Transcript for Episode #144 ‘On the Frontier Between Business and Family’
Co-Host: Jennifer Uren
Co-Host: Scott Weaver
Date October 20, 2021
Intro: Welcome to the Arise2Live Podcast, episode 144. Arise2Live’s purpose is to bring clarity and perspective so you can have freedom in both your business and family life. Today we have a special co-host, Jennifer Uren, a Mom-prenuer and Host of the “This Mommy Knows” podcast. The topic at hand is the frontier between Business and Family life. This is a great topic because Scott and I are on the frontier like many of you listeners. Hope Scott is listening.Let’s get ideas on how our families and business can thrive.
Intro by Scott Weaver: Hello and welcome to the Arise2Live podcast. My name is Scott Weaver, the Arise2live business coach. Today we have a special episode and discussion with Jennifer Uren, the host of this Mommy Knows podcast. Her audience has a significant number of entrepreneurs, mom entrepreneurs, to be exact. Mothers who work at home in some sort of moneymaking business and still take care of the family at the same time.
Now, now, before you full time business owners with employees take off. Please hear me out. This episode is not about some warm, fuzzy, and cute mommy story.That’s not what the Arise2Live podcast is about. We are about facing real issues in the real world. The Arise2Live podcast has always had a family facet from day one and this is just another aspect of exploration in this area between business and family.
Our discussion today is on the frontier between business and family, as I just said, and the frontier of fathers and mothers dealing with that awkward but important areas of running both a family and a business while striving to thrive at both. Neither one of us has the answers or even the complete picture. But I think this episode will bring a lot of light and ideas for you to use. This interview was recorded at the podcast movement conference in a recording booth that was offered for free, and you will tell in the background noise.
We only have a half an hour time frame, and that included setup time. So I felt a bit rushed and not enough time to fully explore the frontier, but we touched on some great topics. Jennifer Urem’s podcast titles include Dealing with Overwhelm, Rhythm and Routines, and the Entrepreneur Family.
She is no stranger to the stress of business. In this episode, she takes the view of an entrepreneur mother and I take the viewpoint of a full time father and owner of a growing business. It is an interesting combination, as you will see and as I found out.
Well, let’s enjoy the episode.
Scott Weaver: Hello, everyone! This is Scott Weaver. Welcome to the Arise2Live podcast. I am really excited for today. I have co-host Jennifer Uren, and we are on site at Podcast Movement 21 here in Nashville, Tennessee. Also special, this is my shout out to HubSpot. We are using their professional studios. They offered it to people and I signed up, they’re not an official sponsor, but we are really appreciative to use these professional recording. So if it sounds a little different, that is what is going on.
This topic that we’re going to talk about is the frontier. It is the frontier between running a business and the frontier of being a family and for a lot of business owners, that is a challenge. How do you run a family and a business at the same time?
So Jennifer’s background is I guess, call yourself a mommy entrepreneur.
Jennifer Uren: Yep, mompreneur.
Scott: What we’re trying to do on the Arise2Live Nation is have a thriving business and a thriving family and that’s the extent, it could be friends or whatever, the relationship is really, really important. And the frontier’s unexplored, what is that area between business and family that just complicates things?
And that’s a very important topic. So she’s coming from the frontier, from one angle and I’m coming from the other. I’ll have to admit that this preparation interview is really got me nervous because I’m in the frontier.
And most of you know, I’m an engineer. I like, you know, a little predictable, but I’m not sure where this is going. So with that in hand. Well, Jennifer, why don’t you introduce yourself a bit?
Jennifer: Yes. Well, thanks for having me here, Scott. Don’t be nervous. It’ll be a good conversation. We’ll be fine. So, yes, I come at this from the family side, the home side. I’m a homeschool mom of five kids. We have three biological kids and then we had a surprise adoption of two more.
My husband has always been the full-time worker, but I have spent time working as a professional organizer. I love systems. I tell people, “I’m really lazy,” and so I like whatever’s going to make life easy, so I have less work to do, which actually makes me more efficient and therefore I do more.
So, so I have come at this with a similar approach of how do you blend business and family, especially for the moms who can feel a lot of mom guilt by wanting to be in business as well as raise a family.
Scott: And I’m coming from the business owner, whether it’s a man or woman in the business, looking towards the family. So, we are coming to this frontier from different.
Scott: You as the audience, what I’m asking you is to listen to the different attitudes that we’re expressing and apply that to your life.
We don’t know where you are today, but we know you’re somewhere and you’re going somewhere and so we really want to encourage you. We really want you to listen and apply what you have and to your particular situation.
Jennifer: Yes. Yes. There are general principles, but application is always very personal.
Surprise adoption of two kids
Scott: Well, before we get too far into it, a surprise adoption. OK, so, I have friends and I know people who had a surprise child along the way, but adoption, surprise adoption. What is going on there?
Jennifer: Yes. Well, the really short version is that one day I had three kids and then I found out that there was a child who needed a home. I thought I’d found a home for them through someone else. But it turns out God had intended for them to be in our home and he had a little sister.
So, one day I’ve got three kids. Two weeks later I’ve got five and six months later, the adoption was finalized. So when people say, “Hey, we want to adopt, can we talk to you?” We go, “We don’t know a thing about adoption,” because frankly, we don’t.
Well, I can tell you about what happens after an adoption.
Scott: It sounds like this process was so easy is like falling off a log.
Jennifer: Yes, (it’s funny how and) God knew my personality enough to know that if I had had an expectation of how the process was supposed to go, I probably would have been disappointed and frustrated. So I needed zero expectations. It just had to happen and it did. It just happened.
Scott: So as a mom, mom-entrepreneur, there’s two more mouths to feed.
Scott: There’s space issues. There’s the family dynamics.
Scott: And I suppose your husband did have a say in the adoption.
Jennifer: Well, it was his idea.
Scott: Oh, wow. Oh, OK.
Jennifer: So I tell him, I blame him. (Laughter) Now, he’s the one that said, “What about us?” And then we pursued it.
Scott: Wow. So, from your viewpoint, all of a sudden this change?
Caregiver and entrepreneur
Scott: What was going through your mind? How did that impact, you know, both you as a caregiver, but also as an entrepreneur?
Jennifer: So, two prevalent things that happened and the first was that I was already overwhelmed because I’m a people pleaser. So I’d say “Yes” to everything, but I never said “No” to things. So, I had a lot on my plate and this just about did me in. And so I had to step back one day. I started with laundry, actually. I stepped back and I said, “If I were my own client, what would I be saying?” and I work through a process to tackle laundry and get it systematized and manageable, and then that was under control. Then I did it with meal planning and then I did it with the calendar and I just step by step said, “I’ve got to get this. I’ve got to make life easy.”
Key Relationship in Life is With Yourself
The second thing that happened was that, as we learned more about trauma and relationship and connection, I started to really recognize that one of the key relationships in life is actually your relationship with yourself. So by only being mom and caregiver and squelching the gifts, the talents, the things that I had, I was actually doing a disservice both to myself and my children because I was not being a healthy model for them.
And so that gave me the space because I had the space by having systematized. I now had the ability to say I’m going to pursue the thing that gives me life and add that entrepreneurial side in a way that is modeling to my kids that they’re not the most important thing in the world, but neither is work, like I integrate them so that they inform each other.
Two Mistakes in Life
Scott: And which gets into something we talked about a little earlier, about mistakes that a lot of people make, both business owners. So one of the mistakes, I’ll come from the business owner, is this working way too much becomes workaholic, but when you’re running a company and you’re in a startup mode or growth mode, you got to put in a lot of effort. Sometimes it’s a harvest season or a planting season. You’ve got to work extra.
I usually say, “If you’re working harvest hours in wintertime, there’s a problem.” But putting work number one, does not lead to good results. And I think from your viewpoint, putting –
Jennifer: Putting family, children specifically, if you make your children the most important thing in your life, over your spouse, over other things, that’s just as much of a mistake.
Scott: OK, so two mistakes: working too much in the business, putting (you know) children, the younger generation first.
Scott: So why is this a problem?
Jennifer: Well, from my perspective, it’s because the kids grow up and they will leave. So you’ve only got so much time with them, which is why it’s tempting to put them, number one. But when they leave, if you haven’t invested in the other areas, those buckets are empty and there is nothing and I think this is why we see so much dissatisfaction.
Scott: What do you mean by buckets?
Jennifer: Your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your extended family, your personal interests?
Scott: So this is like these buckets are like emotional buckets and spiritual buckets,
Jennifer: The things that are going to be life giving and sustain you. We must take effort for results and so when I pour all my effort into my children and then they leave, I don’t have any results to show.
Scott: And that’s not a good thing. From a business owner standpoint, that’s not a good thing either, because there’s no profit there.
Scott: You know, from the business owner side, coming home to a house with pockets full of money and it’s empty or it’s full of strangers. Well, that is not succeeding in your life. It will have an impact into the business. You mentioned something about time factor, too, when you have the priorities backwards.
Jennifer: Yes. Is this the running out of time that we were talking about that? Yes, you just have you have so much time. So when you are focused solely on your kids, they’re going to grow up, they’re going to leave, but you can’t play catch up at the same time of investing in yourself or your relationship, because these are things that take the time to grow the roots for the fruit to come out. So by neglecting one for the other, you can’t put it off for tomorrow. You can’t say, “I will get to that when…” you have to learn how to do them together.
So one of the things I often say for the mompreneur is that every business “Yes” feels like a parenting “No” and then mom guilt kicks in. So what we want to do from both sides of the equation is say, “How can we focus so that we have the right priorities and the right time, but there’s space for all of it to happen.”
Scott: OK, you listeners. One of the things I want you to bring up to listen to Jennifer’s attitude, her approach. So let’s say you’re working in the business and you’re working really hard full time and it’s a planting season.
So you need to put in the 10 hours or 12 hours a day. Listen to what her concern is, what was her feeling? Because that will help you communicate better in the family life. Before we get too far down that road, what are some sources of why people start making the priorities in the wrong order? You know, putting kids or work first. Where does that come from?
Jennifer: Well, I think a lot of it’s external. We have this idea that success looks a certain way. And so when we focus so much on the outside, you know, how my kids are behaving, what my house looks like, what kind of house I have –
Scott: How much profit you have in your company?
Jennifer: Yes. You know, where do I bank, where do I vacation, all these external things? They’re empty shells if we’re not also taking care of the character, the relationship, all the other stuff and so it’s really a redefining of what is success. Is successful parenting, kids that go off to an Ivy League college or a successful parenting, kids who are able to engage well, you know, they’re good-
Scott: Good citizens in society.
Jennifer: Yeah, there you go. (Giggling)
Scott: But they’re also happy and they’re adapted to the society so they can help other people and receive. You know, if you went back in time about 150 years or 10 years ago.
Scott: Almost the whole population lived on farms.
Scott: And there was roles, especially gender roles. But they worked as a team. Right. Usually it was the man who out there trying to wrestle with the cows and the plow, trying to get it just straight. And then the wife was, you know, taking care of some of the animals and taking a lot of domestics.
They worked as a team for the success of the farm. Yeah, we are now living in 2021, where we don’t have to wrestle with both horses and oxes. We have a lot more opportunities in what we can do.
But those opportunities lead to separation.
Scott: We have like the business owner doing the business stuff and then the spouse at home is doing, you know, his stuff.
Communication Between Spouses
Jennifer: Yeah, well, and a hundred and fifty years ago, the success of the farm was directly related to the success of the family. Do we eat? Do we have a place to live? Right. So it really was you know, it was team centered.
But now we’ve got these separate worlds and it doesn’t quite as directly impact whether we eat or whether we have a place to live because that stuff is so easily attainable. But what we’ve ended up doing is living separate lives.
And sometimes I think it just requires having some opportunities to work, to get the same language, to have the same way to communicate. Sometimes that means that we have to say what our needs are, but we have to learn how to express these needs in a way that is translated into the other person’s language.
Scott: OK, so backing up a little bit and then we’re going to go forward, backward pretending we’re in some 150 years ago farm.
Jennifer: Yes. Yes.
Scott: So in the common language, the spouse can walk out the door. See that the ox is kicking and resisting the plow. (Yeah) Common language there. Right. But now, as we fast forward today, it’s so easy to be separate. You’re in the business, your thing to be successful, taking care of employees, trying to get profit. That’s one life and at home, the mom entrepreneur is living alone. Can’t step out the door and see what the other one’s doing.
Scott: So what I heard you saying is establishing a vocabulary, a common language between those two lives is a really good thing to have.
Jennifer: Yes. Yes. So part of that is recognizing, just like with a lot of personality things, you know, one of you might be introverted and one of you might be extroverted and you will never understand fully because you just can’t. How come the other person isn’t energized or why the other one is drained by the exact same inner interchange?
Scott: With other people or by themselves?
Jennifer: Exactly. But you can learn to have the language that says, “Here’s my need. You have to understand that here’s my need and I understand your need.” And so what we start to do there is “You’re working a lot of hours.”
And instead of approaching it to, you know, “you are working so hard and you never see your kids and da-da-da-da,” that we say, “Hey, I know you’re in a planting season and it’s going to be a lot of long hours. Can we block off Saturday morning so that the kids can go out and we can make breakfast as a family or we can go out for breakfast and do this thing together because the need is for us to connect with you more” and then you’re not guilting either side. You’re not shaming either side. You’re facilitating relationship in the midst of a business.
Scott: Building up instead of tearing down.
Scott: So if we used our bucket example we talked about earlier and say that was kind of the needs and emotions.
Scott: So let’s say the business has to grow to planting season. The business owner bucket needs to be filled (Right) as well as the family. Family members need to be filled too.
Jennifer: Yes. Well, (giggle)
Scott: OK. So if we don’t have time, if we don’t block out time, (right) then there’s no way to get that common vocabulary- what was going on.
But the other person is needing. (Yeah) And how to help each other out.
Jennifer: Well, it’s really a negotiation of needs. But doing it in that building up manner and not the tearing down, but what drives it is really two things. One is what is our common goal as a family? As a family, I would say you actually start first in our marriage as a spouse, because that sets the tone.
Scott: So translating to the business side, that’s a vision statement or a mission statement. So very important to know where you’re going.
Jennifer: Yeah. Then how do these things support or detract from it? If we’re saving for a new house, then eating out dinner every night is detracting from the savings so we can speak a common language. Not that you spend too much money and you don’t save enough, but we have a goal.
But then the second thing is the communication. I think too often we “save” communication (I’ll put that in air quotes) for the frustration, the argument. But if we can communicate along the way, whether it is a simple text, “I’m leaving the office now.”
“Oh, good. I know I can expect you in half an hour,” or it’s “This is what my day looks like.” We’re sitting down over coffee first thing in the morning.”Here’s the three appointments I have. There’s the three appointments you have,” and now we know what our day looks like. So I don’t interrupt you with a phone call and you don’t interrupt me with a phone call. I think it’s that common direction and the clear communication are two things that can really help bring those two worlds together.
Scott: This is good. I like it brought in some practical things because I always hear, “Communication’s good.” Yeah, but how do you implement in real life? So you talked about I’m leaving work. She sent a text, “Hey, I’m going to be late. When you leave, I’m going to be there.”
One thing in which I’ve implemented (well, actually, my wife implemented for me) is I’m allowed, when I first walk in the door, fifteen minutes of me time and downtime so that I can decompress. I can relax and switch my mindset.
Scott: Because I don’t know what it is. I don’t want to pick on the women out there.
Jennifer: Right. No!
15 Minute Rule After Work
Scott: As soon as I walk in the door, a lot of times, my wife and my daughter, they just come at me with all these problems.
Scott: Well, I just came from this huge client problem and now you come with more and I have to be honest, under those, I’m tired, stressed and then more problems come. I usually have a bad reaction and there’s times where I needed 15 minutes just to take off my shoes. But what was amazing, after it, I’m back to normal.
Jennifer: Yes, and that is so important because from the opposite side, your wife, your daughter, they’ve been waiting all day to see you and get your advice or it’s been a day and you have no idea. Just like she has no idea what your day was like and so that 15 minutes is actually just as valuable for her because she’s able to go, “OK, instead of dumping. I can think this through. I’ve assessed how he came home. Is he in a happy mood? Is he in a, you know? I can reassess how I’m going to communicate.” So that’s actually a gift to both of you.
Scott: Oh, wow! I didn’t think of that. Well, that’s why you’re on-
Jennifer: (laughter) That’s right.
Scott: It’s that extra perspective!
Scott: Because me as a business owner and as a husband, I’m like, I got to control my temper. I got to not show that I’m tired. I can’t do this. I can’t do that and I got to be really proper. So that’s what I’m trying to do as a self control, self awareness part and you’re going like, “Oh, wait, I saw that look on the face and he forgot to take off his jacket when he came in. OK, I’ll reassess how I was going to say something.”
Scott: Wow! This is cool. As a business owner, you grow, you learn how to deal better almost all aspects of life.
Your leadership improves. Your financial ability is improved. Delegating is improved. All that’s improving. One of the dangers for the business owners is they’re personally growing and growing and growing and the spouse at home does not grow.
Jennifer: Yes. Yes.
Scott: I’m getting a little passionate here because I actually had two friends go through a divorce because the husband, personal guru, one was very successful and the wife did not grow in terms of her own personal growth. All of a sudden, it’s like, “Wait, we are going to become millionaires in six months! I have never had a job that paid more than thirty thousand,” And they just can’t handle it anymore.
Scott: So what can the spouse at home, whether it’s a man or a woman, do things so they don’t have that gross separation in life?
Jennifer: Well, I think that’s part of what you’ve just pointed out, a real-life example, is that time runs out and the buckets are empty. They’ve hit that point because they weren’t- and so part of filling the bucket is it could be viewed as keeping up with each other, but it might be saying, “What are your interests? Yours are, you know, yours are business. Mine are photography and I don’t want to be a business owner with that. I just love taking pictures. OK, take the course, get the editing software, do the things that are going to help you continue to develop yourself,” and so it could be on par with business or it might just be that personal development in general.
Scott: So what I’m hearing is for the spouse at home, there’s usually going to be some kind of caregiving aspect of it. But there’s this personal skill building and maybe as photography or a volunteering in the community.
Scott: But without that extra skill growth, that personal growth, if that is suppressed, that is where separation between-
Jennifer: That’s stagnation and then that’s when you’re not because I think the other key is it’s not that I have to enjoy the things my husband enjoys and he doesn’t have to enjoy what I enjoy but we need to engage and encourage.
And so when I can say, you know, “Hey, did you enjoy going? Did you go do this? I want to encourage what you’re doing,” and he can do the same. It’s one of the reasons that I’m at this conference this week and he’s home with all of our kids.
Scott: We’re running out of time, but we only have 30 minutes in here and five minutes was taken for set up. I really wanted to get into this aspect of different viewpoints and how we can improve.
So I will quickly go over what I call personal leadership aspects of it that I want you to expand more than I do on your perspective at home.
Scott: I think self-care is the word used.
Scott: So from personal leadership, family and company needs a written mission or vision statement.
Scott: Communication style and the vocation. Just be intentional about what vocabulary you use and be empathetic and sympathetic if you can, but just trying to understand. So all those are part of being self aware for yourself and for others. That’s personal leadership. So, Jennifer?
Jennifer: Yes, and so I would say in the home, it’s very similar. So when we clearly know what our family goals are, when we’re investing, we’re communicating, and we’re building into our own relationship, into our relationship with our kids but then when we can use the systems to support it so that we’re spending more of our time moving forward and not maintaining. One of the things I always say is “If you can remove the bottleneck, do it.” So if I’m the bottleneck to the calendar, which I was, we moved to an online system that everyone could log into and so now my question is, when they say, “What are we doing?” “What does it say?” I’m not the bottleneck anymore.
We can now communicate differently. So finding those systems and tools so that you have freedom and not burden is really how that translates at home and then that gives you the ability to pursue the things that you want to be pursuing and growing as a mompreneur or a business owner who is not saying “No” to family or “No” to business, but is saying “Yes” to both.
Scott: Cool. I like that. OK. Wrapping up here, can you share kind of what you’re doing, how people can contact you?
Jennifer: Yeah. So my website is ThisMomKnows.com. I also have a podcast by the same name. You can find it at the ThisMomKnows.com/podcast and so really what I do is I help mompreneur find the systems, tools, processes that will help them focus their time so that they can really do well as both mom and entrepreneur and not feel like they’re sacrificing anyone or anything in the process.
Scott: Oh, that’s so cool. So I bring the tools into the business. Jennifer brings tools into the home. Go check her out. Use those tools in your business and at home. Oh, once again, I’m just so thankful that you and I met here at the podcast movement.
Jennifer: Yes, thank you, Scott. This was a joy.
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