Hey there mama! Are you feeling the pressure to be perfectly present with your kids, but also be perfect in your business? You hear the terms “time management” and “discipline” all the time, but what does that look like for you? Does having that paper planner make you organized?
Are you just sick and tired of listening to other pros tell you what you should do? Is it even sustainable for your life and business?
Okay, let’s have a real and honest discussion on what it takes to be present with our kids and run a thriving business.
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Full transcription available at the bottom of this blog post
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Welcome back ladies today. I have a special guest and friend, Jacqueline Howard. She is the host of the optimized to scale podcast and a virtual business support professional. Typically on my show, I’m all about business and social media, but today I’m flipping the script and getting real with what’s happening in my life. And I’m sure many lives of mompreneurs and that’s how to be present with my kids and build a thriving business at the same time. And that’s why Jacqueline’s here. She’s going to give us her perspective on this issue and what we can do to make it work. But before we get into the goods of this episode, first, welcome to the show, Jacqueline,
Thank you so much for having me. Allison, I’m glad to be here
Now, Jacqueline, before we jump into all the goods, can you give us a little bit of background of your business?
Sure. I started my business while I was homeschooling my four children. I had basically one in middle school or one in elementary school, two in middle school, one in high school, early high school or something like that, but they were a little bit bigger and um, so cost of, you know, feeding them and they all wanted to start playing sports and piano and all these things. It started getting expensive and we were a one income family. And so I tried different things to try to make some side money. I sold crochet baby hats and stuff on Etsy for awhile. And that was a lot of fun. But as you can imagine, it takes up a lot of time to create the product and then market the product, sell the product, ship the product. It was just like, even when I was selling a lot, it was taken away from my kids.
So, uh, so that wasn’t something I could keep going. And I tried working like, you know, retail on holidays and that again, it’s taken you away from the family and the return on investment wasn’t really worth it essentially. Um, and then a friend of mine, cause while homeschooling, I was leading a homeschool community, right. And uh, one of the parents in the community had a, an online business. They reached out to me to help with like customer service and cause I was already doing admin things for this community. And so it was right there in my skillset and I was like, sure. And I got a taste of being able to be home working and supporting someone else. And it was wonderful because I didn’t have to make products, sell products. I didn’t even have to market a business. I was helping someone else grow theirs. And that’s how I got started. And you know, in that business and it’s kind of just grown from there, um, growing clients referrals, but that is my business. That’s what I do. I support other businesses and help them grow essentially. And when they grow, I grow. So that’s what I do.
I love what you do. And the fact that you homeschool your four kids is just truly amazing. We are talking about this, pull in our lives today, the desire to be ever present with our kids and the desire to grow a thriving business at the same time. So how can we do both? What is your perspective on this?
Well, I have my perspective now, and then I have to say that it, it, uh, evolved and, um, shifted or matured or whatever over time. Uh, initially I felt like I had to be, uh, essentially, uh, perfect mom, um, perfect wife, a perfect friend and perfect homeschool teacher. But the reality is when you look at any one of those things, like you think about teachers that, that go into a school building and they teach, they’re only, I mean, they’re phenomenal people, but if you think about it, they’re good at their subject matter. They’re not required to be the best everything teacher, but I was putting that pressure on myself, you know, or you think about, um, someone who is a chef or something like that, they’re good at cooking, but we’re not looking at the rest of their life and going, well, you also have to be top dog and all of this.
And I was putting that pressure on myself all the time and that started to wear me out. And then I evolved more into, I heard someone say, I’m in, in life, you know, you’re juggling. Um, you look at all the things that you’re juggling as like, you know, different types of balls that you’re juggling. And they said, you know, uh, the friendship ball, the career ball, the hobbies, whatever, even how in shape or out of shape you are, if you drop one of those balls, it will bounce back. But if you drop your family or your children, the relationship with them is shadows. And so then I was like, all right, well, I need to focus my energy on, you know, my children and cultivating relationship with them and cultivating, um, my marriage and, and, um, you know, growing in my faith and things like that.
So I started focusing on there, but then, you know, your health starts to slip, right? Because really, I wasn’t even really focusing on necessarily me because I felt some sort of guilt about that. I felt like, um, I have to focus on my husband focused on my children and then the day’s over. Right. And so then I had to recalibrate because my health started failing and I had to recognize that I’m actually destroying my family by not taking care of myself, because if I’m ill, then I can’t be all these things that I want to be for them. So then that shifted again where I learned that, um, making myself a priority is not selfish. It’s not, there’s actually nothing wrong with that, right. Because if I’m the one that wants to help drive all these things in my home and then the homeschooling and the business, but I’m falling apart, it’s like, that’s sabotage, I’m sabotaging the whole operation.
And so now I’m more in a place of recognizing, um, that I am, I’m not the ultimate source. You know, I, I believe that God is the ultimate source, but in some ways I am the source for my children. I am the source for my business and things like that. And if the source is worn out, everything else is worn out. So I’ve made myself more of a priority. And I find that when I carve a little bit of intentional time for me, I have no guilt when I’m doing everything else because I had to be intentional to carve out that time. So I kind of went on a bit. I don’t know if I answered the question, but I really just learned to create intentional time for self, for business, for family, for rest. And because I preplan those times when I wasn’t tired or angry or whatever, I was like of sound mind when I created those blocks of time, I can just trust that I’ve made a good decision when I made it. And there’s no guilt. I’m not going to feel mom guilt. If I’m sleeping, I’m not going to feel mom guilt. If I’m, you know, uh, cooking because it’s not playtime with the kids, it’s cooking time and I’m not going to feel guilt about my business if it’s time to be with the kids. And I’m not going to feel guilt about, you know, working in my business, if it’s business time, does that make sense?
It does. And I’m so glad you brought up the word guilt because I think a lot of us moms compare ourselves to what we see out in the world and it looks beautiful and perfect, but we’re really not seeing, you know, behind the curtains of what’s really going on. And I liked how you said you’re not feeling guilt. Cause that’s how I used to be. I felt that if I took time to separate myself from my kids to go work out for an hour, or I decided to take two hours to work on my business, why they’re chilling and doing their own thing, I used to be, I used to feel super guilty about that, but I’m realizing as I evolve and go on in my life, it’s almost required because I feel that when I do take care of myself and I’m structuring that time in the day, I feel successful at the end of the day. And I know that I’m setting my not only myself up for success, but I’m setting my family up for success. So I’m glad that you brought up guilt. Now I do have on top of what you talked about, how do you structure like time management and does time management in discipline kind of go together? Cause we hear about time management, but what, what really is that? Yeah.
And that’s one of those things I also had to really learn because let me tell you, Alison, I’m a planner junkie. I love some planners and it’s, it sounds almost foolish when I say it out loud, but I always felt like when I bought a planner, I’m like, yes, I’m organized now I’m ready to go. But it’s like, you’re not opening the planner. Like you’re not even, you know, whatever. So first of all, I had to like stop buying a bunch of planners, but never actually using them. So, um, my first thing is like, because I think I’m the kind of person I feel like if I buy another tool, I buy another resource, I get another coach. Then I’m going to get it together. But it’s like, honestly, if you just had a piece of paper and a pencil, you can get your life together.
It really doesn’t take a lot. It’s just that we don’t take action. So yeah. So what I am doing now and what all the pieces of what I’m doing now, uh, it’s like I accumulated bits of knowledge along the journey. And then now it’s where I am. And I think hopefully I’ll refine it along the way. But, um, one, I had to shed the guilt that I can’t, I can’t cook while listening to my kid, read me a book while being on a phone call while I’m trying to answer email, like whatever, like you’re not doing that well. So, um, I had to shed the guilt to trying to do it all. And the second thing I really learned to do is be a little bit more of a visionary and um, take time. Some people, they do it at the beginning of the year and they do it once.
But for me, because I think things are constantly shifting, especially like 20, 20 things were shifting every 30 days. Right? So for me, I kinda try to vision tasks, like maybe every quarter, but at the beginning of every month, I kind of look at where I’ve been and where I’m going. And I try to create kind of a vision of what I need to have done. And then I block my time accordingly. Um, I recognize that my paying clients, as far as during my Workday, they are a priority. And so I create blocks of time when I’m most efficient for working with them. And then I have to create blocks of time. My kids are older now they’re not toddlers, so I can assign work to them and they can work on it, but I need to create blocks of time to pause and check in on them.
But pause and reset my eyes, my eyes get tired. I reset my brain fog, you know, and go for a walk or just kind of do stuff. So how that practically looks like is I’m a work in 40 10. So 40 minute timers where I’m working like an intense 40 minute session of work. And then I’d take a 10 minute break. And that way not sending me a break, I can do something like, um, switch a load of laundry, take a bite to eat, whatever. Um, so my days kind of incremented like blocked up like that. And then I’d take an hour for lunch where, I mean, I’m not eating that whole hour, but it’s just nice to feel no guilt that I’m just eating. I’m sitting, I’m doing nothing. And I have a timer on my phone for three 30 to make, to force myself to end my day.
And so when that timer beeps at four 30, I stop, I, you know, try to kind of put a period at the end of my sentence kind of thing. But that 30 minutes from three 30 to four, it’s kind of like, you know how you have a morning routine to rev up your day. That’s my end of work routine while I’m winding down my day. So by four I can feel like work is done cooking dinner, chit chatting with the kids. And that’s kind of how I’m managing my time. However, if I it’s like, it’s almost like I, you know how we always say when we have our own business, we, our own boss or whatever. I look at it as when I sat down to vision pass or plan my week. That’s when I’m the boss and the rest of the week, I’ve got a follow up the boss already decided.
But the cool thing is I’m both Boston employee. So it’s not like someone else made this up for me. It’s like, well, no, I get to choose. But once it’s been chosen and chosen with some discernment and decision-making and all that stuff, I have to follow what the boss said. So it’s back to like, you do have to learn to lead yourself and you really have to learn to be disciplined because it’s no one else’s responsibility, right. When you decide to start a business, like you got to lead and that’s really what I’m also learning is, uh, you know, having your own business. It’s really, it’s all about becoming the best leader you can be and leading yourself and being the best version that you can be so that who you were designed to be, can be poured out into the world. Right. But if you’re kind of moving off and doing all the things that you want to do, like that are constantly kind of pleasure, pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. You never get to do the things that you were designed to do and that the world is waiting for. Right?
Those are some really great tips that I want to go back to something you said that’s so important is you said you need to take action. And I just said this on a recent podcast of mine that I said, and it was teaching on Instagram, but really you can apply this to everything in your business, your family, your life. But I said, you need to move away from a state of inspiration and go to a state of action. And I think that’s where a lot of moms fall into is they’re constantly in the state of inspiration. And like you said, they’re buying the planners. They’re watching so many mentors or coaches that are so successful and they’re probably 10 to 20 steps ahead of us, but we idolize what they’re doing. And we feel that we need to mimic and do what they’re doing. So we stay in state of inspiration, but really that doesn’t align with our business or our life where, you know, if I’m going to look at someone who’s working five to six hours a day and they have no children at home, I cannot apply that to my life where I have two boys.
Who’s doing, you know, remote learning. I need to, you know, maybe there’s something I learned from that mentor or coach, but I need to structure my day where I feel aligned and what’s going to work not only for my business, but it has to work for my family too. So I think we need to keep that in mind, like, yes, it’s okay to be inspired, but then we need to move away from that. Take a hard look at our life and then how we’re going to use time management, how we’re going to discipline ourselves and then move to a state of action. So I think that’s so like, we need to almost make that cross on that bridge. And there’s so many moms who are in the middle of that bridge of inspiration and action, and you just need to get off the bridge and just take action in your own businesses.
Yeah. And I realized like a lot of it, I always thought I wasn’t taking it. Well, this is why it took so many courses before I always saw I wasn’t taking action. Cause I just don’t know. I don’t know what the next thing is and whatever, whatever. And, but when it really got down to the nitty-gritty, as I realized it was all about what I believed about myself or my abilities or my ability to succeed or whatever. And again, it got back to that needing to be perfect. Like if my business and everything, isn’t pristine that I can’t do anything. And that is, you know, really, really paralyzing. And I think we even do that with time management. Like if I can’t figure out the perfect blocking system, then I’m just not going to do anything. And I’m going to keep kind of flying by the seat of my pants.
But which that’s what I was queen of before too. Like, Oh, I feel inspired to cook. So I’m going to cook, you know, you know, and I mean, there were really amazing recipes, but kids don’t eat off of inspiration. They have to eat every day, certain times, you know? And so that’s where it’s like, I had to be disciplined. And it’s like, when you show up, even when you’re not good at it, even when you don’t feel like it, you show up at the same time to do the same thing. Each time inspiration will start to show up with you each time. Right? Like don’t you find that to be true. Yeah.
Yeah. So Jacqueline, what is the best piece of advice you can share with moms who are just feeling so stuck right now? They’re just constantly feel like this back and forth battle between being present with their kids because of the virus. And a lot of moms are home with their kids trying to tackle remote learning. And they’re also building a business. Like what’s the one piece of advice you would give them.
I would tell them to do, to think about the one thing that’s stressing them out the most. I want them, I would tell them, try the, then what thing, where you say, okay, well, if I don’t, uh, insert whatever thing they’re anxious about, what’s going to happen. Okay. And if that happens and then what, and if that happens and then what, and then if that happens and then what, and typically you get to the place where it’s like, literally nothing will happen. So it’s like, then that issue probably isn’t worth giving your anxiety over to move on, set it aside and just move on and find the things that you can actually move the needle on. Or do you like the very next correct thing that, you know, you need to do. And again, once you take that action to just do the next right thing, the inspiration will come, the clarity will come.
But when you sit there kind of playing tug of war with your own thoughts, you’ll sit there forever. Um, so I would just say, talk it through. What’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t do all the things you have on your plate and, uh, you know, dissect each one, one at a time basically. And you’ll find that some of them don’t even need to be on the plate right now. It doesn’t mean forever, but just right now in that moment. So that’s what I would say. Take the time to walk through what would happen with the thing that is stressing you out currently. And also just take time to take a deep breath and just talk to your kids, let them know what you need from them. That’s something I didn’t do very well. And as soon as I started doing it, I realized, Oh, they’re willing to meet me there. Even if they’re four, when they were really little, I would tell them, mommy really needs to do this. So if you can do X activity while I’m doing this, when we’re done, then listen, we can do play with your Legos or we can go for a Walker, you know? And you’d be surprised even little kids, they can meet you there because they get it.
Yeah. That’s such great advice. I love that. And I think as we’re doing this interview right now, I have my kids out raking leaves because they don’t need me to do that. And I know they can take care of it and they’ll probably have a lot, a lot of fun. Right, exactly. So is there something you wish you would’ve known or done sooner in starting your business and staying aligned in your life?
I think I would have learned to trust myself sooner. I, yeah, I, um, I went straight to, I mean, cause you hear everybody say like you need to coaching and coaching and coaching, new coach and yes you do. But I think there’s a certain point, especially when you starting out that you can like, cause I think, I don’t know. It’s almost like they’re just kind of common sense things that like, I’m not talking about maybe things that are big and legal where you do need a lawyer, but just certain things. Like what do you want your business to look like? Or what do you really wanna, you know, that kind of stuff I wish I would have just trusted my instincts more instead of, like you said before, listening to the guru and assuming that like, because they are a guru, they know it’s like, yes, they do know to some extent, but they know according to their story and their circumstance. And so I wish I would have learned to key in more on the principle that they were teaching and not necessarily the action steps I’ve been able to pull from the principal and then trust myself to properly apply the principle instead of needing them think for me.
So yeah. I just wish I have, yeah, I wish I would have trusted myself more to just take action. And then, um, with the action we can correct or a coach can say, Oh, that action failed because, or whatever. But I think I just waited for someone to tell me every little thing and I wouldn’t have, if I could go back, I wouldn’t do that well. And I think too, that as mompreneurs, we’re so overwhelmed by what we consume on social media. I mean it’s in our face day in and day out, but really at the end of the day, you have to think, you know, does this feel right? Does it feel aligned and you just, we need to trust our own intuition. Like you said, trust. It’s like, yes, you want to trust what’s out there. But really the number one person that you need to trust is yourself and make sure it feels right for not only your business, but your family.
Right? So this was an awesome conversation today. Jacqueline, I just love how you help, you know, especially women building their business, just being that support and professional.