Juggling the True Values of Home Office Entrepreneurialism

Julie Lenzer Kirk, author The ParentPreneur Edge, and her daughterPlease welcome Julie Lenzer Kirk, Author, The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business(John Wiley & Sons), Speaker, Consultant.

Julie and I share way too many similarities as women entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, author, speakers & consultants! After a truly empowering power networking chat, I asked her to write this guest post for something I feel passionately about…how to truly be successful in your balancing act as mom and profitable home based business owner.

Little did I know that she’d share even more empowering & touching stories to make her point clear as day!

Please share your attention & link-love to Julie; and start chatting below in the comments to agree, disagree or “feel” the value of every word she penned below.

Is that glass or rubber you’re juggling?

As a woman entrepreneur who also happens to be the mom of two beautiful newly-teenage girls, I’ve had my share of opportunities to make choices between work and life.

Sometimes the decision I had to make was clear: my dad had been diagnosed with a recurrence of lung cancer (after being cancer-free for 9 years!) on Christmas Eve. He lived 1500 miles away and even though we were throwing a big New Year’s Eve party at our house, I had to go. We called off the party and I went and spent 3 days just hanging out with my dad where I got my last picture taken with him. In the following 6 months as he courageously battled cancer, I flew back and forth for a total of 9 weeks away from my then 8 and 6 year-old daughters, but I have no regrets. Since I was self-employed and had hired good people to keep working, I was able to take that time away from work and my business not only survived but we had our best year ever. At the same time, I was able to negotiate a $250,000 contract with a new customer, some times on the cell phone at the hospital while my dad received his chemo treatment. He didn’t mind – he was an entrepreneur, too – and it made him smile to see our success.

But to me, that time with my dad was pure glass. Had I dropped that ball in my great work/life juggling act, I would have never been able to recover it and, as a result, never been able to live with myself. You see, I had realized that some balls we juggle are rubber. They bounce and we barely miss a beat. This one wasn’t going to bounce.

Fast forward 4 years when I somewhat unexpectedly received a contract from a major publisher to publish The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business.

Don’t get me wrong – getting published was a lifelong dream that I shared with my dad. When this opportunity presented itself, however, I had admittedly not thought much about the business I was going to build around it.

I had taken some time off after cashing out of my business and while I continued teaching, I was enjoying my time with my kids. When I looked at my opportunities, my original thought was to become a full-time speaker/trainer, but then I started looking at what that really entailed. The lifestyle of an on-the-road professional speaker was not conducive to spending a lot of time with my kids. And frankly, since my daughters were entering their teen years, I felt strongly that THIS was a critical time for me to be around for them, even more so than when they were little. I was in a quandary – what do you do? Which opportunity is glass and which is rubber? How do you choose?

I decided to look for alternative ways to promote my book while limiting my travel to a reasonable level. In doing so, I developed some guidelines for determining which of the balls we juggle are glass and which are rubber:

1. Get clear about your core values.

I had created my first company all around having flexibility in my life and being able to spend time with my kids. That had not changed. If I was going to be true to what I really stand for (and preach!) I had to walk the talk and make decisions authentically.

2. Ask yourself: will this matter in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

With my daughters being at what I consider to be a critical point in their growth where they are getting the opportunity to APPLY the lessons and values we’ve taught them, do I really want to play the absentee mom NOW? While I can’t completely stop them from making bad decisions, I can be here to support them and provide guidance. That is hard to do from a hotel room miles away.

3. View a decision holistically – will the opportunity come again?

I received an exciting opportunity to be a guest on a daytime TV program, but the taping was the day we were leaving for our long-planned, 2-week family vacation to Italy. We were flying through NY so I could have made it work, but when I mentioned it to my husband, he flipped. We had been incredibly stressed out and this had the potential to start our vacation out from an even more chaotic position. I had to look at the big picture – was this going to be my ONLY opportunity to get on national daytime TV? No, I didn’t believe so and besides, I felt strongly that I had to walk the talk and make the right decision for my whole family. Turns out, another opportunity came up and I tape a 6-minute segment for national TV next month!

You need to recognize that some things can bounce – and then let them bounce without guilt. When you really think through the criteria listed above, you may be surprised at what becomes rubber that you were sure was glass. My daughter’s second birthday was rubber. I had a business trip that took me away on her actual birthday but with her party planned for that weekend, she never knew the difference.

What criteria do you use to prune your commitments and your schedule? How do you prioritize between home and work?? [Please share your answers, questions, thoughts in the comments below! Let’s get to Your True Values of Home Office Entrepreneurialim today!]


  1. says

    Thanks for the warm intro, Ponn, and for allowing me to share my story with your readers! I look forward to hearing comments and new ideas about how others are making the balancing act work.

  2. says

    I’m a man. For me, if my wife want to being an entrepreneur, I’ll support her, even if cost any time to do her work, i still agree. In fact, the work/life balance can be modified by family members i think.

  3. Ponn Sabra says

    The pleasure is all mine! Your post is exactly what I need to read during this transitional time in my personal and business life, so thank you.

    I look forward to our readers’ responses as well.

    Make money log
    Yes, family support and adaptation or modification is necessary by all involved, no matter what the age!

    So bring your wife to entrepreneurialism ;-)

  4. says

    Make money log:

    Men still need balance, too! In fact, there is an article coming out soon in the USA Today about the oncoming Daddy Wars. With more men requesting time off to do family things, those men who are not dads or are not taking family time off may become resentful.

    And good for you in supporting your wife! My husband actually joined me in my business after two years and that really made it easier to balance because we were in a better position to say ‘you need to do x so I’ll take the kids and then I can do y later.’ Having a good support system, whether it is a spouse, a neighbor, a parent, or a friend, is critical when you’re trying to balance work and family along with the ability and willingness to say ‘NO!’

  5. says

    I’m a man as well and entrepreneur. My girlfriend has a passion but isn’t following it cause her family wants her to go into a secure field…I think entrepreneurs should be encouraged no matter what sex/situation in life.

  6. Ponn Sabra says

    I agree wholeheartedly!

    My hubby has been a life-long entrepreneur too, so we homeschool our girls accordingly–which is such a blast! So, sex is not an issue. There are just major things women entrepreneurs fall behind the 8-ball regarding entrepreneurialism and small business success (sustainabilty), so my object is Never to exclude men (my greatest supporters are men)…but, to emphasize the need for women to step up to the plate!

    I agree with Julie, if your girl-friend has the bug–support her and go for it! Please refer to this post and supporting research, showing that the most sustainable women entrepreneurs turned small biz owners accomplished this by being employed (so the “secure field” option) simulatenously!

  7. Erin says

    I love the glass vs. rubber analogy! I work at home, work a part-time evening job outside the home, homeschool, volunteer, am an actual soccer mom and support my husband in his work and schooling (and supporting him as he is going through some medical stuff now, too).

    Sometimes it feels like everything is glass. I have a hard time letting things bounce without guilt. Thanks for a great post. It’s exactly what I needed to read right now.

  8. says


    Sounds like you are busy! One thing that a lot of people miss is that whether something is glass or rubber CAN CHANGE! Some days, my kids are glass (problems at school, boy troubles) and other days, they are rubber. If everything is glass, you might want to look a little closer. More things can bounce than you think!

    Good luck to you and keep pushing ahead!


  9. says

    “You need to recognize that some things can bounce – and then let them bounce without guilt.”

    Thanks for the reminder. I have a hard time letting go sometimes when I “think” that I have to do something. The Glass versus Rubber is a novel thought and I will keep it in my back pocket when I need to make decisions.


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