Most work at home moms start home based businesses because they want to be home with their little ones. And I was no different: I left a great corporate job to be around my two children.
But then, you put a lot of work in your business, and it works! Yes, you are getting orders, and making some money, but the flip side is that you don’t have as much time for your little ones. How do you then balance your time? Do you still put your children first? Or do you go for the “just a minute honey!” line and hope they can’t tell time?
It happened to me: one day, during my first Christmas season in business, I was busy with an order for 150 gift baskets. It was hard work, and stress was running high. The deadline was approaching, and I had no time to stop to even straighten the room.
There were boxes with product everywhere, there were empty boxes, and there was gourmet food everywhere: a true disaster area! And just then, my 4 year old daughter (now 11) came to me with her big brown eyes in tears: “Mommy, I am bored and I am lonely… Can we play a little?” What could I do? I was alone at home with her, and if I stopped to play, there was no way I could finish my order in time.
So, I thought quickly, on my feet, of how I could play with her and work at the same time. And I came up with the idea of building her an office right next to mine out of used/damages boxes. She was ecstatic! And SHE did all the work! I told her where to go and get the boxes, and made room for her by me desk. She built a desk, improvised a chair, and even had items to sell in her store.
With that in place, I was able to continue my work uninterrupted most of the time. She loved watching and copying me: when I picked up the phone to talk to a customer, she picked up her imaginary phone. When I needed to make a basket, she made one of her own. When I calculated the price for my baskets, she picked up a pencil and calculated her own prices.
In time, her office evolved: the old, damaged boxes were replaced with actual wooden drawers. Inventory I wasn’t able to sell became her store’s inventory. She even got an adding machine, and a couch. Now, her office is her favorite spot to play. And it’s not just an office anymore: it’s an entire building with different shops. She has a restaurant, a bath and body store, a book store, and a toy store.
The store has helped her in many ways:
– she learned about maintaining and ordering inventory
– she learned about phone etiquette
– she learned addition and subtraction
– she learned organization skills
– she learned to be creative (little bits and pieces of ribbon, irregular baskets, empty containers have become great assets to her business)
Could YOU be using your business to teach your kids business basics while having fun? I am sure you could. Just take some time and think how your situation can be used to plant some business seeds in your child.