This morning is all about the family, and how to function when business, work, and life are all under one roof. I'm going to be speaking to the dads and moms who own businesses and run them from home, and to the families who are trying to balance their career and those relationships within their home.
I’ll speak to parents who already worked from home, and also parents who were forced to work from home in 2020. And we'll talk about how the pandemic really was a wakeup call for many when it comes to family, what that looks like, and how to function as one. We’ll also discuss how running a family is a lot like running a business.
Our inspirational quote for today is: “everyone needs a house to live in, but a supportive family is what builds a home” by Anthony Lucy. When the pandemic hit, it woke a lot of families up and it really was a shock. It was a shock to those who weren't previously making their home and their family a top priority. They're the ones that got hit the hardest.
All of the sudden, soccer practice is canceled, and school is canceled, and your kids are at home. You're working at home. The parents are home all day, and this tested the family. It revealed how well their family is functioning and it revealed it. It revealed whether they liked each other or not, and what work needed to be done so that they could actually enjoy being together. Now that they're forced to be together a lot more often, people get so busy and they're living their separate lives.
Mom and dad have their separate life and the kids are involved in this and that. As a result, too many families get very busy and are overbooked. And so a lot of people were made to be very uncomfortable in 2020 when the pandemic hit. When you're converging together a lot more often than just for dinner, or maybe just on the weekends, or maybe just during family vacations, this really made people realize how overbooked they were with activities outside the home.
What I discuss today is going to make some people uncomfortable and there will be differing opinions on it, but today's conversation is so important.
For the Gravalesse household, not much changed in February of 2020. I've been working at home for the last five years. My kids don't go to public school and I’ll talk more on homeschooling in a future episode, for sure, because that throws another element into the home being the center of your life.
My wife is a stay-at-home mom. And she helps me with the business as mainly my primary business coach. But mostly, she is the manager of our household and our house is our business office. She is like the office manager, the secretary, the VP and she's just everything, but she doesn't have to deal with all the business’s daily activities. So, I take on all of the work for clients and the operations within the business, managing my team, and doing the sales for clients. She has enough on our plate with our two kids.
She doesn't have to handle any of that. She gets to just be the support and the coach for me, being able to build up the business that is earning our income. But she is very much the CEO of the business of our family. And we work together. We share a lot of the responsibilities regarding taking care of our children, running the house, and managing the house.
She has certain skills, I have certain skills, and we divide things up based on that and based on what we like doing and what we're best at. So, she's perfect at folding laundry and she enjoys that. And my four-year-old son, he also is really good at folding laundry, much better than I am, so they don't let me do it.
I like building things and fixing things around the house. I also help with cleaning the house and we divide up chores. And because I spend 20 hours a week working in my business, that's earning income. She does take more of the weight of the house management, but we enjoy the roles that we have and unlike some other parents, she has not had to take on taking care of our children for eight hours a day, five days a week.
And so she's definitely grateful for that. It's only four days per week, five hours a day. And even then sometimes when I'm working, one of my kids is hanging out in my office playing while I'm working. She doesn't even have to take care of both kids even throughout that whole five hours, but she does take more of the weight for sure, because I do have to put in that 20 or so hours to work on the business.
But kind of what I'm getting at is that we don't subscribe to gender roles on either side of the aisle. For example, my wife takes on either side of the political aisle, but she takes on more of the house management duties, not because I've told her that that's her place or because she's a woman. Not because she believes that's all she's good for. It's because of the logistics of me being the main income earner.
We don't avoid something just because people have made it political. We see it like this. If you own a house and you live in it, whether you rent it or own it, you are a steward of that house, and you are responsible for taking care of it. This is true whether you are a woman or a man, whether you're single or married. Everyone within that house is responsible for taking care of it.
Now, obviously what I mean by that is if you have two parents and kids, the parents obviously take the lead on that. Kids aren't responsible for managing the house, but they can certainly help out with chores. There are a lot of people that get stuck, avoiding homemaking thinking that if they cleaned their house and cooked, then they’re giving into oppression, and then just make it so political.
As a result, they avoid something that is an important aspect that we do as human beings. We have to take care of our stuff. And our house is a really important thing to take care of. You do those things because you're a responsible person, and when your house and your life are in order, you will thrive more in every aspect.
I share that responsibility with my wife as much as I can. And I never think for a second that it's my wife's job to cook and clean and take care of the children. I pick up and do those things whenever I can to help out. And we help each other with everything that needs to get done. Conversely, she doesn't avoid it thinking that she’s just subscribing to the oppression of women by cooking and cleaning and doing those things. You do that because it's just necessary to live. Right now, I'm the only one that's directly working to earn income. And that's not a sexist thing. That's not our reasoning for it.
I'm not the only one working because we think that women are not supposed to work, or they're not supposed to have careers. We have far greater purposes behind what we do than making a political statement. For one, there is a real biological reason for why right now I am the main income producer for the family. We are completely open to my wife getting more involved in various income earning activities once our kids are older.
But the biological side of it is that babies require breast milk to be as healthy as possible. And because of our beliefs about health and what it means to be healthy, we believe in the natural nursing method of breastfeeding. The mom has to be available throughout the day to be able to keep our babies alive.
And not every mom has that privilege. There's no judgment to the moms that to bottle feed or whatever else, but let's put that aside. What about the moms that don't breastfeed?
Maybe they can go to work or whatever. So, let's talk about the other aspect of motherhood. And just so you know, there will be a bonus segment to this episode coming up soon, where my wife will come on the show and talk about this further, because we can't talk about this without her being a part of the conversation. But I wanted to mention a bit of it here because it is relevant to today's conversation.
Babies and young children need their mom. There's a biological, legitimate, real physical, and emotional and spiritual connection that babies and young children have to their mothers, even as adults, until the day we die.
We have this connection with our mom, but there's a special connection that we have with our mom that is irreplaceable. I will never be able to have that exact same connection that my wife has with our kids. I get to have my own special connection with our kids. And it doesn't mean that there isn't love there. But there is something that's hard to explain.
There's something about the fact that the baby grew within my wife's womb. And there literally was a physical connection with the umbilical cord, that even though the umbilical cord gets cut, it really is always spiritually there. Even when the child grows up and becomes an adult and becomes self-reliant and creates their own life, no longer relying on their mother for survival, there is still that connection that is special.
Children who get ripped away from their mother too early struggle more. There are studies that have been done on this. It is statistically in a child's favor to have their mother with them.
There's a reason why legally, even in divorce that children tend to stay with the mom. But there’s nothing wrong with the children's staying with the dad unless there’s a case of abuse or something similar. There's a reason why that has been the tradition that the mom tends to have the children. It's not a sexist thing against men or fathers. There's just a connection there that is special which really does help children develop and grow up and thrive more as adults when they have their mom every day as babies and young children.
That’s the phase of life we're in where my oldest son is only four. My youngest is almost a year and a half old. This is why we are set up the way we are, where I'm the main income earner, so that she can have that extra time with our children.
And at some point, children do start to seek more of that connection from dad and they have their own kind, but it's funny. My four-year old Oliver always says that mom is my snuggler and dad is my lightsaber. Meaning, we duel with lightsabers sometimes. So I'm the lightsaber, I'm the one that plays with him. Mom plays with them too, but what I'm getting at is the fact that he sees himself being a part of his mom’s cocoon, and he receives comfort and nurture from her. And that doesn't mean that he doesn't have that for me as well, but he knows that primarily, his mom is his snuggler.
My wife and I don't see her as ever just going and getting a job somewhere. We always see it as us being involved in business together, and that she will just get more and more involved in various projects and things that are even separate from our main business. But overall, we imagine us always earning income, basically working from home and through entrepreneurial types of ventures, rather than just going and getting a job somewhere and always being some kind of a part-time thing. We never imagined that she or I would be going out and getting up for some 40 hour a week job.
In a bonus episode, my wife will speak more on homemaking and her perspective on it, and also her perspective on true feminism. This show is not a political show, and I know that womanhood has become politicized, but we're not going to politicize it. We're going to just speak the truth about it. She'll come into a bonus segment to talk more about that and just how to truly empower women opposed to tearing them down.
Now, I just want to express the point that being a homebody is an okay thing. It just means that you're putting your home at the center of your life. It doesn't mean that you're a shut-in or that you don't interact with society. Being a homebody means you make the home really important. On Go Back to Bed, we strongly believe in the idea that working less than normal.
That's why I'm only working 20 hours a week, and my wife is not working at all right now. I worked really hard to create a 20-hour work week and still earn enough money so that we can put time into other important into our family business
Now, back to the wakeup call that was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's talk about this a little bit more. Divorce rates unfortunately skyrocketed in 2020. Some families did not pass the test and others did and they came out of it stronger, but the message that the universe had for the family in 2020 was to stop getting so busy outside your home. Stop de-prioritizing your home and your family. Learn to enjoy spending time with each other, learn how to be a family.
Being a family is hard work and functioning as a family is hard work, and it's uncomfortable to have to troubleshoot things related to our family. That's why we tend to avoid it. And we tend to get busy and we don't want to address those issues at home because it is uncomfortable and it's stressful. As a result, we find distractions. Instead, we find other things to worry about and to keep trying to put those hard aspects off.
I've been guilty of that myself, and then seeing how other aspects of your life start to fall apart when you don't prioritize the problems at home. If you are a parent who experienced hardship in 2020 because of having to work at home with your kids, and then in 2020 you did, or your business switched to remote work, or you had a normal in-person job and were forced to work anyway, did you pass the test? Did you take the opportunity to improve your family relationships, or did you just clench your teeth and try to survive the year, eager to get back to being outside your house?
Truly, if you're somebody who didn't quite take advantage of that opportunity, it's not too late. It's not too late to repair your family. It's not too late to figure out how to enjoy being together and how to come together. It’s not too late for you and your spouse to talk about how to make this more of a priority and discuss some conversations that we've been avoiding.
You two can think about some of the problems that you need to address so that the rest of your life can thrive much more, like I've mentioned in previous episodes when the home is not functioning well. Business or career, all of that gets affected, whether you like it or not. Your income potential has a lower seat. Your health is not as good as it can be when things are not right at home. And there is no avoiding that.
In short, you need to make the home a priority. So, what are some tips for coming together as a family and actually enjoying being together? My wife, my kids, and me, we are used to being together every day. all day. Now that doesn't mean we don't have random times where we are apart, but for the most part, we are here at home and we make it a priority to be together as a family.
Here are some things you can do to help make being together a priority. Number one is it that you must create some common goals. Even if you have separate pursuits, create common goals, create a family declaration. What do you want to strive for as a family? Why are you a family? What are your values regarding family?
Create some goals together and include your kids in that. And that will help you come together to have a clear family vision, to have family meetings weekly, to discuss anyone's grievances, and to have some 360 accountability sessions. We sit down with our four-year-old whenever it's needed. And we ask him how we can be better parents.
And we have him tell us all of his grievances and what are some ways that we can improve. And he's only four, but he opens up and he tells us in a very mature way what we can do to improve. This really helps him feel that he can hold us accountable, that we're not just the dictators of the home but that he can hold us accountable to a certain type of behavior. And he'll say, “yeah, and I don't like it when you're getting angry at me. And when you yell, and I don't like it when you talk like this or do this.”
We are not perfect, but we are striving really hard to ditch a lot of the programming that we have subconsciously learned in how to parent. We come from a fairly coercive society where for many, many decades, parenting was a very coercive approach trying to force your kids to behave in a certain way through either threats or bribery.
And we're trying to abandon that, and we're trying really hard to come from a more supportive approach of teaching our kids and convincing them to make better choices. Ultimately, coming from a much stronger place of love and just slowing down to really talk to them. But unfortunately, because of our own upbringing and the way the society has been for so long, it's an upward battle. It has been hard work to become a different type of parent.
We have our kids really help us reach this goal. We include them on that. 360 accountability is extremely important to have in a family. It's also important to have that in a business. It doesn't matter if you're the CEO and you have employees, those employees better be holding you accountable, and you better have systems in place for 360 accountability.
It’s good to have family meetings at least once a week to be able to express grievances with each other and have conversations about things that have bothered you, but also to troubleshoot any family problems and brainstorm together on how to fix these problems that have come up. This is also a great time to start discussing your goals and how you can support each other better.
There are all sorts of things that can occur in that family meeting once a week, just like you would have a meeting at work at least once a week. You really need to run your family like you would run a business. So the next thing is get on the same page with your spouse when it comes to finances. You need to be on the same page with your spouse with everything, with parenting, with how you're approaching your kids' education, and how you're approaching money.
What are your financial goals? What are your financial priorities? How are you managing your money? How are you earning money? How are you spending money? You have to be on the same page as your spouse on that. Do not avoid talking about money with your spouse. It doesn't matter if it always brings up conflict. You have to push through that. You have to resolve it. You have to get on the same page, because that is one of the primary reasons for divorce.
One of the primary reasons for family stress is not everyone agreeing when it comes to money and how to spend it, and financial priorities, and so forth. It doesn't matter if only one of you is earning the income. That does not matter. You are both equally responsible for the financial plan of your family and how finances are being managed.
That said, it’s still okay if one of you takes on the role of paying all the bills, or if you divide up various roles, but you have to come together and agree upon the financial plan and the goals regarding how things are being done.
Number four is making sure to have time each day where the whole family is doing an activity together. Sometimes we get stuck in the whole thing where now dad is with the kids, so mom gets time to get stuff done. Mom is with the kids, so dad gets stuff done now. But it’s important to deliberately make sure that you're having time, where you're all together and not just once a week, but sometime every day. That is the time aspect of it. Don't avoid making time to spend as a family every single day.
Now for number five. Running a family when either parent is working seven days a week statistically shows that people are more productive when they have at least one day off. I don't work Friday, Saturday or Sunday, so I have three days off. And to me that is what provides the most life work balance. But there's a reason why the typical work week is Monday through Friday. As business owners, and as entrepreneurs, we particularly fall prey to working seven days a week thinking we have to keep the business going to get things to grow.
The truth is that we don't have to do that, and you don't either. It’s very important that you don't fall into that trap now. My family has religious beliefs about not working on Sundays and really focusing that day on the family and our religious practices. But there are literal societal benefits from people taking that day off. Studies even show that businesses that close on Sundays end up having higher profit, because all the people that were going to shop there don't just decide not to shop there. They don't decide, “oh, I guess I'm not going to get the things I need.” They still get all the things they need. They just get it on Monday through Saturday.
I think there's true balance when you have three days off, but you have to figure that out for yourself and find what works for your family. Don't work seven days a week.
Number six: do not avoid crucial conversations. I recommend everyone getting the book that's literally “called crucial conversations.” It's an extremely important book that tells you exactly how to not avoid the really important conversations that we tend to avoid because they’re uncomfortable.
This book helps you to have those conversations in a way where everyone is opening up and everyone is trusting each other, and you actually resolve whatever problem it is that you're trying to resolve, but essentially make a list of things that you have needed to communicate to your spouse, to your kids, and start going down that list and having those conversations that you have been avoiding, that you've been procrastinating.
You have to be talking with each other. You have to be working through that list. Don't avoid those crucial conversations that we tend to avoid because it makes us uncomfortable that will inevitably build up and absolutely interfere with your family functioning. These suppressed conversations will interfere with your business and your career, and it gets to a point where it literally blocks your vision, and you start to not be able to see as clearly your goals and what you're supposed to be doing next in your business.
And because our brain is wired to make relationships with other people, the most important thing in our life, having conversations and not putting off things that we need to talk about with the person is key to that relationship thriving.
Our subconscious knows that our relationship is out of order when those conversations are being pushed off. That, in turn, is causing us stress, whether we like it or not, and it is clouding our vision. It's filling up space in our mind and it will limit your income, your business growth, and your health. So you have to make having those family conversations a priority.
Now for number seven. Notice how when I've mentioned certain things regarding coming together with your family, I tend to talk about coming together with your spouse first. And that's because you, your spouse, and your marriage are at the core of your family. That is the beginning point.
Your marriage is key to your family's success. You are the leaders of your family. If you're not fully united with your spouse, if you're not making your marriage a top priority, then everything else falls apart as well. And it's hard to really function as a family. Your children will feel much safer when you are fully united with your spouse, and you're on the same page about everything.
Kids can sense when you’re not making your marriage a top priority, whether they understand it or not, and it does affect the entire family. So whenever you have a grievance, whenever you have something to complain about, make sure you mention these things to your spouse before it grows, before it explodes. Make sure you're constantly emptying out those conversations and things that have to be said, and you’re always on the same page. And if not, make sure that you come together and you talk about things until you're on the same page rather than sitting there and binge-watching Netflix or whatever.
That has to be a top priority. They tend to say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I have a little bit of a different perspective on that. I think absence is often just a distraction thinking we have to spend tons of time away from our family just to enjoy them and love them is ridiculous. It just means that you're avoiding having to work on those problems within your family, so that then you can actually enjoy being together.
Now, it's okay to have time apart, but that only works if you already enjoyed being together. Separating and spending time apart does not resolve the problem. It might take off some of the pressure and temporarily may feel as if maybe it resolved the problem. But it doesn't if you do not come together and talk through that problem. Spending time apart does not resolve problems and getting busy with friends and other distractions outside the home does not resolve your family problems.
My family and I have had plenty of times where there are stressful days and life is feeling like a grind. That's not the norm. But it happens, even when you have good systems in place, even when you have a routine, and you enjoy being together as a family. You are still going to have times where you don't get along, people are grumpy, and you're stepping on each other. But it tends to happen less when you are united and you're resolving problems and you're having those conversations.
But yeah, it doesn't mean that every day is just going to be just dandy and fully joyful. Everyone is going to have challenges. You're going to have times where you have emotions and moods. And the key is to never let hurt towards each other go unmended. So, if you hurt somebody through harsh words, or in any other way, you immediately apologize and you recognize that you're wrong and admit your mistake. Something that my wife and I have committed to is that every time we make a mistake, either to each other, or if we make a mistake to our kids, we overreact or something, then we don't let a more than a few minutes go by before we have a conversation between ourselves or with our child and apologize.
We make sure that our kid knows that we love him and that daddy or a mommy made a mistake, that we're trying to be better parents, and that we're not perfect and that our kids need to hold us accountable. We want them to help remind us, “hey, I don't like how you're talking to me, I don't like your volume, why are you being angry at me?”
We tell our kids to call us out and to hold us accountable, but it's important that on our end, even if we keep making the same mistake that we keep apologizing, because that is important that you realize it. Your child is not going to be broken and ruined because you made a mistake as long as you are recognizing that mistake. Even if you have to do that over and over again for the same mistake, they will know that you really love them, and they'll be able to let go of it, and they'll be able to move on and not harbor emotion from it.
Moving onto another aspect of the family, it does help when the husband and the wife have at least some shared interests, opposed to entirely separate careers. It is hard to come together when you just have totally separate pursuits. You always have to have those common goals, and that's why we love the path of entrepreneurship. I feel like that also helps bring us together and having a home-based business really helps with that.
But let's finish up this conversation by talking about moms and dads working at home, and just working in general a little bit more. Is it okay for mom to have a job and a career? Yes, of course. Is it okay for dad to stay at home with the kids? Yes, of course. We are not against nontraditional ways of approaching mom and dad roles and working in careers.
However, like I mentioned, based on the phase of life we're in with babies and young children, there are scientific biological reasons, emotional, physical, and spiritual reasons why my wife needs to stay at home and be at home with our kids every day. While they are young, they need to have that connection with their mom. That is extremely important. It's not about politics. It's not about feminism. It's not about being chauvinistically or sexist or anything like that.
For us, it’s about the science and biological reasons that work best for our situation. Now. I want you to think about your own childhood because most of us can't help but have a special connection with our mothers. And like I said earlier, the umbilical cord never fully gets cut.
Now, there are unfortunate rare situations where the mother is abusive, it tends to be the father that takes care of the children. And that is sad. But even in those situations, that child still has a connection with their mom that is hard to explain. Even when a child is being hurt, they still have that love and almost kind of spiritual and emotional connection with their mother that they can't seem to sever.
Further, there are literal sacrifices that have to be made when you decide to have kids, and you don't just get to do whatever you want anymore. They have now taken over your life, and you have to be okay with that. If you're going to build a business from home, and you're going to have kids, then you have to understand what that means and what sacrifices you have to make. You have to be willing to put certain ambitions aside and make your children your main ambition. A couple of years into my career, I realized that being a dad and a husband were and are my top passions.
I was okay to put certain ambitions aside to make parenting and being a husband a priority. I am now running a home-based business where I am able to pursue my passions, but the way in which I pursue them is maybe different than somebody who doesn't have children would be pursuing it.
A home-based business does provide more flexibility in mom and dad being able to both work and both work part-time and beyond. You earn income together while still being with the kids, especially since you're working less hours. But you know, like right now I'm doing most of the work for the business. And like I said, at some point my wife Tira will likely have a bigger role in whatever way that she wants to.
But having young children is very demanding. And again, my wife will have more to say on this, in that bonus episode that I'm talking about. But too many people criticize the role of being a mom. And they say things like “she’s just a mom,” so too many moms struggle with being a mom and owning that role. It's important to be able to enjoy being a mom and see it as a passion and a really amazing thing.
Being a mother is literally the most important job in the human race. Because our survival literally depends on moms being okay to be moms.
Parenting should be your passion. It's not oppression to be a parent. It's not oppression to decide to stay at home and make your kids your top priority. I understand that there were times when there was sexism in the workplace and there were certain levels of oppression, but the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction for sure, rather than remaining in a good balanced position.
So many women and men have avoided becoming passionate about being a dad or a mom because they think of it as somehow less of a pursuit than their career. But I can tell you right now, something that my wife and I talk about a lot is just how our top job is raising our kids.
Raising our kids and making them a priority is not going to change projects outside the home. The home is where changing the world begins. If more people made the home a priority raising their kids their top priority, that would trickle up and improve society and the world as a whole. It starts there.
I admire those who understand the sacrifice that it takes to have kids, and who decided to wait to have kids until they’re ready so that others aren’t raising their kids for them. Now, I'm not being insensitive towards family situations where you have a single mom or both parents just have to work.
Not every family can work less and earn more. I haven’t figured that out yet for every type of family. Ultimately, being able to provide food and shelter for your kids is the most important thing, even if that means being away from home in order to do so. I understand that there are certain situations that call for different types of approaches.
But what I'm saying is that it's important that you seek and strive for what I'm talking about, because it is possible for anyone to achieve. As you gain certain skill sets and knowledge, and you change your perspective, you can realize that the best way that you can change this world DOES start within the home. It starts by making parenting your biggest passion, your greatest job, and your main career.
I know that this can be a controversial subject, but my wife and I will not be moved from our position on this because we know that our children's lives, and ultimately the future of this world, depends on us enjoying and accepting our role as parents and being a part of our children's lives daily. This way, we can have that influence on them that helps them grow up with a really good self-image and self-esteem, which in turn allows them to have the confidence to go out into the world. This is how our children become contributing members to our society.
We take it as far as homeschooling. We really prefer taking on every role regarding our children's upbringing. And there are many other reasons for that which we'll talk about in a future episode. But we do not do things because of society's expectation of certain gender roles or because of politics. We do these things because of our belief in making our family the most important thing in our home.
Providing my kids with the best possible chance at life, and creating their own successful lives is more important to me than my career, than my business, than any amount of money. But funny enough, when I made being a dad my most important priority over being a business owner, my business actually grew because then, it's like everything aligned.
It did affect my business. It actually opened up my brain more to be able to get more creative and focus on the most important activities that actually grew my business more. When your priorities are aligned, it affects and improves everything. And more money has come into our household since we have decided to make our kids and our family the top priority.
Oddly enough, when we don't put so much focus into making money, and we put more focus into our home and our family, the business grows, and more money comes into our home. Making the home the center of your life improves everything else.
And if you haven't listened to the previous episode where I define the home, and I talk about the home being the center of your solar system, go listen to that because that goes into more details and gives context to this episode.
I think that's it for this morning. This was a longer conversation, but a very important one. And I hope that it got you thinking about some things regarding how you can approach your family business differently, and how you can make that a priority.
Whether you were the ones that had that wakeup call in 2020, whether you were one of the families that passed the test or failed the test, you have another chance. You have another chance to make your family really work. And I promise you that if you make it a priority to resolve problems at home first, to come together as a family, and to unite and figure out how to enjoy being together, everything else in your life will improve. Even if that means putting more time towards your family and less time towards your career, I promise that your career and your business will take off.
I hope you have a great rest of your day, and I will talk to you in our next early morning conversation.