Often, I bond with my other Realtor friends about the balance of both being a good Mom and being a good Realtor. When you take both roles seriously it’s hard to set boundaries and live by them when there seems to be a valid exception to the rule every single day. Two things I’m positive on:
- I don’t want to be a guilt-ridden Mom.
- I don’t want to put my clients’ needs second.
There’s no easy solution to this – but one mentality I’ve found helpful is that if I pay attention to my own internal compass then I’m more likely to thrive in both roles. It’s when I stop taking care of myself and following my intuitive needs that I find myself lacking in one or both of my roles.
My wife, Sarah, helps encourage me to keep a set schedule, which I try to accomplish, but even that can vary widely from week to week depending on client needs. Thankfully she always understands the evolving nature of the residential real estate business and the demand to act quickly in a marketplace with limited home inventory. Let’s be honest, in this business clients’ schedules rarely fall into a neat 9-5 work week. As Realtors, we need to be available when clients are not working at their own jobs – which often means evening and weekends.
In the business of real estate, being available for showings with clients in the evenings and weekends essential. That said, working every weekend day and every evening is not a happy path – not if I hope to achieve success as a mom or, as a businessperson. I have found though, that setting a goal to work just one day each weekend helps me not be resentful. (Although following that rule without exception is the super tough part!) I’ve also found that working past 5:00 no more than two set days a week keeps me grounded and productive both at home and at work.
So, I’ve reserved specific evenings for our clients. Communication about scheduling is key for me – as is having a great team of other dedicated real estate professionals in our group. When I do an initial consult with a client, I talk to them about our team and how good they are and how it increases our availability to move quickly and importantly, that each member of our group is as committed to them as a client as I am.
And it’s true, we 100% have each other’s support. I let clients know that if I’m not available to make a showing happen quickly, we have other talented and licensed agents that can. I also let them know that I will always be available and at their side when it comes getting advice on an offer and, of course, when it comes to submitting an offer. Having this conversation up front sets the tone to allow boundary setting while also fulfilling client needs. For me, this is essential.
I also schedule my personal time on my calendar as if I too am a client. Obviously, we place a high value on our clients’ time and, we should place and equal value on our children’s time and our own time.
By blocking out “me” time on my schedule, I’ve been able to commit to a personal trainer for consistent work outs, to have dinners out with my wife, to ride my mountain bike on a beautiful summer morning, to enjoy happy hour conversations with friends and, most importantly, be available to go the park or the zoo with Sebastian. The “me” time is as valuable to me as the potential million-dollar sale. Although the value of money is important, it is certainly less important than the emotional value of spending time with family and the overall value of happiness in life.
By scheduling “me” time, it has allowed me to say “no” when there is schedule conflict – which has become way more important to me since becoming a mom. I feel like there has always been cultural pressure put on woman and their ability to serve. Historically, it was all about being able to serve others – “what do you need?” and “how can I help you?” were the questions of the day. Only in recent history have we become self-made millionaires, or CEOs, or business owners.
It has been a process of rewiring our brains, of circumventing the wildly sparking synapses that repeatedly triggered us to always be on call, to always be ready and available to serve. Do we need to continue to say “yes” to the steady demand to serve only others’ needs and/or demands? In my mind, the answer is “no” – to me, it’s a dated way of thinking that doesn’t benefit our personal growth.
When we consider our own needs first, we not only allow ourselves to be better, but we create better client relationships. Relationships that are not based on methodically serving a client’s every need; rather higher-level relationships, relationships built on client guidance and advice, along with a refreshed ability to lead and assist our clients more effectively. I truly believe, our own personal happiness is a catalyst for client happiness, and ironically, increases our level of service. Somehow this equation of less time spent = better quality of time given.
For me, it has not only become very possible to be a great mom and to run a successful business, but it’s also become the path I’m 100% committed to. I got there by setting a personal and professional schedule, and then made a commitment to navigating it. My son, Sebastian, knew at the early age of 2 years old that momma goes to work. I’m proud of myself for showing him what an empowered businesswoman looks like – while really being present and committed to be a meaningful part of his life.