I’m constantly meeting amazing women and mothers through my business Go to Girl Social Media & Networking. Well lately I had the pleasure of meeting and then interviewing Zita Cameron on the If Only They’d Told Me Podcast. Click here and listen to episode 103 to listen to our 30 min podcast (audio) all about running a business while raising 5 kids. And read on for a ‘guest blog’ by the lovely Zita where she shares a bit of insight into a week in her world… xo Nat
Guest Blog by Zita Cameron
Mother of 5 and owner of Infuzed Business Group.
The first two words that came to mind when I think of a typical week for me is “Chaotic!” & “Crazy!” Chaotic because you can’t really set a strict routine with 5 kids- you have to be flexible. You have to learn to go with the flow, roll with the punches (and sometimes literal punches…by accident of course) and Crazy because you need your “energiser bunny” on HIGH POWER to be able to manage the fast paced demands of 5 sets of voices. Definitely NOT one day is the same. Some days I find that everything runs smoothly –almost like clockwork. The kids get up early, I’m up early, the lunches are made –they’re all dressed and ready to go by our usual “leave” the house time. The pre-schooler is in a good mood and you have EVERYTHING done. Then other days, you’re leaping out of bed because you slept in, kids haven’t eaten breakfast and its nearly 8.30am, lunches aren’t done, fights are breaking out and no one is dressed-including ME. And multiply that by 5! YES- it’s pretty mind blowing and incredibly intense when I have a morning like that. The good news and the one constant that keeps me going is you learn to expect much more from your children, which means on a practical level –you are doing MUCH less for them as they have to learn to do many things by themselves. You wouldn’t cope otherwise. It would be like “book me in the mental institute now!”
Balance & Priorities
I learnt this quickly when we transitioned from one child to two. No longer available to “jump” at the “one” child’s need every second they call – I had to balance and prioritise who needed me most. This is very much the same with more children-it’s just your window of availability gets smaller and smaller –which means your efficiency with tasks need to get quicker and your processing of their needs has to get better. Phew, felt exhausted just typing that. Which leads to the next thing in my typical week. It is typical for me to feel “exhausted”. I am certain that this is common for most Mums in business so I am not going to profess to be some extra SUPER Mum where everything is easy and I have lots of energy. I have at least one day a week where I say to my family “I’m on annual leave!” I tried this about three years ago, didn’t quite take then but now I think they are finally getting it. It means I’m not on call for the “little things” just the “BIG” things…like… is it life-threatening? Is someone really hurt? Yip, I will sub-in on that! In fact many times my husband and I would “sub in” on conflicts between the children because the other was calmer or better equipped to handle the situation.
Speaking of “life-saving” –when we had three children under three we spent the most part of the day saving them from harm…it felt like a really CRAZY time of my life because here I was typing away at my PC then when the kids leave the room I’m jumping up to see where the kids were at. At that time I always felt like I did things in a random manner and it was incredibly difficult to establish a routine that lasted. Fortunately , everything has seasons and that difficult time didn’t last forever.
Some of my most treasured tips for Mums with “lots” of kids or 4 plus kids:
- LET the housework GO –don’t get caught up in the need to have everything perfect. There will be plenty of time to do it later-and chances are the kids will mess it in 1 min flat anyway. Set a goal of how often you would like to see the house clean each week-currently for me it’s once a week. Doesn’t always happen but at least I am not stressing about it on a daily basis.
- Give your kids LOTS of cuddles, kisses…listen to them and say “kind, loving” words to them as frequently as you can. I tell my kids I love them every day-I cuddle every single one of them every day and I always have an available “lap” for 1, 2 and even 3 at a time every day. I focus on quality time and don’t beat myself up about how busy I am or how frequently I am at the PC.
- DON’T do everything! Find HELP or ACCEPT help! Say YES to the neighbour, friend…your kid’s friends-whoever is willing to HELP –(provided they are trustworthy)-LET them HELP!
3 tips for being in BUSINESS with kids:
- When you have the energy –DO the business!…you never know when the kids might get up in the middle of the night sick, vomiting or need extra attention. This may mean you get up at 4am or stay up til 2am working- when my children were babies I found this worked for me-it was quiet, I had energy and my efficiency on completing projects was much higher without other distractions.
- Get a great routine with your childcare ie nanny, friend, mother in law-use people that your kids are happy to be with and they flourish. At one time I had home-based care from 9.30am-2.30pm. Monday to Thursday. That was my work time-I would be super-efficient in that time it was great. Make sure you have a back-up system because it can be really tough if you don’t.
- Pace yourself-if you have had a chaotic morning or day where you feel “shattered” (my other favourite word). Clear your day! People will understand and chances are you are better off being fresh and energised as business people like to work with others that have passion and energy.
And one last final comment…PLEASE don’t EVER give in to feeling guilty about being a Mum in business! You have been created with special gifts, talents and abilities –if being a working Mum enables you to operate in those then pat yourself on the back for recognising what is good for you and your family. I know I am a better mother because I work. Yes, I do mess up and some days a little on edge due to work stress but I see work as a “break” from my kids and kids as a “break” from my work. And it is with that balance that I enjoy working and I enjoy my treasured children.
Zita Cameron is an amazing woman and mum who I’m so thrilled to have crossed paths with! If you’re a parent of ‘lots of kids’ we would love your comments and tips! If you’re running your own business, definitely check out Zita’s business Infuzednz.