In an industry flush with women professionals, it’s commonplace to
find travel agents who manage both busy offices and busy families.
But, short of cloning, how can one woman do all those
“The biggest challenge being a working mom is trying to fit it
all in,” admits Kathy Bos, manager of CWT/Arden Travel in Fresno,
Bos has been doing double duty since her son, Wim, was born 10
“I like to be involved with his school activities and help out
at the school, Scouts and sports and still be able to run a
successful business and household,” she said.
Bos said her secrets are “to be flexible, organized and never
take yourself too seriously.”
Arden Travel allows agents to bring their children into the
office when they’re sick or don’t have school.
“We have a TV and VCR in the back room where they get to watch a
movie and relax while stamping our brochures,” she explains.
“There is always a treat of a cookie when the job is done.”
Susie Wiginton, a home-based travel consultant for Strong Travel
Services in McKinney, Texas, says she sets priorities.
“I always do the most critical things first,” she says. “I try
to do a good job by giving whatever it is I am working on my full
attention and try not to procrastinate.”
That discipline allows her to keep her work fairly well
contained to between 8:45 a.m. and 3 p.m., while her boys, Hutt and
Harry, are in school.
In emergencies, she relies on good friends.
Tips to Help Juggle
It’s a delicate balancing act, says Maria Bailey, chief
executive of BSM Media and founder of www.bluesuitmom.com, a Web
site designed for working mothers. Bailey knows her stuff.
“I had three babies under 2 while I was a VP at the fastest
growing company in America, reporting to the CEO,” she says.
During that time, she logged 100,000 air miles.
Now her job is helping mothers like herself be successful in
business and family.
“Where imbalance comes into play is when you don’t know what hat
you are wearing when, and it sends very unclear messages to your
family, your clients and most importantly, yourself,” says Bailey,
the author of “The Women’s Home-Based Business Book of Answers”
She offers these tips for keeping kids and clients from
colliding: " Set very clear boundaries between your role as mother
and businesswoman. “Share those boundaries with your family so they
know when you are in your office at noon, you are working but when
you are in the kitchen at 7 p.m., you are tuned into their needs as
a mother,” she explains.
" Have a schedule.
“My family spends a lot of time going over our schedules
together. Even the little kids,” she notes.
“I let them know that if I’m not at a football game or swim
meet, that I am doing something important at work.”
And help your children understand that it’s impossible for
anyone even their parent to do everything.
“We choose together what is important to them for me to attend,”
" Get everyone organized.
“Put the same organizational skills and techniques you use at
the office into practice at home,” Bailey counsels. Use your
planner or calendar for family business too.
Create “in” and “out” boxes for homework and school papers that
need your attention. File exams and assignments so you can refer to
them later. “What works in the office will work at home,” she
" Be productive.
“Do as much as possible ahead of time,” she notes, adding that
this advice applies to both business and personal activities. If
you have a few free minutes, try to cross something else off
Invite your kids to help you perhaps they could do filing while
you’re printing itineraries.
If you’re bagging chips for tomorrow’s lunch boxes, bag the
entire package so you won’t have to do it again tomorrow.
While these tips will help working moms juggle their busy work
and home lives, it’s crucial to remember Murphy’s Law: If something
can go wrong, it will. Being prepared and remaining philosophical
when it does happen are key.
“Things come up that may put a kink in your schedule,” Bos says.
“For me it is so important to not panic, but remain focused and
keep moving forward.
“The challenges will always be there, but you have to know that,
at the end of the day, if you kept a smile on your face and made
someone else smile, you have done a great job.”