advance in your business, you should have a grid that defines your base schedule and includes time slots for the important activities in your business and personal life. Everything can be adjusted slightly each week, but you need a master plan. With one in place you can verify if it is even possible for you to fulfill the request without blowing off your core business and personal commitments.
When two tasks on your schedule clash, ask, “What’s most important?” Sometimes you squeeze out a work responsibility to make extra special time with your spouse. But other times you say “No,” to family requests, because your business needs your attention. What’s most important can change moment by moment. Remembering past choices allows you to make yes-no decisions that are fair both to your loved ones, as well as to you and your business.
A good mom business coach can teach you the tricks of saying “no” or “yes” gracefully so you end up with more time and money and cherished time with your family.
Catholic Mompreneur’s Biz and Life Guide: People don’t like to hear “no” to requests, but when you learn the art of discernment that allows God’s wisdom to permeate, all will be happier in the end.
Copyright 2014 Christina M Weber MS