Being a mum and an entrepreneur can be thrilling, fulfilling and a way to really have the best of both worlds. Yet, as any mumpreneur will tell you, it can sometimes feel as if you’re going a bit crazy, trying to juggle it all, taking care of so many people, working crazy hours and trying to do it all.
Here are five pragmatic tips to stay sane in the midst of all the chaos:
Indulge (briefly) in insanity
Sometimes the best way to stay sane is to have the freedom to indulge any emotion. Find someone to watch the kids for an hour, go for a walk, lock yourself in the bathroom, or call a friend and ask them if it’s ok to just vent. If you are sharing with someone, let them know they don’t need to fix anything for you; you just need a safe place to let some stuff out. Give yourself permission to feel and let out whatever you’ve been holding in. Allow yourself to be angry, sad, to scream, cry, or go crazy. Often, you’ll find you’re over it before you’ve even begun. When we resist or suppress things, they fester and create problems down the line.
Done is better than perfect
We could all drive ourselves crazy trying to be perfect and get everything just right. Acknowledge that you can either keep working and reworking everything (both job wise and parenting wise) or you can get it done and move on. There is no such thing as perfect. The quest for perfection will only keep you in endless amounts of judgment and stop you from creating. Do your best and know that it is far better than you realise anyway! If you find yourself obsessing over tiny details, ask yourself: “will this matter in five year’s time?” If not, choose to let it go.
Be willing to be a “bad mum”
Are you looking from the outside in at what others judge as good or bad qualities in a parent? If it hasn’t already, this will drive you crazy! Trust in you and your children to let you know what works for your family and be willing to get it ‘wrong.’ There will always be people passing judgements. But if you’re willing to be seen as a bad mum, you have the space and allowance for yourself to be you and find out what works and doesn’t work. This will teach your kids it’s okay to be yourself too, no matter what anyone else thinks!
Include your kids in your business
Rather than setting the stage for your kids to resent your work and see it as ‘the thing that takes mum away from me’, let them know what you’re up to. No matter how young they are, you can give them information about why you are spending time away from them. Young kids can understand phrasing such as, “Mum is going on this trip in order to make money so we can buy you toys and yummy food.” As they grow older you can give them more information about what things cost and give them ideas of how they can value money, and start to make their own money too!
Ask your kids if they can contribute to making work tasks easy for you. For example, “Can you play quietly while I make this phone call and then we can go outside and play together?” Oftentimes being fully present and engaged with your children for a short period of time allows them to relax. Then they can more easily accept, and respect, your working hours.
Don’t pretend you’re not a mother
Lets face it, your kids will always be your number one priority. If they need you, you will be there for them. Taking care of them when they’re sick, hurt, or going to a special event with them, is part of what’s required for you to stay sane. There’s nothing more distracting than trying to work when your kids are tugging at you (energetically, emotionally, or physically) So be upfront with your colleagues and clients. Let them know what’s going on, without oversharing.
You’d be surprised how understanding people can be if you just let them into your world a little bit. And if they’re not… maybe you don’t want to be working with them!
Lauren Marie is a Joy of Business facilitator, acupuncturist, entrepreneur and mother of twins. She travels worldwide, facilitating classes and changing her clients’ point of view about life, health and business. Born on the outskirts of Washington D.C., Lauren now lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. A passionate creator and conscious rule-breaker, Lauren seeks to inspire other mothers to see the possibilities others overlook and to embrace every challenge and choice that parenthood brings. www.meetlaurenmarie.com