How to Master Family and Startup Life?!
Juggling all of the tasks that come along with building a startup is no simple feat. Adding family into the mix can sometimes make it feel like you are trying to do the impossible. Being a female entrepreneur trying to perfectly execute this balancing act can be difficult at the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more challenging.
Due to some of the circumstances created by the pandemic, such as home office, lack of childcare services, and school being canceled, work and family life seem to have all gotten mixed into one. A survey done by the German Startup Foundation concluded that 45% of parents have found the amount of available working time they have since the pandemic started has dramatically decreased.
In most cases, women take on a majority of care duties within a household. This means that new responsibilities created by the pandemic are often added onto women’s to-do lists, leaving even less time for work.
Our Grow F alumni community is full of women who are managing all aspects of an entrepreneurial life, including family. When thinking about the information above we were excited to organize a call with the alumni and discuss the question: How are you as founders balancing family and work life in times of COVID-19? This topic led to some extremely helpful insights coming from personal experience. We are thrilled to share the key points of the conversation, as well as tips and tricks to how some of the entrepreneurs we have worked with are successfully accomplishing this endeavor.
Alumni who participated in the conversation came from all different backgrounds and family situations, but still, the most common theme that everyone talked about when trying to balance work and personal life was creating boundaries. Setting boundaries can materialize as deciding on hours to ignore work notifications so you can give undivided attention to your family. Or blocking off a certain number of hours to be 100% focused on a task to ensure you are using time efficiently.
A second point made around this topic was the importance of respecting the boundaries of others. Everyone is working at their own pace and dealing with their situations in their own way right now. Being mindful of this can make everyone’s lives a little easier.
You’re Number 1
The only way you can take care of your business and loved ones is if you take care of yourself first. For our alumni self-care looked like keeping up with their exercise routines, eating well, getting enough sleep, prioritizing personal energy, and making sure household tasks are divided equally between partners and not falling solely on the female or only one partner. Setting your priorities as you, your family, and then your business is more crucial now than ever.
Every Situation is Different
There were many points made about how necessary it is to focus on yourself and do what you feel is best for you. There is no right or wrong way to make family and startup life work, finding this balance takes resilience but it can also be exciting and rewarding. Comparing yourself to someone who is ten years younger or older than you, in a different stage of their venture, or has a totally different family life is purposeless. Worrying about what everyone on the outside will say about your decisions will only make things harder. You have to set your own benchmarks based on your unique circumstances.
Benefits of Being a Founder
Every alumni in the call who is also a parent agreed that they have less time in their schedules to spend on their businesses since the beginning of the pandemic. While there was a large discussion on the difficulties and struggles entrepreneurs are going through, all of the alumni also acknowledged the positive sides of being a founder in this current situation.
Running a startup means you are your own boss, this has perks when it comes to balancing a tricky schedule. For example, You can fit your work hours into your family life time commitments, you choose which tasks need to get done right away and what can wait, and you can focus simply on creating finished results instead of worrying about reporting how you got there or how many hours it took.
Employers Being Part of the Solution
During the discussion, points were also made about how employers have a key role to play in enabling women to be successful in having a family and a prosperous professional life. Many barriers arise in the workplace for women who want both. Helpful steps employers can take to remove these barriers include:
- creating flexible working schedules that are more conducive to raising children
- having supportive maternity and paternity leave measures that allow employees to easily come back to their positions
- providing ways for men and women to stay in touch with their work communities while on maternity or paternity leave
- Developing a working environment that provides necessary amenities for new moms and their children (e.g. kindergarten or babysitters, breastfeeding and changing stations, resting rooms, easily accessible office spaces, risk monitoring at workspaces)
Female Founders Community
Throughout this call something that became apparent to us here at Female Founders is that one of the best resources anyone can have for figuring out how to balance family and startup life is being a part of a supportive community of entrepreneurs who want to share their experiences and knowledge. This support system is something that we are providing in our Grow F program. Being able to not only learn from your own trial and error process but also from others is a huge asset.
If you’re a female entrepreneur interested in joining the Grow F accelerator apply for our next batch starting in spring 2021 here!