I used think that ‘Mum’ prenuer groups, Mum targeted business networks were unnecessary and frankly quite limiting in terms of who they targeted and attracted. I saw them as counter intuitive as it shouldn’t matter who we are in business in terms of our status, family situation and gender, just that we’re in business and trying to achieve our goals. But then I was in a meeting with a chap who is possibly young enough to be my son 😮 and I realised that we’re not all the same…
In this meeting we were talking about ways to be more productive. I mentioned that I’d started listening to Podcasts (Janet Murray ones are particularly good as well as the ones from Shopify callled TGIM) while I run. I don’t run far or fast but it is my little bit of calorie burning head space so I want it to be productive as well as then I can feel like I’m doing 2 things at once. It was mentioned in this meeting that listening to podcasts on double speed is a great way to get more listening done in half the time, not tried that yet and I guess you have to tune your brain into the concept, but I will try it.
I happened to say that it’s all well and good reading and listening to books about how to be more productive but that while you’re absorbing this information you may not actually be being productive and that somehow you have to get that time back. It was suggested to me by this very young chap that I get up half an hour earlier each morning so that I can read for that time and that way I get more out of my day….!
Those of you with children will understand and picture the look he got when he suggested this! We were in a friendly meeting and I wanted to keep it that way so I refrained from saying any of the things I’m going to say now.
If I got up half an hour earlier every morning I’d be waking at 5:30am, I would not be productive in that half hour, I would not wake and instantly think ‘oh how I’d love to read a business book about how to be more productive or how to build my business plan’ I’d be thinking, ‘for the love of all things decent I want more sleep, I need coffee, lots of it’. The moment I am awake I am ‘on duty’ for other people. I sneakily use the 10 minutes before everyone knows I’m awake to catch up on social media and work out who I need to contact with what message that day. To check through my emails and remove all the spam telling me I’ve won a lottery I didn’t enter and that they can get my website ranked at the very top of Google.
Pretty much from the time my eyes open to the time I leave the school car park after drop off, my time belongs to other people, child, husband, dog. This isn’t a problem and I’m not complaining about it all, it’s just the way it is and it’s the life I chose, one that I’m very happy with but not one where you can find 30 mins spare on a morning. If I so much as think about sitting down to get something work related done a little voice will say ‘muuuuummmm, I’ve got to take 24 buns in today for a bake sale, can we make them now!’ This could be at 7:30am so after swearing, sometimes under my breath, sometimes not so much, I get the eggs, flour, butter and sugar out and we bake 24 buns, decorate them and try to find a suitable container for them (that’s usually the really tricky part). The little voice has also been known to tell me at 8:30am that she wants to be a pack up not a school dinner that day or that she has some violin practice to do (that’s never pleasant but before alcohol has been consumed it’s particularly ear drum shattering), or that it’s PE and she can’t find her PE kit. All the while the dog is following me around wanting to be wherever we are and then wanting whatever food we have, to be cuddled, let out, play sock pull – I’m sure she’s trying to ‘do me in’ so she can have my side of the bed! The husband has taken himself off to his office at this point so at least he’s out of the way.
If this is the situation with one child, I can only imagine (in a comedy sketch kind of a way) what’s like for parents (I do include dads here, it’s not just mums in my opinion) who have two, three, four or even more children to sort out, organise and generally shepherd out of the door each morning – for them to find the time to go to the loo let alone anything more time consuming must be so hard so the idea that they can find time to read books on how to be more productive is a little insulting.
I’m sure the young chap didn’t mean to be insulting, condescending or patronising (he really did irk me) but it made me realise how little about a life where you and your business cannot be your sole priority, some people understand. It made me realise that the Mums groups work because the members all ‘get’ the fact that whilst business and deadlines are important, when your child needs you, your business has to take second or even third place. Parents business groups are populated by people who have other priorities in life and we all, as parents, understand that. We know that when ‘that call’ comes from school you have to drop everything and be there for your child. We also completely buy into the fact that whilst it is good for children to see their parents working hard to achieve their dreams for them and their family, it’s crucial that the children know that they’re are more important than any business meeting.
On that note, I’m off to join lots of Parent networking groups now and apologise for my previous flippant lack of understanding!
Owner of Lubylu® Ltd