On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, we have a special treat. I’m talking with Megan Flatt and four other Mama CEOs about how they find flow between business and family and keep things sane during the holiday season.
Since we’re talking about work and family, let’s introduce ourselves, what we do and our kids ages. I’m Mia Moran. I help people plan their days. It means spending a lot of time in front of the computer while my 15, 13, and 9 year old are in school. It’s busy, so slowing down is hard for me.
With me today:
- Megan Flatt is a Mama CEO, a business growth strategist, and a planning pro who helps mom entrepreneurs grow and scale so they can reach their business goals and be present for their families. Her kids are 7 and 10.
- Stacy Spensley is a coach for parents of young kids through coaching classes and community. Her kids are 5 ½ and 2 ½ and she’s having a third in a few weeks.
- Sara Barry is a content strategist, client success manager, and a writer. She uses words to help people make connections. Her kids are 10 and 8.
- Erika Tebbens is a consultant who provides sales strategy for passionate motivated women entrepreneurs. She shows them that sales doesn’t have to suck. Her son is 14.
- Sonia Ruyts owns a brick and mortar yarn store and is a coach to creative small business owners. She has kids who are almost 4 and 9.
I love that we have a variety of kids and ages from 0 to 15. We have kids not in school and in school and home schooled. We have a range of business experience here. We also have people who love the holidays and others who really down play it. Hopefully something will speak to you.
We talk about:
- Setting boundaries—Try setting boundaries around your work time, even if you are not good about it during the rest of the year. Schedule some down time. Think about doing one thing a day (or less as suits you). Talk about boundaries around gifts with your family. Consider the “a want, a read, a wear, a need” criteria to simplify things.
- Setting priorities—What’s most important to you and your family? Ask your kids what they really want to do. Make sure those things have a place and then let the other things go. Let
- Putting your big rocks in place early. Get your work schedule and the kid’s school schedule on the calendar. Know what things have to happen at certain times and what things you want to make sure happen. Get those on the calendar and let other things flow around that.
- Knowing your business. Is this a time to push for your business or a time to scale back and set yourself up for a strong January? For retailers, it’s a busy time, which can affect how you schedule other things.
- Choosing things that are meaningful to you. Sara creates an Advent calendar of holiday books that helps her slow down and read with her kids and get in the holiday and giving spirit. Erika has something they do over the course of the winter to extend the feel of the season and does some volunteering. Sonia loves taking her family to her big, local light display and getting silly. Stacy gets Christmas jammies every year.
- Slowing down. Find out the way of slowing down that works for you, which may mean setting a day of home/down time or make choices about what you do or focusing on teaching kids about baking rather than pushing to get everything done. It could mean choosing to celebrate with extended family on a different day instead of trying to run around to many places on the actual holiday. Consider pacing the excitement by opening gifts as they come—then you can put things away when the shine wears off and take them out again later.
- Deciding what you want for you family. Getting really clear with yourself and your spouse with what you want for the holiday season. Then work with other people, like grandparents, who may want to see you.
- Stacy Spensely, Semi-Crunchy Mama
- Sara Barry, Content Strategist & Copywriter
- Erika Tebbens Consulting
- Sonia Ruyts, Creativity Coach
Doable Changes from this episode:
- GET YOUR BIG ROCKS IN PLACE. Get any big work days on the calendar. Pick the key things that you want to do as a family during the holiday season. Put those on your calendar now. Get used to saying no to other things that pull you out of the holiday feel you want.
- SCHEDULE SLOW DOWN TIME. Schedule down time for yourself or your family. That might me a Sunday when you all sit around and read Christmas stories or setting aside every Friday for a holiday movie night or choosing not to go to another holiday party. Take an afternoon to browse in your favorite book store instead of braving the mall. Spend time baking cookies or crafting. Cross something off your list undone and take a holiday stroll. Mark off some time on your calendar for this and hold it sacred.
- SET BOUNDARIES AROUND GIFTS. We talk a lot about scheduling and being busy, but there is also an overabundance of “stuff” this time of year. Set boundaries about gifts and share them with family members. Consider going with just “a want, a read, a wear, a read” or encouraging family members to share experiences, like tickets to an event or a museum membership, instead of stuff. Think about when you want to open gifts—will you do it all on Christmas morning? Will you open them at different events throughout the season? Will you open them as they arrive at your house? Decide and communicate to your family.