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Mummy I just want to spend time with you (how to break an entrepreneurs heart)

Family comes firstThe honest truth about working parents – is that we don’t always get it right. We think we are getting it right, we think we are building the best future for our family….until our child mutters the words “But Mum, I just want to spend time with you” and a little piece of your heart breaks off and shatters into pieces on the floor.

As a mother, and entrepreneur and a woman running her own business, I started on this journey 4 years ago as I was made redundant. I didn’t hate the corporate world – in fact I loved it. But after redundancy, working for myself seemed a natural event. I assumed it would provide less hours. a steady income and I could get the best of everything – family time, me time, work (I actually love to work). You know that mysterious balance we all strive for. Call me naive, I probably was!

“I mean how hard can it be? I am the boss after all so if balance is not balancing surely I just fix it right?”

What I have realised after 4 years feeling like a hamster spinning on a wheel – is that once you are on the wheel – it is bloody hard to get off. In fact, we tell ourselves if we can just spin the wheel faster, somehow that will solve all our problems. It will provide more clients, more balance, less stress, a booming business, a brand that has value and it will make me an expert “hamster”.

Whilst I have nailed most of those things in the past 4 years, the one thing missing is the balance.

“And to be honest, it is only now that I reflect on this, that I find this is the most important factor for me. Family should be coming first, not last.”

Do you know how many times this month I have said to my children “Mummy will do it in a minute, I just have to finish this”. Well I couldn’t even tell you as I have bloody lost count.

Do you know how many DVD’s my son has watched this past month, because then when mummy works at the kitchen table it feels like I am “parenting” as technically I am in the same room as him. Well I am too embarrassed to admit what the number is – but it would be frightening to add it up.

“I thought I was juggling everything like a pro. I thought I was being a great role model. I thought I was providing a long term future that my family would be proud of.”

But I had lost sight of the most important thing to me. My family. And it was only when I asked my kids if they wanted to go to their swimming lesson after school the other week, that my 7 year old told me he didn’t want to go. Now my children are part mermaids – they love swimming, they love splashing, they love being in the water, so I asked them why on earth they would not want to go to the pool. It didn’t make sense.

“Master 7 responded… Because if we don’t go to the pool that means we get to spend 3 hours with you mummy instead.”

Hear that noise – that is my heart shattering into a million pieces. What mother could listen to that and not have tears streaming down their face?

I guess I have spent the past 4 years in my business riding the ups and downs the highs and the lows and I have not really assessed if my business was giving me what I ultimately wanted – the freedom to be a better mother to my children. It was growing exponentially, clients were happy, we were getting articles published, we had speaking engagements, articles in newspapers and magazines – you name it and we were doing it. Opportunities I never had in the corporate world were coming my way. But I was sacrificing watching my kids grow up.

“It takes a brave person to be honest about matters like this and it is my turn to be brave and admit that things will be changing in my business. “

Things must change. That is now a non negotiable. My business should not be coming before my family.

I don’t know all the answers yet. I don’t even know what will be changing. I love what I do, I love our clients, I love helping business owners and entrepreneurs understand their numbers and interpreting the financial maze – so I know I will always be doing in it some capacity, but perhaps it is outsourcing more, delegating more, hiring more, working less, managing more – I don’t know.

But I do know this – my children will never wish to have time with me again. Instead, they WILL have time with me.