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Because it needs to be said

BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE SAID

I try to send positive vibes out across socials. It might put a smile on your dial, or maybe warm your heart just a little, or for those few seconds, simply take your mind off everything else. But I’m feeling for working mums right now. It’s been a hot topic in our She Will Shine weekly meet-ups and our online support group, and I think this is a conversation that needs to be had.

Because I’ve been seeing more and more of our members suffering from increased stress and anxiety. Not only are they trying to keep their own businesses afloat in these challenging times, they are also looking after kids 24/7 and in charge of all things home learning, plus so much more. Mental load has increased ten-fold.

 

If you’re a mum you already were at capacity before you even knew what COVID-19 was, so how are you coping now?

 

Yes, these are unprecedented times but systematically the extra load continues to fall to women.

Which brings me to this big question… Why is it that when a male works from home, it’s “expected” that he just moves his laptop to the spare room and shuts the door behind him? And when it happens to women, the laptop comes out onto the dining table, plus breakfast, lunch, dinner, the never-ending snacks, the boredum-busting, school communication, home learning, general logistics and up-keep of the house… Did I mention that she has also has work and clients to attend to. And don’t forget, “Kids! Keep the noise down so we don’t disturb dad in the back room.”

 


So where does the blame fall? Surely there is someone who can solve all our problems and fix this.

 

Is it the partner? Shouldn’t he see what’s happening in his own home and help out. The partner’s employer? Surely they understand parental care falls 50% on the shoulders of each parent. How about society? The topic of gender equality isn’t a new one. Or even ourselves? We did structure our lives this way. Is now the time to ask, or even demand, more help?

It’s such a huge issue and it needs to be looked at holistically as we all have a role to play in changing the status quo. But it’s a big one and I fear it will take longer than any pay-gap to fix. So in the meantime Ladies I beg you, please take care of you somewhere in that non-stop day of yours. Where technology was once frowned upon, now it may just be the saviour you need to fit in a few deep breaths and a hot cup of tea.

 

And if you need someone to talk to, the She Will Shine community are here for you.

You don’t even need to explain it to us. We get it.

 

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network-for-women-in-businessAbout Danielle Price
With over 10 years small business experience, Danielle Price has created an Australia-wide network of female small business owners at She Will Shine. An expert networker and elevator of female business owners, Danielle facilitates connection and support between like-minded women in working towards a common goal of creating a successful business around personal responsibilities and life. Danielle’s passion is sharing and giving a voice to the real stories of Australian women in small business. Learn more about Danielle here.

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Is There Such A Thing As Maternity Leave When Running Your Own Business?

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS MATERNITY LEAVE WHEN RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Maternity Leave in Small BusinessA gentle reminder as I aimlessly drive the streets around our daycare centre after dropping off my number two baby for the first time – no matter how ‘experienced’ we are, those first steps towards returning to work are extremely difficult. I’m checking my phone every minute, expecting a call any second, desperately wanting it to ring so they can tell me she can’t cope without me!

Clearly it is me that can’t cope well without her along with the reality that it is time to get back to work. I’ve been quite comfortable playing mummy at home, working on my business when time allows and keeping up enough activity to keep things rolling along. I’m noticing clear differences between returning to my ‘regular’ job and running my own business. The fear is still there. The awesome thing about returning to your own business is you know exactly why you are doing this (even if the how and where is still a little vague).

To all the fabulous She Will Shine Members out there I want to share with you some of my tips for taking parental leave in your own business. I trust this will spark more conversation between our fabulous Mammas to provide even more insight and advice on this topic!

Stepping away from your business to give that new bundle of joy some mamma time:

Start preparing early
I know this sounds completely logical but those first three to four months of your pregnancy can be full of ups and downs, ins and outs and mixed emotions all whilst keeping your poker face to the general public.  You then make all of your announcements and a couple of months fly by blissfully enjoying the wonderful conversations and changed interactions with your clients. Then reality hits – you will be officially ‘on leave’ soon!

Consistently communicate with your clients throughout your pregnancy about your pregnancy
Yes it is perfectly appropriate to share this news with your clients, especially if your clients don’t see you in person regularly. Time flies and your pregnancy is not top of their thoughts, being prepared and communicating regularly with your clients will ensure they are prepared for your leave.

Know that it is ok to change your mind
Again communication is critical, your clients will understand if you need to pull back on the reins. Make sure you have them covered with a solution for continued service (see my first and last points).

Start outsourcing
This was the biggest long-term benefit for me (whilst I did this later than I would suggest for others). Review how you actually spend your time in and on your business and prioritise your time and duties. Treat your business like any other company and ensure key resources are being used effectively. Get your outsourcing relationships in place well before you go on leave to ensure everything is running smoothly and you are happy with how the work is flowing.

Plan for your return
Who knows if your return will go according to plan, knowing you have a plan and utilising your time in the best possible way will give you peace of mind.

These are my top tips for a return:
• Be adaptable. Golden rule of parenting and returning to work!
• Don’t assume your baby can/can’t attend networking events. Simply ask the organiser and respect their answer.
• Don’t hide your baby. Respect your client and let them know your baby will be with you.
• If you plan to use childcare put these arrangements in place very early. Again be adaptable!
• Create good rituals that you maintain. Having a bath and washing your hair the night before you work or network is not only relaxing and refreshing it is critical to your time management the following morning!
• Go shopping. Yes you are likely to need new clothes that accommodate the changes in your body and circumstances (especially if you plan to breastfeed in public).
• Go easy on yourself. Don’t forget to take time out to relax.

Don’t underestimate the power of your network. My network community were extremely supportive, continually keeping in touch, offering practical support such as meals, driving, and a shoulder to laugh or cry on. As a Mum and a woman in business – thank you to my community for supporting my return to work!

Charma Voller is a return to work coaching expert (but not perfectionist). Find out more on her website charmavoller.com.au

 

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