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Oklahoma moms are balancing business ownership with family life

Mom entrepreneurs are bringing home the bacon with a lot of demands on their plate. They return calls while their baby is napping, tote their children to work with them and adjust their hours to accommodate children's schedules.
BY JENNIFER PALMER jpalmer@opubco.com Published: May 12, 2012

With her 9-month-old daughter napping in the next room, entrepreneur April Campbell gets down to business. The unpredictable window of time each day has to be productive. To get work accomplished, she has toted the tot to meetings and schedules work-heavy days when she has available child care.

Campbell founded Central Park Dog Daycare in 2005, when her only “babies” were of the canine variety. The business was quickly successful and she found herself working 60 hours a week. When she found out she was pregnant, she knew she needed to make some changes.

“My nine months of pregnancy was really a time of realigning the entire company,” Campbell said.

With the guidance of EWF International, she put together a management team and learned to delegate — making it possible to take four months of maternity leave and then return to work part-time.

Balancing family life with work demands is something all parents face. But it can be especially challenging for mom entrepreneurs, who often feel they have to be present for their company 24/7.

For Mother's Day, we talked to local business owners about how they achieve work/life balance.

“Those who do it well have one thing in common: Guilt is not allowed,” says Darcie Harris, founder and chief executive of EWF International, which provides networking and training opportunities for women business owners and female executives. “They realize that they have to make their business less dependent on them, which is very healthy for the business. They share household and child responsibilities with their spouses or extended family and don't feel guilty when they don't cook every meal.”

Children gain something very important from seeing their mom in a business role, Harris adds, which makes up for missing an occasional soccer game.

Another mom entrepreneur, Jennifer Oliver, thought carefully when choosing a location for her budding business, Paper Concierge. She offices in the Shoppes at Northpark, a short drive to her children's school, so she can attend most of her children's activities — which include golf, horseback riding and musical theater.

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