As moms in business, do we ask for permission more we need to?
I recently had a long email exchange to arrange a meeting with another busy mom in business. Back and forth we went to find a matching space in our schedule. We finally found one, with a caveat: she asked, “I’ll have to bring my kids, if that is ok with you.”
Of course this is ok with me. My youngest daughter has accompanied me to networking coffees, to visit suppliers, and to board meetings since she was a baby. This is the child born upstairs from my home office on a Sunday afternoon, who then lay in my lap on Monday morning as I called clients to confirm bookings.
So why did she feel that she had to ask for permission? Is it because we feel the need to choose between being a mom or being a businesswoman, and feel guilty when we have to be both at the same time?
When you run a business, you can’t switch it off. You can never truly call in sick. Being a mom is also a full time occupation. You can’t tell your sick child to not wake you up in the night because you are meeting an important client in the morning. When your child needs you, you have to be there. The same is true for your business – you have to be there for it. Which means combining both more often than we may realize.
When I started my company in 2001 there was an oft-quoted RBC report showing the rise in women entrepreneurship. The numbers keep growing. Industry Canada now says that that over the last 20 years, Canada has seen a 200-percent increase in the number of women-owned firms. How many of these are also moms, working to balance both? Regardless of whether you are a mom, or how old your kids are, shouldn’t we support all women in business?
And can this mean not asking permission to bring along your kids to a short, informal coffee meeting?