Three Important Boundaries for Mom Entrepreneurs and Their Spouses

When my husband, joined me in my business as a full-time employee, I initially believed it would be a breeze. We could do it if anyone could! We had already established a relationship based on mutual trust and esteem. We had good communication. Both of us had a strong belief in what we were doing. We recognized the need for mutual assistance with the children, housekeeping, and the business. We planned to account for fluctuations in income to minimize financial stress. However, I was still unprepared.

Here are 3 Essential Boundaries for Entrepreneurial Couples to help those who are considering working with their partner:

Clarify expectations at work and at home.

Nothing can prepare you for the blurring of boundaries and territory that will occur as you transition into a collaborative environment. When you marry your partner, it is likely that both of you have achieved success in your careers and have developed your own working style. You must learn to navigate a completely new dynamic in your relationship with your partner. Terry is very tech-savvy and he enjoys writing, whereas I am a people person who is a whiz at administrative tasks. Even though I probably should have expected it, I was nonetheless surprised by the difference in our work styles. I multitask throughout the day, whereas he prefers to focus on a single project. To be able to work well together, we had to make an effort to get to know each other on an entirely new level, as if we were newlyweds all over again.

The creator of the Boca Beth Program, Beth Butler, has some helpful suggestions for defining expectations with your spouse. “I prepare lunch every day, and we try to discuss pressing BOCA BETH matters. It is time for us to reconnect; he works from home representing a wine company, and I share my passion for second language learning with young children. A strange mixture, but it works! We discuss our plans for the following day so that there are no surprises, and I use this opportunity to ask for his assistance. I’ve learned to be very specific because I can’t expect him to anticipate my needs.

Schedule time for romance.

Most entrepreneurial couples report spending less time together than in the past. It is possible to spend the entire day working alongside your spouse in the same office without interacting on a personal level. How challenging is it to turn off your cell phone and go for a walk with your significant other? It is essential to schedule time for your relationship so that it does not become dominated by business. Terry and I plan in advance to sneak away for lunch or a Starbucks break. We have discovered that if we do not schedule these lunch or coffee dates, they are less likely to occur as we work to meet deadlines or complete a project. We have not yet mastered scheduling “regular dates,” but it is our next priority in order to maintain our close relationship.

Schedule time for self-care.

It can be surprising to have so much time with one’s partner. In your previous existence, they left at 7:00 a.m. and returned at 6:00 p.m., and you discussed your day over dinner. Now that you spend most (if not all) of the day with them, there is nothing new to discuss over dinner. Where is your time now? Karyn Fagan, the founder of Team Women, states, “We both have outside-the-home hobbies that we enjoy, so we have that necessary time apart.”

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