My youngest daughter who is 5 just started playing soccer last week. She was so excited. Her grandma took her shopping and together they picked out matching cleats, shin guards, and a brand new soccer ball. She was so excited to finally join her older sister in the sport. For days leading up to the first practice, it was all she could talk about.
So imagine my surprise as we got to the field on that first day of practice when she was overcome with fear and hid behind my legs while the coaches introduced themselves and the girls to each other. As the coach called them over to get started , she refused to budge and tears started streaming down her face. I noticed my emotions begin to flare, there was that feeling of being judged by other parents for my kid who refused to go on the field but also the protective mama instinct creeping in who just wanted to keep my child safe and was doubting if this was such a good idea..
I looked down at my 5 year old and really focused on her. I saw in her face that she just needed time. I got quiet and pushed out the thoughts of being judged and was the parent my child needed me to be at that moment. I pulled the coaches aside and told them to please not rush her. I could tell they didn't agree but that was okay
My daughter and I stood out there on the field together for 45 minutes of that practice. I asked her every once in a while if she was ready to go play but I didn't force her. She and I kicked the ball a bit together and I just patiently waited. Finally during the last few minutes of practice she slowly joined the other girls and started to play. She did it in her own time and in her own way.
Gifted kids are complex and often intense. They can be intellectually light years beyond their peers and emotionally years behind. We know this. The thing is after we have read a few books about gifted and attended a few talks- we want to know more. We want to go beyond giftedness and learn exactly what to do, which words to use, what specific actions to take. These kids push us so far out of our comfort zone as parents, there was no training for this job. Learn to trust yourself.
I understand that parents of gifted kids need specific tools that we can begin using to help us better support our kids in living their lives. How do we respond when they have a meltdown, what specifically do we do when they refuse to listen to us, how exactly do we manage their huge emotions.
Life with gifted kids can be a daily emotional and mental struggle. Our kids are often intense and demand a crazy amount of our energy. Things that could go so smoothly for a parent with a neuro-typical kid, can cause an uproar in a family with gifted kids. I get it, I have 4 of them myself!!
My advice is simple but not easy. Get grounded. Do your own work. Stay calm yourself. Be gentle. Listen to your child. Get down on their level. Use less words. Meet your child where they are. Be present and engaged. Practice patience. Fill your own bucket so you can fill theirs.
Learn to see your child - beyond giftedness.
Some days I wish that I could just focus on being a mom, I wish that it was enough. Honestly, I really love being with my kids. We explore new places every week, visit museums, the library, cook together, go on amazing field trips and have a tight knit community of friends, I don't feel the desire to send them off to someone else or have them away from me all day. Being a mom is incredibly fulfilling, and yet somehow I want more.
I was a coach and owned a thriving organization for women entrepreneurs for over a decade before I started homeschooling. I met privately with clients helping them start and grow a business. I taught them how to get more clients and make more money working the least number of hours.
We worked on their personal lives too - I helped them learn to be more organized, overcome procrastination and face their fears. I helped college students figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, and out of work middle-aged men find work. I loved it all but the pull to be home and do one thing well was always there.
It's been over 5 years now since I closed that business to begin homeschooling. It's been an incredible journey and one I would not trade for anything but now I want more, again. Lately I have been asking myself, what if A Spacious Life includes having something for myself and teaching others in return?
Starting a business is at once exhilarating and exhausting. There are the long hours contemplating what it will look like, brainstorming ideas, and watching it unfold. There are the deep conversations and revelations. Ooh...this is my sweet spot. It is as if I am coming home once again.
I am learning that it is okay to want more and that it is good for my kids to see me as an entrepreneur. They are watching and picking up little bits just like they do with everything else that I teach.
If you are still with me , maybe you are wondering how you can make a little extra money for your family and all those fun adventures you want to go on? Or perhaps you have a great idea and you feel called to see it come to life. You can do this! We can do it together.
As homeschoolers we are very busy. Our days are full. My advice is to start with laying a really good foundation. Clear your clutter, plan your meals, develop a plan, eliminate your tolerations. I have spent the last year getting ready to start my business doing those things because I knew I would fail if I tried to add it into my already chaotic life. It may not take you an entire year but taking the time before diving in is key. If you can, don't skip this step.
Next you are going to have to figure out when you will work. For us, we homeschool in the nooks and crannies of our days. We are not sit around the table learners most of the time but we do have scheduled activities that happen at predictable times. I have found that getting up way before my kids do works perfectly for me to write blog posts, journal and read. I also work a few hours a couple of days a week meeting with clients both over the phone and outside the home. Generally I spend 1 day on the weekend working as well. The main thing is to be consistent but with enough flexibility so that you don't stress yourself out.
Once you have a solid structure in place you can get started!
1. What type of business do you want to own? What lights you up and gets your creative juices flowing? What do you do best and what are you good at? What you are selling and who you are selling to? Owning a business takes an incredible amount of dedication and drive but when you love what you do, it fills you up in a way that nothing else can!
2. Decide what success looks like to you. Are you just wanting to make a little extra money so you can take the kids on field trips or are you wanting something much bigger. Perhaps you want to start a non-profit so you can give back to the community. Get really clear about what your goals are from the very start so that you can stay on track.
3. Create a business strategy. This doesn't have to be set in stone. For now, you just want a general guide so that you don't lose interest over time. It will help you stay focused on your goal. I find that many business owners fail because they start and stop one thing and start another before ever gaining momentum. This can be a general one page outline to get started. It will include the things you want to focus on, your target market and your business mission and vision. You can even find templates online for a one page business plan.
4. Do market research. Take the time to gather information, find other businesses that are similar to yours both in person and online, talk to prospective customers, see what people are paying and make sure there is a demand for your product or service,
5. Make it legal. This includes choosing a business name and registering it as a DBA( Doing Business As) . Determine your business structure- decide if you will be a sole proprietor, partnership or a corporation (LLC, Non Profit etc) . You may also be required to get a license in your city. Register for State and Local Taxes.
6. Get Paid. Figure out how you will collect money. Will you collect cash, checks or take money on paypal, square etc. There are pros and cons to each so choose carefully. Once you start making money you can open a business bank account and keep careful records.
7. Create an Online Presence. Pretty much every business these days needs to have a website. Will you hire someone to make one for you or will you do this yourself? Will you have a blog? Or a facebook page? Begin thinking about the ways in which you can market yourself on the internet.
8. Find Prospects and Get New Clients! Start spreading the word about your new business. You can send a grassroots marketing letter to your contact list or facebook friends letting them know about your new venture. Be sure to follow up with those who express interest.
Of course, starting a business takes time especially when your kids are home and you are not able to spend 8 hours a day on your idea. No need to get overwhelmed, Remember that you don't have to do this all in one month or even one year. If all you can do is work on your plan a few hours a week , you are still getting closer to your goal. Stay positive, keep moving and above all have fun!!