Personal growth is inherent in our business philosophy, so much so, that it’s become second nature to me. If there is something that I need to get better at, I simply need to study it, and GO. No wallowing. No complaining. Just recognize your lack, without judgement, and simply grow.
So, of course upon becoming a Momma and incorporating work back into my life, I began to scour the literature and mommy blogs for inspiration and tips on doing the working momma thing. Even more preferable is the entrepreneurial/leadership momma thing. Not only did I find very little on the topic, what I did find was your typical momma gripers. I read one blog that listed this woman’s Perceptions and Reality of a work-from-home mom. Her so-called perceptions were that Work-at-home-moms (WAHMs) had time freedom and whimsy but (HER) Reality was that working from home was challenging and stressful. But upon reading this, I kept thinking, isn’t she looking at the glass half empty??
Since being pregnant, I have regularly processed the notion of “Having it All,” a common phrase used to describe a working mother. Over and over again, I go back to how silly it is. Because before children, I didn’t have it all. I didn’t have my child, I didn’t always go where I wanted to go or do what I wanted to do. There were conflicts in my schedule or I had bigger goals that were more important than immediate pleasure. But it was always a choice. My choice. And it is no different now. I made a really big choice to be a parent and take full on the responsibilities that come with it. In Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, she claims that the phrase is simply insulting, because you would never ask a man if he “has it all” when referring to work and family. There’s probably even less literature and support for men on the topic. Hmmm…
So here’s the deal: Is being a parent hard? Sure. You literally have to relearn how to do everything you’ve spent most of your life perfecting (perfecting, for my fellow perfectionists). Is it worth it?? A thousand times YES! You wanted the kid, right? But isn’t life hard? Or allow me to re-language that…, doesn’t life present challenges everyday? Yes! And it’s your choice to get better, to change your outlook, and to become more.
While my journey through motherhood has been short, while I only have one child, and I am far from an expert, I do know that motherhood is no different than any other life situation. It does not excuse excuses, it does not limit our opportunity, and it certainly is not a platform for pity. It’s one of the greatest opportunities we are given. And if you also have the opportunity to work or build a business or be a leader in your community, you are only further blessed.
So here is MY REALITY, My Momma Vitamins for the Soul, Life Lessons of a Working/Work from Home/ Entrepreneurial Mom (WWHEM):
- Everyday I get to wake up and see my little girl smile and laugh as she’s excited to start the day. Nothing can take that joy from me.
- There are some days that I am so tired and my body aches and I might even cry (ok, I’ll probably cry at some point), and in that moment I have a choice. 1) Cry in self-pitty, or 2) Turn on some personal development, have an extra dark tea (a little extra caffeine in the breastmilk is better than a lotta extra stress… in my humble opinion), cry to get it out, and get better.
- Sacrifices come with great rewards. When a baby starts crying while I’m having a meeting or trying to get work done in my home office (or even better, the situation that happened at this very sentence is my husband bringing her to me to eat and instead she wants to play and laugh…), again, I have a choice… Time-wasting Baby –OR– Feel eternally grateful to have the opportunity to have her with me! To see her laughs, to satisfy her needs, and to watch her grow. While it might feel a little hectic going from one thing to the next or shuffling baby and clients, in my opinion it’s better than working full-time and dropping off at day-care (complete and total love for any momma working full-time and taking their child to outside care… this is just my scenario).
- Be OK with your new reality. Who cares that it’s taken me 3 months to read Lean In, or that I need a pedicure like nobody’s business. I’ve been giving love to a new human. I probably won’t get everything crossed off my list. And further, my list will probably become shorter than it used to be. It’s ok. Prioritize, don’t quit, and celebrate your accomplishments.
- Don’t sacrifice your health. Put your oxygen mask on first! Make healthy meals a priority, get your workouts in, ask for help when you need a break. And when you take that time out for you, enjoy it mindfully and lusciously!
- Be present. Or at least the very best you can be. When you’re working, focus on work. When you’re with the babe, focus on the babe. I’ll admit, there is a small portion of my brain that is always on the babe. But rather than let that portion be guilt-ridden, I let it be filled with gratitude. Rather than beat myself up for being distracted, I marvel at the fact that there is a piece of me operating outside of my body; it only makes sense that a piece of my brain follows.
- Be selective with the company you keep. It’s not just for you now, it’s for your child. Steer clear from the negative. And steer clear from the ‘woe is me’ mommy dialogue. It’s disempowering for women. Find company that will empathize, but build you up and make you stronger.
- Be OK with failure. It’s how you know you are on the path to success.
- And like Jim Rohn says, “If you don’t like how things are, change it. You’re not a tree.”
- And if nothing else… Choose to Love Your Life, Momma.