How to Balance Parenthood and Entrepreneurship
Welcome back to another faith episode. Today, I’m going to talk to you about one of the greatest sources of guilt and conflict for an entrepreneur, or at least for me as an entrepreneur: balancing parenthood and entrepreneurship.
Here are some of today’s key takeaways:
- Love is spelled TIME.
- The time we invest to show our love isn’t just the time we spend with our families; it is also the time we invest in our businesses to provide for our families.
- When we build our own successful business, we can generate passive income and have that freedom to spend more time with our families.
The Parent Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, there can be conflict with where we want to spend our time. We want to spend as much time as we can with the people we love such as our children and spouse, but we also want to spend as much time as we need to build our organization so we can provide well for our families.
If we don’t spend enough time working on our business, we won’t be able to provide for those people we love. If we don’t spend time with the people we love, we miss out on building strong relationships. How can we balance it all?
Zig Ziglar famously said, “Love is spelled TIME.” One thing that’s helped me is understanding that the time I am investing to show my love isn’t just the time with my children and my spouse; it is also the time I’m investing to provide for my family.
Hopefully, someday they will see that the investment of that time in my business allows them to do things such as go to college and pursue their dreams. Sometimes I fall short on spending enough time with my family and it gives me so much guilt. I would always rather spend more time with them.
A Message to My Daughters
I have three daughters: Miriam, Emma, and Becca. To them, I want to say thank you. Thank you for every minute that you’ve let me spend with you. I want you to always know that those are some of the most treasured and precious moments of my life.
I want you to know how it often eats me. I would much rather be with you and spend time with you. However, I realize that a dad can’t spend 24/7 of his time with his daughters, even though he would really like to. I know that it’s also a dad’s stewardship and a dad’s responsibility to provide and protect for his family. I need to do that by working hard and earning the funds to provide for you not just today, but in the future so that you can have the future you dream of and that God has in store for you.
Why I Pursue Entrepreneurship
My daughter, Miriam, once asked me, “Dad, do you really have to go to work?” I said, “Yes, I do. Because I have to pay for the house payment, the car payment, and the food.” Her response was so sweet. She said, “Dad, do we really need all of those things?” In her mind, she wanted time with me more than she wanted any of those things.
A secret guilt of the entrepreneur is feeling bad about that time that you’re investing to try to build a future for your family. You want to spend every waking moment with those people that you love. That’s also one of the most beautiful things about being an entrepreneur. When we hit our goals, we can generate that passive income and have that freedom so that we don’t have to be in that business 24/7. We can have more time with the people we love and that is my dream.
Being an entrepreneur is creating something that can give me the freedom to provide and have the time I want to spend with the people that I love. That is why I’m doing it. That is the most important reason for me that drives me to do entrepreneurship.
How to Make Time
Between the time when an entrepreneur is creating their business and when they’ve achieved that spot where they’re able to work a lot less hours and have a lot more time with their family, what do we do?
One of the times where I’ve done a good job at finding balance is the time right before my oldest daughter got married and my second daughter went off to college. I made a goal to take each of my three daughters on a date once a week. I tried to schedule it into my calendar and even though I wasn’t perfect, I did a pretty good job of meeting my goals.
I allowed my daughter’s to choose something they wanted to do as much as possible during those dates. We did things such as knife throwing, playing a unicorn card game, and going and getting my daughter’s favorite pizza.
Entrepreneurs, listen to me. I encourage you to sit down with the people you love the most. I encourage you to schedule regular one-on-one time that is sacred and precious. I would encourage you to put it in your calendar so you don’t schedule anything else on top of it.
Then, you can work with that person to find the things that they are most passionate about. If they love playing unicorn card games, play unicorn card games. If they love going snowboarding, go snowboarding. If they love movie and pizza nights, do movie and pizza nights. Find the things that are meaningful to them, that they’re passionate about, that will be the greatest deposits in their emotional bank account.
Another bit of advice that I would give to entrepreneurs is to create traditions. For example, my daughter’s and I have a tradition that we like to go to Star Wars or Marvel movies on the opening weekend night. Another thing that we’ve shared together a lot is pizza and movie nights. My wife and I have a tradition where we regularly do Friday night date nights.
Stephen Covey, in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about this as putting the big rocks in first. As a famous example, he gives people big rocks, little pebbles, and sand. Then, he has people put them into a container and try to get them all to fit.
With the first group, he has people put the sand in first, then the little rocks, and then the big rocks. But they don’t fit. In the second group, they put the big rocks in first, then the little pebbles, and then the sand. They shake the container afterwards so all the sand fits in perfectly.
This same thing is true with entrepreneurs who are trying to juggle their business with spending with their family. One of the ways to balance everything is by putting the big rocks in first. As entrepreneurs, we can schedule those date nights with our wife and our kids. We can schedule in the family game nights. We can schedule family movie nights. We schedule whatever is most important to us first, and then we let everything else fill in around those.
Remember, love is spelled TIME. Let’s schedule it in and make time for the things that truly matter.