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The Balancing Act

The balancing act every mompreneur faces between work and family was a greater struggle when my kids were younger. They are 14, 12 and 9 now and although my time is limited and I have to prioritize, I do not feel the same pressure as I did 9 years ago when I started EEE. In fact, my kids are so independent now that I am grateful to have a job I am passionate about.

Owning a home-based business means my kids have grown up exposed to the events of my day, both good and bad. They are part of this journey and are learning valuable lessons of independence, work ethic, and conflict resolution through real-life experiences and yes, sometimes disappointments.

As a result, I can see sprouts of enterpreneurship in them as well. A few weeks ago, while I was teaching from my home classroom, my 7th grader and her friend organized a 3-day running camp for 15 4th graders and earned close to $100. She did not once ask for help, and on day two when I woke up to a thunderstorm and asked what she was going to do about camp, she had already woken up early and called all the parents to reschedule. I was so proud of her for problem solving independently.

Because my time is limited, my kids have learned to be self-sufficient and independent at an early age. They do chores, set their own alarms, pack their own lunches and are responsible for their own activities. If they forget something for school, they know I can’t bring it, so they don’t forget often. They have walked home in the rain on occasion, but somehow it always turns out to be an adventure and they have scientifically proven that you get less wet walking rather than running. Maybe I am just trying to make myself feel better about working, but I believe these experiences build confidence and independence, not to mention good time management skills.

I  don’t pay my kids for chores around the house but I will pay them if they work for my business, and I can often find jobs for them to do. Working for me teaches them to meet deadlines, produce quality work and develop a strong work ethic. If they take a job from me, I want it done well and on time. If it is not, the job will go to their brother or sister next time.

My children observe legal issues, financial issues, and conflicts with support staff. I often ask their opinions on these situations so they can learn how to resolve conflicts and overcome obstacles. They give surprisingly good advice — simple and fair. Adults tend to overcomplicate situations.

My kids have watched me become overwhelmed at times and have learned how to give of their time and resources to help another family member. Admittedly, they wait until they notice I am about to reach a boiling point, but at least they can pick up on life-threatening situations.

I love being a mompreneur and feel the rewards for my entire family strongly outweigh the sacrifices. I am proud of my kids and feel they are watching and learning valuable lessons of problem solving, conflict resolution and time management that will shape their future. If you feel the urge to go into business for yourself, I hope you won’t hold yourself back because of what you think your children may have to sacrifice, but instead, embrace the idea of what your children will learn as they watch you work hard and follow your passion.

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