Posts Tagged 'motherhood'

Just gimme three weeks

frustrated-mother-entrepreneur2I just read the latest post by Jennifer New (one of my favorite mom bloggers) who writes the Blog “Mothers of Invention.” She wrote about working on “kid time” and how it reorders our lives as mothers (read her post here: http://jennifernew.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/working-on-kid-time/).

It’s so funny how, after having three kids for almost seven years now, I still forget to factor in “kid time” as Jennifer calls it.

I told a friend last week that if my husband would just agree to take three weeks off of work to babysit the kids, and therefore relieve me of my mommy duties, I would write a book, publish it, create an entirely new teleseminar series and coaching program, write my next several blogposts and newsletter articles, get hired by 10 new clients, and drop 25 pounds (due to not getting up from the computer to eat since I would be so happy to finally be the productive person I want to be)!!!

Sometimes I get frustrated since I have all this creativity, energy and passion to do my work, but am constantly interrupted by someone who needs a snack, to be wiped, wants to snuggle in my lap and play with my hair or my zipper, needs help building their pillow fort, or to play referree in a sibling war. Sometimes I’m able to shift from my work to my natural mothering-love mode. Other times I shout and fiercely defend my space like a territorial pit bull. Tears fall. Guilt engulfs. But eventually, we all get over it.

I don’t beat myself up for any of it. This is just what it looks like to be a mother, where my kids are always my priority, but also a human who has her own interests that are extremely worthwhile.

Now, off to clean up the puddle of pee my daughter just made on the floor.

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The trouble with “balance”

I’m getting ready to give a teleseminar about time management for mom entrepreneurs, and that’s been taking me away from my other writing (this blog). The seminar is going to tackle some of the biggest issues mom business owners face: having time to do it all, and not feeling guilty for being both a mom and an entrepreneur. Admittedly, this is a tall order. (Find out more about the seminar at: www.mombizcoach.com and click the Events tab.)

One of the reasons this is such a challenge is because there is so much emotion wrapped around big ideas like “motherhood” and “entrepreneur.” Everyone and their dog has something to say about how things are supposed to go. If you’re a mom, you should stay home with your children, breastfeed them until they’re old enough to say, “No more, thanks, Mom!”, provide educational direction, character-building opportunities, and hot, healthy, organic meals to boot until they leave you almost 20 years later for someone/thing they love more than you. Well, those are just some of the things some people expect of mothers.

Entrepreneurs don’t get a much better go at it. They’re expected to be up to amazing tests of character and knowledge, to have the vision of SuperMan, the stamina of an Energizer Bunny, the discipline of a Marine Corps drill seargent, and all of their waking (and sleeping?) hours to devote to the growth of their business.

A lot of people (myself included) promote the idea of a healthy balance of these two completely different worlds. Balance is about three major points:

  1. The goal is to simply accept yourself.
  2.  Once you’re good with that, then set some priorities that are important to you.
  3. When you’re clear on what’s most important to you, then be intentional about how you spend your time on those priorities and let the other stuff go.

This philosophy is what makes it okay for me to feel very successful and satisfied with my life as a mom and an entrepreneur. I might not be successful in someone else’s terms (So what if I haven’t brushed my two-year-old daughter’s hair since she was born? And that pile of clutter easily found in every room of my house? Well, the pile and I have a mutual understanding now. We’ve learned to co-exist. And I know people who work 16 hour days in very stressful jobs who might not think I spend enough time stressing about my business. Hmmm. Ok.), but I am successful according to my own terms.

Balance comes for me when I focus on my priorities, then spend time doing the things that support those priorities, which are the things that are most important to me. It’s also about letting go of the things I’m not good at, or that I hate, or even the things that others want for me, but aren’t the things I want.

To have a balanced life, I have completely let go of the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” paradigm. I am focused on the most important things in my life: my family, my health and happiness, and my business. From my perspective, I’m doing great with the biggies. And I’m really getting good at ignoring the dust bunnies and the laundry mountain just outside my office door. Balance is all about making peace with all the extra things you could be doing, but that don’t matter as much as the biggies. So I think I’m just going to string some Christmas lights on that damn pile of clothes. Make it pretty. Or I could drag it out in the front yard, let some snow fall on it, and my kids would have a blast sledding down it. Now, there’s a SuperMom!

Family time, ME time…What? Oh yeah, marriage time

I was just at my MegaMoms meeting in Detroit last night (for mamapreneurs), and after we discussed our business challenges, best practices and reviewed some new learning for the group, we talked about family. We spent a lot of time thinking and sharing about family traditions, routines for kids, best meals for families, great outings to build bonds with our children. After that, we took a nanosecond to discuss ME time…(LOL). But we realized we NEVER spend time applying the same consideration to our spouses/partners or to the work of being married. This hit most of us like a big AHA!

It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges mamapreneurs can face is the one that involves giving our marriages the time and nurturing they deserve. My husband told me a couple years ago: “I feel like I’m getting your scraps.” The THUD you might have heard was my heart dropping to the floor. It was a hard thing to hear, but so critical.

He was right. I was up to my eyeballs with motherhood, which I believed was a really hard thing to master. And you know how that goes: whatever we believe is true, right? So motherhood really WAS hard for me to MASTER. I’m sure you can pick up on the negative thinking I had going on there.

One of the things that made me feel better about myself then (and now) was being a coach–having a business, making a difference for my clients, being the best I could be. My work is an outlet for my passion, my ambition, my creativity, and my purpose. And while I was busy putting the best of myself into motherhood and my business, I for sure wasn’t giving my husband my best. It’s not that there was not enough of my best self to spread around (just like no matter how many children you have, you always have enough love for another one). Instead, the truth was that I didn’t have my marriage on the list of my priorities. GULP. Pretty hard to admit, but looking back, I know how true that was.

Since then, I’ve put some structures in place to make sure I don’t give him what’s left of me when I’m totally spent (which is only the whiny, bitchy, frustrated, defensive, exhausted part). We have a standing date night on the calendar every other Saturday. Babysitter is always booked. This has helped a lot. And we enjoy knowing we are going to have our time. And I have a note posted in my office that I see everyday that says: “Give Richard my best.” Visual cues are powerful reminders.

Being a coach and having my own business while raising our babies was a tough (gross understatement) sell to my husband four years ago. It was made tougher by the distance that existed between us as a married couple at that time. When we’re closer, more related, and taking care of each other, then we definitely do a better job of understanding and respecting what is important to each other.

Are you getting some pushback from your spouse/partner? Do you have to defend your work and why you’re committed to it? Do you feel stuck between choosing motherhood, marriage, or career?

Well, you’re not the only one. If you feel like sharing your comments, please do. I feel better having shared my story with you.

Do you consider Palin to be a role model for women?

In the same vein as Hilary Clinton, a woman near the top of our political structure causes quite a stir (gross understatement). There are those who will laud her efforts to stand for what she believes in, to go after her dreams, to make a difference in the world, all the while raising a (very large) family. Others will see her political ambitions as running counter to the most important job of motherhood, and question a woman’s ability to take on such a significant role when her family clearly needs her to remain at the helm.

Given the role of primary care-taker, can/should a woman effectively lead in business and politics? I am less interested in the political debate such a question can arouse (which I admit, is pretty much unavoidable), but rather how her role is causing us to consider various conventions.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


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