This post first appeared on Entrepreneur .
You start your business so you can have a career that's supportive of motherhood. You work hard. You do your best to balance working and raising kids. But what happens when your business takes off?
That's what happened to me. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining or saying I'm not thrilled about the success of my business. But I started Stroller Strides eight years ago so I could spend most of my time with my son. At the birth of the business, that worked. We got to play after classes. I worked when he was napping. Life was good. But as he grew, so did the business. We are now one of the fastest-growing franchises in the nation, and I'm managing a staff of 12. I'm now the mother of two kids and have less time to spend with my family. I squeeze much of the time I do have with my kids in between work, and even then I'm checking e-mail on my phone.
I have slipped down the slope of good intentions. While my original purpose was to be a mom first and foremost, now I'm balancing full-time work with full-time motherhood. With my son starting third grade, I am greatly aware that I'll never get these precious years back.
I coach countless women on how to achieve their dreams as mom entrepreneurs. My first question is always, "Why do you want to start your business?" If it's to be with your kids, then take your steps carefully. Not many businesses will allow you to balance work and motherhood. Your ultimate goal of success for your business may not match your goal of balance at home.
For me, the solution is a hard look at my time and how I spend it. I've dropped many projects I once thought important but now realize can be done by someone else. I surround myself with a team of incredible employees who share a passion and drive for the business. I trust them to grow my business so I can invest in my family. As a mom entrepreneur, you probably have a desire to have total control and to manage every last detail. I get that. But there aren't enough hours in the day, and no one else can be mommy to your kids. So grow your business with intention. Don't rush toward success, as it may be better if it comes later.
Here are my top five tips to keep you on track as you grow your business:
- Stay clear on why you wanted to start your business.
- Evaluate how you spend your time regularly.
- Ask yourself if any part of your day could be done by someone else. That could be work or it could be housekeeping.
- Make yourself a Not-To-Do List . For instance, if time is precious, then you need to commit not to do things: Don't go to unnecessary meetings, waste time on social media sites, etc.
- Create a Most Important Thing To Do List. Knowing you can't get everything done, make a list of what's most important to your family, to your work and to yourself each day.