A Spanish teacher in Highland Park ISD, Highland Park, Texas, for 9 years, Katherine Herron started ¡Hola HP! tutoring so she could work while staying home with her kids. But when her business exploded, the demands of her new career threatened the lifestyle she planned for her family.
The Struggle is Real
More than 70% of moms work outside the home1 and face the ongoing challenges of balancing career and family. With three children under the age of 6, including a baby, Katherine admits that she suffers from “mom guilt.” She sometimes misses kids’ games or performances, and though she relies on her husband to do the weekly grocery shopping, they still don’t always get a home-cooked meal on the table.
We met Katherine when she realized something had to give and recognized the need for technology to manage her business.
Katherine’s Survival Tips for Working Moms
Mothers of all kinds, working or not, struggle with guilt2, and Katherine knows she’s not alone. To overcome, she is intentional about focusing on the ways she’s succeeding: Her kids know she loves them, and her business thrives because of hard work and determination. She also relies on the grace she receives from her supportive husband, family and friends, and her faith in God. While others may not have an identical support network, her strategies are reproducible:
Prioritize problem-solving & efficiency
Like many moms, Katherine has become a pro at working on the go. By using her smartphone hotspot to connect her laptop to the internet, her car becomes her “moving office,” she says. “Whether I am waiting for my son Luke outside of swim lessons or sitting in the carpool line, I use the time I spend waiting in my car to get work done.”
Sometimes, it’s easier to stay on the hamster wheel, day-to-day, than to carve out the time needed to find more efficient solutions. Investing her resources in class management software has paid massive dividends for Katherine. “Because of ACTIVE, the management side of our company runs smoothly and with little effort, giving me more time for the things I love: teaching and being a mom,” she says.
Ask for help
Katherine was pregnant with her third child when she made the decision to expand her company. Though she set out to do it all on her own, she eventually realized she needed help. These days Katherine’s husband cares for their children every Sunday while she goes to work. “This is the main day we ask for help from family and friends if there are birthday parties and carpooling that interfere with the baby’s nap times.”
Kids can help, too. Though it takes time and patience to teach children how to help around the house, it’s one of those investments that pays dividends later. You’ll also spend quality time with your kids while teaching them important skills and independence. Web MD offers a helpful list of chores appropriate for different ages.
Check out Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let Others Help, or view her TED talk.
Make time for what matters most
“Though I’ve poured my heart into my business, my family will always come first,” Katherine says. To act upon this priority, she works hard to completely disconnect when she’s home with her children. “I make my time with my kids meaningful.”
Popsugar.com says that disconnecting from devices means recognizing that you can’t “do it all.” Good times to disconnect are mealtimes, evenings, and the first hour you reunite with your family after work or school. Share your technology boundaries with the colleagues, family, and friends that you check in with most so you can relax and be present with your family.3
Katherine says that she’s learned to trust herself as a role model for her children. “I’m a person who works hard for what I believe in, and I know that success requires sacrifice. That’s what I want my kids to see in themselves, too.”