How to Bring Home the Bacon

Remember deciding that going into business for yourself would give you more time for family? Here are some tips for actually doing it at dinner time.
Latest posts by Lynne Meredith Schreiber (see all)

Every Sunday morning, Severn Williams totes two cookbooks under his arm as he heads out for breakfast with his wife, Nina, and toddler son, Ezra. At the restaurant, they leaf through the books for two or three recipes to make for weeknight dinners, then pick up groceries on the way home.

That night, after Ezra’s asleep, they put on some music and cook – lasagna, manicotti, breakfast casseroles, gumbo and other easy-to-reheat dishes that will allow them to sit down most nights for a stress-free family dinner.

It’s “sacred time,” even though the Williamses work 60-hour weeks for their Santa Barbara, Calif.-based public relations startup. Their dinner habits put them in a slight majority of working families.

Most nights, up to 40 percent of American families don’t eat their evening meals together, in the face of studies that point to regular family meals as a way to keep kids out of trouble, possibly boost their academic performance and keep family ties tied.

The hard part is making it more than just a sometime thing.

Make a plan for your clan…

Entrepreneurs have an especially hard time breaking away from business to focus on family.

“It’s easy to work around the clock and grab something to eat here and there,” says Williams, who founded Severn Williams Media in 2001. “For years, that’s what I did. [Now,] we’re looking for quick, healthy, tasty meal options, so the time we’re together is really spent being together.”

It’s a common predicament of entrepreneurship: How do you feed your family a healthy sit-down dinner without sacrificing work time? The answer, as in so many areas of an entrepreneur’s challenge, is planning.

Connie Sparks, president of the Wade Institute in Santa Clarita, Calif., pulled her four daughters into meal prep when she launched her company in 2000. On Sundays, Sparks shopped for groceries, seasoned and prepared main dishes and popped them in the freezer. Each weekday, she’d pull out one to defrost, and write careful instructions for her oldest daughters to warm it and make side dishes. At the end of the workday, she could simply come home, sit down with her girls and connect.

“That was our way of communicating, really bonding,” Sparks says. “Just like with preparing for anything else, if you have a plan ahead of time, you’ll be successful.”

…but be realistic

Maureen Kendall, COO of Little Ruler, an online retailer of skateboarding clothes, shops for groceries once a month, stocking up on lentils, produce and non-meat proteins for her vegetarian family. With everything on hand, it’s easy to throw together a weeknight dinner.

“During the day, I think about what I want to do for dinner, and look in the pantry to see if I have what I need,” says Kendall, whose husband, Jeff, is a former professional skateboarder. They have two preschooler sons.

And she tries to be realistic. Part of the work-life balance, Kendall says, is accepting that you aren’t likely to prepare elaborate home-cooked meals every night of the week. Shoot for three and you’re doing well, she says.

At least once a week, she uses her “wild card” and asks Jeff to bring home sushi, Thai takeout or pizza. It’s not home-cooking, but it’s still family dinner.

Remember why you got into this

Even while so many entrepreneurs say they started up in order to spend more quality time on family, they just as commonly talk about struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance. The key, say those who’ve done it, is to be organized, plan ahead and be realistic about what’s possible.

“I tried to create a business model that allowed my family to thrive,” Williams says. “The most treasured time of my life these days is the one hour I have for dinner with my family each night.

“I look forward to it. And it helps me get through whatever else is in my day.”

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

The Most Important Merger

Next Article

The true mark of an entrepreneur

Related Posts
home-based businesses
Read More

The Value of Home-Based Businesses to Economic Recovery

The challenge of America’s economic recovery, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is to spread it to every community – and especially those that have been historically excluded. The key to meeting that challenge is to appreciate the civic and economic value of an overlooked resource: home-based businesses. There are about 16 million home-based...
Read More

WJR Business Beat: Job Switchers Rewarded with Higher Pay (Episode 406)

On today's Business Beat, Jeff Sloan talks about how it's going to be more difficult and costly for small businesses to hire the best talent because job switchers during the pandemic have seen significant salary hikes. Tune in to today's Business Beat for more:   Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at...
startup team
Read More

5 Strategies for Building a Great Startup Team

The way you treat your employees, their time, skills and abilities in the early phases of your union as a team influences the rest of your company's course of action. Mark Zuckerberg once said, "The most important thing for you as an entrepreneur trying to build something is, you need to build a really good...
pitch videos
Read More

How Pitch Videos Can Help Your Startup Get Funding

When you’re about to launch a startup, gaining the interest and support of startup investors is an important element in becoming a successful brand. These days, videos are a great way of communicating information and landing you anything from seed funding to crowdfunding. After all, a great pitch video can grab your investors’ and consumers’...