The one thing my ex told me when I started my internet business was “you can never be successful at business always putting the children first.” It is a weird thing when I look back on it for a husband to say to the wife who is raising his children and managing a household of 6. Maybe not so weird since he was thinking of himself and how me working a business would take away from the time I could cater to him. Just weird to me because that is not the way I think. I am a helper personality so it figures that I would end up marrying a taker. How different my life would have been if he had just said, “hey, I know that managing a business is a lot of work and I will support you and help with the house and kids as much as I can.”
But I didn’t have that husband. But I used his belief that I couldn’t be a success simply because I would drop everything if my kids needed me, to push me to work harder to prove him wrong. And he was wrong, for 15 years I managed to raise the kids, be there for them, run them to activities, appointments, school, all while being supported by the business he told me I could never be successful at. And, I did this as a single mom, because yes, I made the choice not to stay with someone who didn’t believe or couldn’t support my dreams (not the only reason, but top 5).
In hindsight, I realize he wasn’t completely wrong. He was wrong that it can’t be done, and he was wrong to not be supportive, but it is very difficult to do if you are a single parent or a parent who has no one who is there to support you and help with the kids. I have met a lot of moms and dads out there who start businesses and are highly successful. And they can put their family first most of the time. But almost everyone of them has a supportive spouse. When meetings arise, or a client needs something now, or crisis happens and you need to act fast, having a supportive person to help with the family makes a huge difference.
For single parents, starting your own business is a huge investment in time. Being a single parent is also a huge investment in time. So you literally have no time to spare. Leisure activities and fun stuff for me was time spent with the kids. That was how I found my joy each day. Friendships are difficult because they take time and unless you have a friend who is also single and understands your hardships, it is difficult to find the time.
So yes, while starting and succeeding at your own business is possible while putting your children first, you have to be ready for the sacrifices that comes with it. You have to decide if the sacrifices are worth it. For me the answer is yes, without a doubt.