When you think of role models for your kids, who comes to mind first? If you’re like most Americans, you probably (reluctantly) jump to sports figures, rock stars, or comic book heroes, right? As a mother and a business owner, exposing my two boys to the ways the world works is a gift. One which (I hope) will shape their values and their world view around work ethic and confidence throughout their lifetimes.
As a mother of 2 sons, I know how fortunate I’ve been to be a business owner and a mom at the same time. Unfortunately, many women who may want to “do both” feel as though they can’t. They may feel that they can’t be there for their family if they’re working. Or, they may feel that they’re only giving 50% at work and 50% at home, neither of which is ideal. However, the truth remains that there is a balance, and it is attainable.
According to an article by Forbes, “Women start businesses at 1.5 times the rate of men and are at least half-owners of 46% of privately held firms.” That is more that 150% more businesses started by women than men! Clearly there are lots of women who feel they can manage their household and run a business. It’s not easy, but doable – if you are motivated and organized.
Anyone who tells you starting your own business is easy either hasn’t done it or is delusional. It’s late nights, early mornings, and the idea of “weekend” (depending on the business) often goes out the window. It’s absolutely doable (as the numbers tell us!) and having “a community of peers [that] inspires, supports and encourages women to accomplish more as entrepreneurs and business leaders” is invaluable, says the same Forbes article. A franchise offers that via not only corporate headquarters, but more importantly, your fellow franchisees.
Over the years, I’ve found particular strength and resolve talking with not just other women who run businesses but with moms who are also business owners. As with any good community, sharing common experiences with others helps us grow and teaches us perspective. I love having coffee or lunch with my fellow “ mompreneurs”, and we’re able to talk about our successes and struggles, or usually both.
By just “being me,” I may also be helping my sons become better men and, eventually, husbands. According to Harvard Business School, “for men whose moms ever worked outside the home, they were more likely to contribute to household chores and spent more time caring for family members.” To me, raising boys who are smart, caring, and do their fair share is incredibly important, and it makes me happy knowing that my professional ambitions may advance these goals. What’s more, if you’re a working mother and you have a daughter, you may be interested to know that “women raised by working moms had higher incomes than women whose moms stayed at home full time,” according to the same Harvard Business School report. Strong, smart, independent women making a decent wage is something we all want for our daughters.
Not a parent or maybe your kids have flown the nest? You are still an active role model in the lives of boys and girls in your personal and professional orbit. Whether you know it or not, the work you’re doing, and the way you handle yourself impacts nephews, nieces, children of close friends and colleagues…you name it. If you see a child or teen who is particularly enamored with you, take the time to talk to them. You may be surprised to find an eager ear who is yearning to talk to you about what you do and how you got there. Opportunity is often right under our noses…we just need to know to look for it!
So on this Mother’s Day, while your kids are (hopefully!) showering you with love, flowers, and gifts, think about the gifts you are, or can soon be, giving them by owning your own business.