ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

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admin Lynette Palmen AM is the Founder and Managing Director or Women's Network Australia. She started WNA in 1990 to offer support, inspiration and services that would inspire women to succeed in their career and business endeavours. WNA is now the Nation's premier networking organisation for business and professional women. T: 1800 052 476.

admin has written 48 article(s) for us.

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Forget Balancing – It’s all About Blending

July 19, 2008 | admin

Many are often surprised to find out that I am a single mother of two. The youngest, Ms Maddison, (who by the way runs the place) has just turned 11. She’s a born fighter having arrived early at just 28 weeks. As only another mother could understand, running Women’s Network Australia between one hourly feeds was a challenging and exciting adventure.

Added to this already hectic time in my life, I also found myself suddenly single within a few weeks of her birth, so it just followed that Maddi’s cot took prime position at WNA’s Head Office. But the real point I am trying to make here is that there is no easy or lucky path to success – everyone has a story to tell and experiences to share on how they make it all work.

Strategies I’ve used to stay on track as a MumPreneur:

1. Forget the words ‘balancing work and family’ and start using the word ‘blending’. Balancing sounds like at any moment you’re about to take a big fall. Do whatever it takes to blend your family and your business. Both of my children have grown up with the office being an extension of their home. And if your clients don’t get it – get new clients.

2.  Share your money. Hire a cleaner for at least 4 hours a week, get your lawn mowed and have your car cleaned monthly and work like a dog to ensure you never have to give up these extras. Hired help can provide justification and save your sanity on days when your life is falling apart and you’re questioning what on earth ever possibly made you think you could run a business. Yes – we all have bad days!

3.  When hiring your staff for your business make sure they are kid-friendly and at least one has a background in childcare prior to their employment with you. This person’s skills will come in very handy for all sorts of sticky situations that arise in the workplace and with your life in general.

4.  Don’t restrict yourself to the options used by others to manage kids and business. And have no guilt. I want my children to remember that their mum wasn’t always right, but she was never afraid and always willing to have a go.

5.  Believe in yourself and think laterally. Surround yourself with extended family and friends who believe in you and your business idea, people who are like-minded and excited and willing to be part of your success. And always believe you are special enough for them to want to be involved and gain enjoyment from seeing you do really well.

I could go on but I won’t. It will all be in my book – Must write that one day!

  • http://www.foodsafetydirections.com.au Karen Noble

    Hi Lynette,
    What an inspirational woman you are! Its amazing what we can achieve when we keep our focus on the goal.
    Karen Noble

  • Kellie Carrier

    Hi Lynette,
    I agree that’balancing work and a family’ is easier said than done! I have been in the process (for the past 6 months)of opening my own ‘part time’ business as a Virtual Assistant. I already have a full time job and 4 children under 15.(including a child with Down Syndrome). Sometimes I wonder if it would be worth having my own business, considering how long it is taking to set up. I must say though, you have given me a bit of hope that I might just succeed with my goal. Looking forward to reading that book of yours!!

  • http://kathiethomas.com/category/kathies-comments/ Kathie Thomas, A Clayton’s Secretary

    About time too Lynette – having a blog that is! Great to see.

    I have to agree with all of the above and even though I’m not a single mother, working near my kids was still very important to me which is why I chose to return home to work. I definitely have to go with number 2 above as well. I’ve had a cleaner, ironing lady and a gardener for many years – it helps keep me sane!

  • http://www.inspiredhoney.com Natasha Crestani

    I always think about the fact that I am building a life – as opposed to a business. For me, business is all about blending in with everything else – kids, friends, hobbies, rest etc. With my business, Inspired Honey, our family are making memories, not just making money.

  • http://www.adminbandit.com.au Nerida Gill

    Lynette, I do love your approach of blending rather than balancing. It has the feel of a chocolate marble cake rather than a seesaw. :-)

  • http://www.unicorngraphics.com.au Karen Curran

    I totally agree with the comment, “Do whatever it takes to blend your family and your business.” My child (and step-children) have grown up with the home office and business being an important extension of their home. Now adults, they all have a solid work ethic, but are always there for each other when one is in need. Blending everything is the only way we know – if we tried to balance it all we would add more stress to our lives. Instead, we enjoy each day on its own, no matter if it’s work or time out. Without regrets. (You can’t change the past.) If you love your work or what you do, it’s not really work! Each day can be special.

  • Kim Davis

    Thanks Lynette, it is good for all mothers to remember we are all trying to achieve the same thing. I work in the entertainment industry and my children (now 11 and 15) have grown up helping Mum out in the office. They know that for us to have the fun times, we have to do the hard work. For them coming to work with Mum is exciting and something we do together.