Blurring The Boundaries

Joanne Bolt: 

Raise your hand if you entered the real estate career industry because you perceived it as totally flexible, and the perfect stay at home mom career to bring in extra income for your family only to discover that it’s kind of like running a quickie mart that’s expected to stay open at all times.

Oh yeah, and toddlers are somewhat like that too right? You’re always ‘on call’, and suddenly find yourself as housekeeper, home chef, midnight diaper changer, and snack manager. The overwhelm that being a mom is, compounded with running your own business as CEO is sometimes a showstopper. Can I get an amen here?

Being a mom literally is the busiest job you’ll ever hold, without being paid. So just how do you accomplish staying at home with your little ones AND create a real estate business worth having? If you’re feeling the desire to do both then lean in and take notes.

It’s ok to feel this way. It’s totally ok to have a desire to both stay at home and mom hard, while also having a business that provides you personal satisfaction and financial freedom. Understanding some of the realities of that is a good place to start. So let’s dig in.

Here’s the biggest thing to understand. The boundaries are often blurred when you work from home. You’ll find yourself both baking cookies AND having a phone conversation with a co-agent on the intricacies of a contract. Or you may find yourself keeping the laptop up and running on the bed next to you as you fold a load of laundry because you’re also reading through emails to see what you need to respond to. And trust me-there is no harder worker than a mom during nap time for her toddler. Give me a good 2 hour snooze fest and I’ll give you some solidly written contracts, emails written, negotiations made, AND client appreciation event planned.

When it comes to juggling career and being a present parent, you have to be willing to embrace the blurred lines and not beat yourself up that you can’t do it all perfectly. I give you full permission to understand that done is better than perfect, especially when you’re trying to raise tiny people and grow a business AT THE SAME TIME. I recently did an entire series on niching down, and if this episode is resonating with the season of life you’re in, you may find yourself niching down into the stay at home mom arena, or the mom of young toddlers because you yourself are in that phase of life. You can empathize and understand where those clients are, and they’ll give you greater grace if you find that you have a toddler in tow during a showing.

Understand this concept as well: your tasks will fill your time. If you have 8 hours in a day to work-you will. If you can only work during the pre-school hours of 9am-2pm then I can safety say you can and will get the same amount of work done during those hours. It just looks a little different. There were many days waiting in the pre-school carpool line that I knocked out hand written notecards to my clients, because I knew that I had that time sitting there with nothing else to do, and I also knew that the minute the kids got in the car-my day would turn to chaos.

I encourage you to create a family schedule with your partner or spouse so that you can work out the logistics of when you need to work outside of the home vs. inside the home. Set the expectations with your client or team of those times and abide by them. My husband Jeff and I had a rule when our children were smaller that since he traveled alot during the week, the weekends were mine. What we meant by that is that if he wanted to go play tennis on a saturday, and I was showing homes, then it was his responsibility to procure a babysitter. It wasn’t mine. However, if i needed to go show homes during the week when he was out of town then it WAS my responsibility to grab that sitter. We had the same rules for cooking dinner or cleaning the house. We blurred the lines on who did what based on best rules of availability for our household. That shifted as the kids grew up of course, but it was a good way for us to learn to work together as parents, and not totally compartmentalize work separate from parenting. We tried our best to not treat the real estate career as the easiest one to shift around, simply because it wasn’t the W2 paycheck in our home. Each person’s career was equally important, but we had to adjust our expectations of what that meant when it came to responsibilities of running a household.

One thing I love that COVID brought into our world, is a renewed sense of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in the business world. It’s so refreshing as a stay at home entrepreneur to know that if I’m on a Zoom call and one of my kids comes running into the office-totally ignoring my shut door by the way- that most likely the person I’m speaking to wont’ be irritated. Everyone had to adjust our expectations of working from home and that really hasn’t gone away even as the pandemic has loosened its stronghold on us. Once again, those lines between the image of a successful working mom and that of a successful stay at home mom has blurred, allowing you to really embrace both at the same time.

I’ve spoken with and mentored lots of stay at home mom turned Realtors during my career and one thing I’ve found they all have in common is this: If they truly learned to be diligent with their time, and create consistencies in their every day activities then as their little ones grew up-so did their businesses. While they may have started in Real Estate having the capacity to close 4-6 deals a year they were able to grow that into 20-30 per year as their families aged and the responsibilities shifted in the parenting aspect. Think of it this way: If you can work a full day during the pre-school hours than just what can you accomplish extra when they start riding a bus to and from school? Or can make their own lunches during the summer? Fold their own laundry? It’s ok to give them responsibility as they grow up so that you can take on more at work. It’s also teaching them how to ease into the adult world too. So that’s a bonus!

If you’re struggling with creating this business while being a stay at home mom, and need to find your tribe I encourage you to look into our upcoming Chic Clique. It starts October 3 and you’ll find lots of besties who are new in the industry looking to connect, while also learning some great foundational aspects of growing your real estate empire. And don’t be shy or afraid to slide into my DMs on instagram. It’s where I”m the most active and I love to chat and see where you are in your journey.

But if you’re listening to htis episode when it drops, it’s thursday afternoon and i’m heading out for a happy hour with my local besties. You know where to find me next week for all the entrepreneurial goodness. Same time, same place. Cheers for now