A Momtrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Through the Covid-19 Pandemic — We Can Do It

I’m truly sorry that we need to go through this pandemic, but together we can.

Momtrepreneurs are moms who are business owners and either work from home or at co-working spaces. I became a momtrepreneur about 3 years ago and I absolutely LOVE it. I also wear the proverbial momtrepreneur shirt with pride; who cares if it’s a label. It’s who I am!

After having kids about 10 years ago, I started feeling the pressure of corporate America culture against moms. Companies do NOT make it easy on us. I clearly remember having to negotiate a lot during a job interview regarding hours, for example. In order to pick up my daughter before her preschool closed, I would need to work from 8 am to 5 pm, instead of the company’s 9:30 am to 6:30 pm regime.

What struck me was that, according to corporate culture, it was MY problem that I had to worry about if a 30-minute drive would be enough time to pick up my daughter. I didn’t think I should have to explain my responsibilities as a mom, just to rationalize getting that job. Why should I put up with dirty looks from coworkers because I was leaving at 5 instead of at 6:30, “like everyone else?” Yet, all these “problems’’ were not mine, they are society’s problem in that we value corporate culture over our families. But enough of my complaints, let’s get to a more productive discussion. Sorry for the outburst!

My wish is for the pandemic to be gone when I wake up tomorrow, as if in a fairy tale. Until then, we need to get together and collaborate. We all have a laundry list of things to do today — work, homeschool kids, cook, do laundry, clean, manage our partners, order groceries, pay bills and on and on — if we thought we were busy before, we’re now 10x busier.

This post has a few simple ideas to put in practice, and hopefully help you continue being the awesome entrepreneur you are. In a very small way, this post is my contribution to the community.

Connect & Center Yourself

Start, or join, a Mastermind group

A Mastermind group is a peer-to-peer entrepreneur group to share advice and support. The term was created by Napoleon Hill in his 1937 book, “Think and Grow Rich.”

It’s quick and easy to create one; here is how I started mine.

As a founder, I always felt isolated and had no one to talk with about day-to-day challenges. Advisors and mentors are essential for any startup, and I highly recommend them, but as a solo founder, I needed support on a regular basis.

When the pandemic hit in mid-March, I invited a group of female business owners to start a mastermind group. Every Friday, we meet and discuss the challenges in our businesses during pandemic times, brainstorm solutions and share resources we find along the way. There are thousands of online events today, but there is nothing better than a small, cozy group of people you respect and trust to talk with.

The trick to running a smooth Mastermind group is to stick to the agenda, otherwise, people won’t feel they’re getting anything out of it and will drop out. There are many articles and videos online explaining how to set up a Mastermind group, but it comes to basically this.

  • Invite 10–15 ladies, expecting to get 5–8 (people are busy and can’t commit sometimes)
  • Schedule your first meeting, share introductions, and ask for volunteers to be in the “hot seat.”

The hot seat is when we dive deep into someone’s challenges and discuss strategies. Instead of having one person in the hot seat per meeting, I usually have 2–3 people for 10–15 minutes each. If they ask to be in the hotseat for the next meeting, you have a winning group!

Take 1 hour per day to breathe

You have heard this advice many times, I’m sure: “Make sure to take time for yourself.” Easier said than done, especially with so much going on lately. But it’s true. Workout, meditate, chat with a friend, have some wine, watch a movie, read a book. Do whatever makes you unwind and take a break. We don’t know what we don’t know about this crisis. How long will we be homeschooling our kids? How long until we can go to the beach again? I hope that by the time you read this post, the stay-at-home orders are lifted. This advice is good for life; take a break.

Everyone pitches in!

We spend so much time arguing about small details in life. (I’ve been married for 16 years, I like to think I’m getting better at it.) This is not the time for small arguments; everyone needs to chime in. We’re living in unprecedented times, and we have no idea how this will affect our finances, our psychology, our future. How all this will impact our kids psychologically?

If you are a couple and both work full-time, it’s hard. If you have kids 5-years-old and younger, it can feel almost impossible (my sister is in this boat). The same is even more true for single parents.

We can do this!

Work with your partner to share household duties and responsibilities. One partner, for example, can wake-up very early and get her day started, while the other can take their time getting to work. Rotate so that both have a chance to sleep in and still handle everything they need. Make a schedule, stick it on your refrigerator and hold everyone accountable, including the kids.

Speaking of the kids, this is a great time for them to start helping at home, or helping more. Children that are about 5-years-old can make their bed, clear the table, and pick up their room and toys. 4th graders and up should, for instance, be able to handle their own school work, with some guidance. Pinterest has a ton of ideas, or access the Divide and Conquer Household Chores, article at WedMD.

Practical Resources for Homeschooling

Because of my past EdTech working experience, I’m always tuned into the latest and best solutions in the market. Here are a few that might help you figure out what homeschooling is all about. (I have no relationship to any of these organizations, nor am I getting paid by any of these companies.)

Outschool

Outschool is a fairly new company and one of the best resources to keep kids busy with extra curriculum activities and school support during pandemic times. Outschool connects teachers (Leaders) and students (Learners) through an online classroom and interactive video chat. For a flat classroom fee or a subscription fee, K-12 students can take online class in a wide range of subjects including science, art, mindfulness, english, social studies, life skills, and more! Classes and content are created by teachers. See Outschool.com Takes Education Out of Schooling, by Forbes, for an additional review.

KhanAcademy

KhanAcademy is a non-profit educational organization founded in 2008 by Salman Khan. It has thousands of videos and practice problems covering K-12 math and selected topics in science, history, business, art history and test preparation. Many teachers are already using it as reference material to enhance and/or replace in-class instructions. A wonderful resource in case your child is having difficulties on a subject or just needs extra review.

IXL

IXL provides Pre-K to 12 practice problems in math, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish tailored for state and Common Core standards. Kids can try for free, but they’ll be limited to a small number of problems per day. My kids have been using it on and off for school support for about 3 years. Last year, I signed up my two kids for math and language arts for $19.95 per month. My kids love getting new badges while doing the exercises and awards at the end of a lesson. I love the fact that it has both a recommendation section, which challenges the child as he or she progresses, or I can pick a specific topic. For more information, see the CommonSense Media review.

WideOpenSchool

Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that “provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children,” partnered with 25 organizations to create Wide Open School, a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids. You will find activities ranging from academic topics, to emotional well-being, special needs and cooking. Another trusted and well curated resource for free.

Conclusion

I believe many wonderful solutions and new businesses will come out of this pandemic. Entrepreneurs are creative people by nature; we are more resilient than we think. This is the time to reinvent this world and take care of it, just as we would take care of our families.

Start a Mastermind group, take a break and hold everyone at home accountable. We will prevail.

We can do it!

Please feel free to share this story if it had any impact on you. To connect and receive my upcoming posts, visit www.adrianatt.com.

Stay home, stay healthy!

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Product Management leader and consultant. Entrepreneur. Helping startups and SMBs to validate market needs and delight users with a fearless product strategy.

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Adriana T. Torresan

Adriana T. Torresan

Product Management leader and consultant. Entrepreneur. Helping startups and SMBs to validate market needs and delight users with a fearless product strategy.

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