Moms Are Awesome! and So is Supporting the Lifestyle They Choose!
By Alex George, Founder & CEO of Mountains Wave Marketing
Last week, I had the opportunity to be a solo working parent while running my digital marketing agency. I was interfacing with clients all around the world while juggling full time care of my son and daughter, both under the age of three. My wife went on a well-deserved girls trip with her best friend down to Baja, Mexico and I took on full responsibility of the kids for five days. My wife is a stay-at-home mom and we’ve always tackled parenting as a team. I’m grateful to work from home and have a somewhat flexible schedule so she isn’t necessarily tied to the kids 24-7. I take my daughter surfing, put my son to bed and don’t think twice about changing a dirty diaper. I’ve always been a hands-on dad and parenting has come naturally, but I underestimated the amount of additional work that goes into doing it all by yourself.
I was making lunch for daycare while feeding two kids breakfast, doing drop-off and pick-up from daycare during my full work day, giving the baby a bottle every 3 hours, playing with the kids, cooking a dinner all of us would enjoy, giving baths, bedtime stories, dishes, cleaning, the list goes on and on... Flat out, it's exhausting. What made it even more overwhelming was every free minute of my day being layered with multiple hours of team and client calls, emails to follow up with, and projects to execute on. I was up before the kids trying to get ready for the day and up long after they went to bed, finishing the day’s work. It was a fascinating challenge, and I loved (mostly) every minute of it, but by the time 10 o'clock came around I was ready to crash! And boy was I happy to see my wife return home, suntanned and recharged!
In reflecting on this experience, I thought about how truly challenging it must be for solo parents or even parents who choose to be more involved in the early years of their children’s lives. To juggle running their own companies or freelancing while maintaining that lifestyle in the home is a testament to time management, commitment and an ability to be present in the moment. Flexibility seems to be a key ingredient as well.
As I said earlier, I work from home and have a somewhat flexible schedule. These are two things that I value most in running my own business. If the waves are good, I can catch a quick surf session. If my daughter has a great daycare report I can take her for an afternoon ice cream. If my wife wants to go on a solo trip, I know I don’t have to outsource help. If I’m in the zone, I can do late night work sessions in my home office.
Creating my own schedule has contributed to the success of my business and the happiness of my family. I see more and more professionals choosing a lifestyle of flexibility. There are so many benefits to this kind of schedule. A lifestyle of flexibility lets anyone maximize their productivity in the things they focus on. No one wants to have a successful career at the expense of their home life and no one should have to choose between the two. Flexibility is a powerful tool for employers and employees. Solo parents have to fight so much harder to win at work and home and I see work flexibility as a tool to help them succeed in both.
The Mom Project is an organization that I am honored to partner with because its mission is to support mothers re-entering the workforce and connect them with employers who recognize the need for a work-life balance and offer flexible schedules. The female-founded organization helps mothers to successfully parent and pursue professional opportunities and stay engaged in the workforce. We have moms from the Mom Project as part of our Friends Collective and they take on work that fits their schedules and commitment level as life changes with children. Moms who aren’t ready to commit to returning full-time to the workforce can take on as much or as little as they want. It’s such an important and cool opportunity for moms.
Our Friends Collective was created with the idea of work-life balance and flexibility in mind also. Anyone can be part of the Collective and contribute their skills and time to our projects. We don’t restrict people to normal work hours and we let people commit to a workload that fits their lifestyle. This sort of flexibility makes a much more positive and engaging work environment for all the freelancers who I have worked with. Having this understanding with my fleet of freelancers has directly contributed to the success of Mountains Wave!
Again, as someone who single-dadded for less than a week, I want to acknowledge all the loving, hardworking single parents who juggle a household and a career simultaneously. The rewards can be steep, but so is the work. Hats off to you!