what homeschooling and working from home taught me
Homeschooling Has Taught Me A Lot About Women Entrepreneurship
Sixty-six days. That’s exactly how much time has passed since our normally chaotic household flipped to a whole other level of chaos thanks to the global pandemic that apparently no one saw coming. My daughter’s principal sent a notice that school would indeed be closing, but learning would continue online with the hope that kids would be back in April.
This was also the minute when I was sure...I mean REAL sure that my sacred sanity would be lost by that Friday, if not that next day. As the wife of a public health and medical professional, I knew April was very wishful thinking and I needed to get my whole mind right because going back to school was going to be more of an August-thing—definitely not an April-thing.
I immediately found myself staring into a void with the words of Florida Evans from Good Times on repeat in my head. You know the quote from the episode when James died? Yep, that’s the one.
As an official boss lady who was right in the middle of launching a business—Yaaaaassss GirlCode—and the mother of a boss-lady-to-be who were both going to be in the house, ALL day, EVERY day, with a dog and cat who hate each other, for who knows how long, I knew the word challenge was going to be an understatement.
Fast forward to today—THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! Hallelujer!! And, Amen! We made it through and I’ve had the all too elusive headspace to reflect and discover just how we did it AND how we both managed to get our hustle on during a pandemic.
We made it to the other side and so can you.
Here are four simple tips to get or keep you going.
Patience is Not a Choice
Now you know the “P” word had to be number one. It is hands down what I learned the most and here I was walking around thinking my patience was decent. I think we’ve all found out the hard way that there’s patience and then there’s corona-patience. Both my daughter and I had to practice it on a minute-by-minute basis. Whether it was our scarce WiFi when we both had calls, or two girls who are just tired of looking at the same walls, or the lack of newness, or her needing my attention right when my meeting started, or just the fact that momma is NOT a teacher; we both had to just breathe, laugh or blast Bruno Mars.
The same is so true for womentreprenuers. We have to be patient with the business, with clients or customers, with vendors, with our success and most importantly with ourselves. Things are uncertain for everyone, which means that those products we thought would launch might be delayed or that contract we thought was a shoe-in might pull back. Let’s give ourselves (and our brains) the time to figure that next boss move out.
“Stay patient and trust your journey.”
Develop a Plan, Not a Monument
When Covid hit, the very first thing I did was develop a schedule and the fiercest school binder you have ever seen. I mean it was color coded per each subject and everything. We used it every day and I made sure to store all of her work in it to avoid missing work issues. We had a schedule and a routine, but there was rarely (and I mean rarely) a day when we actually followed it. Some days, we doubled up on math. (Side note...can we just have a moment of silence for elementary math?) Other days we didn’t have a full school day because basketball and the spring weather was calling.
But in the end, we got it all done and she excelled as the boss girl she is. The same goes for us boss ladies. Most of us have a plan and wake up knowing exactly what villain we’re about to slay that day.
Yet, there’s almost always a different plan that pops up. Sometimes you just have to go with it and understand that another plan isn’t necessarily a bad plan. It’s just different and may actually get us closer to that goal than we thought.
Busy Doesn’t Equal Productive
I repeat. BUSY DOESN'T EQUAL PRODUCTIVE. If you’ve been homeschooling, I’m sure you’ve had at least one late night when you finally sat down from the day, completely exhausted only to question how you could be so tired when only a quarter of the school work was done. I was certainly busy trying to manage and get it all done, but my productivity (and hers) was passed out on the living room floor.
We may be doing all the things, but are we doing the right things that are actually positioning us closer to our goals. We have to keep asking ourselves, Is this a must do or a nice to do? It might be nice for me to explain the difference between the denominator and numerator for 10th time, but is it really a must-do right now. No ma’am...it is not.
It may be nice to go ahead and take on who we know will be THE most difficult client because times are tough, but must we really take on the extra unpaid work, unnecessary late-night calls, and late payments we can surely expect from that client? Again…no ma’am.
Discovering our creativity wasn’t so much about what we did, but about how we actually did it. When I realized that both my standard workday and her standard school day were now up for grabs, it actually became freeing. We definitely followed that plan from tip #2, but we did it with flare. Fridays became work from bed days, which became celebrations that we made it through the week. They also prompted some all-important and unexpected heart-to-hearts that I will cherish forever.
As we handle our business and hustle hard, being creative is imperative. We may be use to taking every single work call in our office, but would it hurt to take that call on a patio or in a quiet park. You never know where that next idea might strike or what new client you could meet outside of that office. Maybe you’ve always sold your products to a certain target market, but what about that totally different customer you’ve never thought about. Could repackaging or pivoting your message take you beyond your goals?
Yes, this pandemic has been devastating for the globe and we certainly weren’t prepared. Despite that, I’ve definitely learned some lessons and I’ve had the best time slowing down and growing closer with my family while launching a business.
What about you other boss moms out there? Comment below and share the best thing you’ve learned over the past few months.