I have read countless articles lately about the demands of motherhood and the amount of crazy expectations that are being held for mothers to DO IT ALL. And not only that, do it all while wearing a big cheesy smile on your face. Because it you don’t, you must not love being a mom. Therefore, you must be a BAD mom. I LOVE that there is awareness being brought to the ridiculousness that has become the expectation of motherhood.
In today’s day and age most moms are juggling A LOT. To add to the chaos, many moms these days need to work to help make ends meet. Or, need something that challenges their brain and pours into their own goal oriented and growth focused cups. The answer to this for many mamas has been home business. Enter the era of the mompreneur.
I am a mompreneur and I can tell you that it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. It seems that this has become the answer to the conflict that many moms have of needing to work, but also having a desire to stay home and raise their babies. Or knowing they want to raise their babies, but also wanting to have something that they can call their own. Something that challenges them as a person and allows them to express their gifts and passions, outside of motherhood.
The number of mom-owned businesses that are popping up all around us is astounding! I can pretty much think of almost every product and service that I would need and a mom on my social media that advertises that item or service. On one hand, this is super exciting! It gives moms the freedom to bring in an income without having to leave the home. And on the other hand, it creates a whole other ball of wax. It increases the to-do and check off list that mamas already juggle on a daily basis.
THE BALANCING ACT
I have 2-3 days a week that I’m in my office seeing clients. The rest of the time I am working from home. When I’m home, I’m not only working, I’m also picking up the dirty clothes I see that got thrown on the floor in my office, I’m trying to figure out what’s for dinner, answering my kids 10,000 questions, writing a blog post and stopping mid-way to load the dishwasher, and feeling super pissed jealous of my husband when he gets to come home from work at the end of the day and can totally leave work behind until the next day.
Being able to work from home is a gift and I really am grateful for it. Yet it also presents a unique set of challenges I don’t have to deal with when I’m at the office all day. Here’s my top 5:
- My family doesn’t actually think I’m actually working. You’re home, why can’t you do this for me? Why can’t you entertain me? What do you mean you’re working? I see you sitting there right in front of me. Doesn’t that mean you are at my beck and call? It’s super challenging to set boundaries to be left alone when you’re right there. There is also this unspoken belief that if I’m home I must not be doing anything productive or money generating.
- Quiet is a very rare commodity. I can tell my family 50 million times that I’m getting on a call or recording a podcast and I need absolute quiet. 9 times out of 10 someone screams my name, drops an elephant off the top bunk in the room next to me, or all the sudden has a life altering need that must be met. Quiet is only guaranteed between the hours of 11:00pm and 6:00am and those are some rough working hours.
- Once you think you’ve got it down, the schedule changes. For example, this summer, I was STRUGGLING with the transition. It’s a heck of a lot easier to get things done when the kids are in school from 8-3. Just when I think I’m in a routine, bam… it changes again.
- Work doesn’t stay at work. “I’ll just finish this when the kids go to bed” is a common thought in my mind. My work is at home, so it is constantly on my mind. Or I sacrifice my own sleep and peace to get things done when the house isn’t chaotic. Which like is said in #2 is only during the ungodly hours when I don’t want to be up being productive. When you work at home, it can feel like nothing is ever fully done.
- Our attention is constantly split. Being a mom in general requires a whole lot of multitasking. Add in mompreneur and wowza, we just took multitasking to a whole new level. Having split attention can make me one grumpy mama bear. It’s hard when you need to focus and no matter what you do it’s impossible to get 15 minutes of room to think. Or breath for that matter. I know that when I am in major juggle mode, I’m much quicker to snap and lose my cool.
MOMS ARE FREAKING AMAZING
Working from home adds another level to balancing that can be very complicated. Splitting our attention, feeling chaotic, having constant demands from many directions, and never feeling settled in one area or another. Moms are seriously my favorite heroes! The things we can accomplish in the conditions we must work in amazes me every day. The thing is, we must learn to balance. Doing it ALL and being everything to everyone all the time has to go. How in the flip do mompreneurs do it? Here are some ideas:
- Go somewhere else to work. If possible, leave the house. Go to a coffee shop, share an office with a friend, sit in your car in front of your house, whatever works for you. Sometimes you’ve just got to leave when you can, EVEN if it’s something you could do at home.
- Block out your time. In your planner or calendar chunk out the time you are working and not working. When you’re working, DO NOT… I repeat DO NOT pick up the dirty clothes on the floor. No matter how bad you want to, it can wait until you hit the “off the clock” hours you’ve set for yourself.
- Include your family in your goals. Let them know what you’re working on. What you’re feeling pressure to finish. How they can help you and what it means for THEM for you to be able to get this done. Let them in on your life so they have a better understanding that you really are actually working. Kids also get on board in a bigger way if they understand a little bit of the logic behind your actions.
- Remember what’s important. Being a mompreneur is amazing and it’s an option I’m grateful for. But I see moms who are working ALL THE TIME because it is possible to do it from home. It’s easy to get sucked in and forget what’s important. Especially if you are a performance-based achiever. Remember that a day at the pool goes a long way for the kids, and for you. If you’re going to work hard, you also have to remember to play hard. Schedule in the time for both.
- Remember this is a season. The place you’re at now will soon be different. The kids will go back to school. They will get older and more self-sufficient. Things will change. Each age and stage hold its own set of beauty and challenges. Be present in the season you’re in right now and realistic about what you need to do to thrive NOW. Not “someday” when things get easier.
- Set boundaries. Be super clear and straight forward with communicating what it is that you need to be successful. Is it help from your spouse? A babysitter? A coach or a counselor? What do you need to do and what support to do you need to be successful in your many roles? Then stand firm and true in that. Your success determines your family’s success. You are the one that starts the ripple. We want you to be one happy mama and this requires good boundaries!
- Give yourself a whole heap of grace. Read that one again. Yes, grace. Compassion. Just plain cut yourself a break. Realize how much you’re juggling and then remember that you’re human. Don’t get everything done on your list? Kid is sick and you can’t put them down without them screaming? Feel like you’re going to lose your mind if you don’t get a break? Grace. You’ve got this. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You’re showing up every single day and some days that in an of itself just has to be enough. You are worthy of grace.
SUPPORT OTHER MOMPRENEURS
The reality is, we are just all trying to survive. We want to be good at our jobs and also a great mom. One of the biggest things we can do to be successful is to help support other mompreneurs. Rather than rolling your eyes when you see a mom’s ad roll across your social media, EMBRACE that mama and what she’s selling. If it doesn’t fit for you, no worries! You can still be an encouragement to her.
So next time you need a lipstick, instead of going to the big discount store to by it, think of what mamas on your friends list sell lipstick. Support them instead of the mega chains. We empower women in a big way when we use their products and services. If you’re a mompreneur you know the joy you feel when you see an order come through! Let’s spread the love in that way. Supporting each other to be success in both our homes and our businesses.