I read a post recently in a Facebook group where a first-time mum-to-be was seeking advice about how to continue running her successful business while raising a newborn. She wanted to still reach her income goals for the year and had other audacious plans.
I deeply admire all mothers worldwide juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood
Both motherhood and running a business can be challenging but rewarding in their own right but combined take a great deal of stamina and dedication.
We had our children relatively young and they’re growing up. Jack is now 14, Kate 13 and Scott 8. However, honestly, I couldn’t have imagined establishing a business from scratch as a first-time mum or even while my older two were in their toddler years.
I took a couple of years off when Jack and Kate were very young, then worked part-time and as a freelancer. Only in the last few years, have I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship.
For me, entrepreneurship has been very much like having a baby – it starts with a dream. Motherhood was made to look so easy on the Huggies nappies or J&J baby product advertisements. The babies were all smiles, while the mums looked all relaxed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place and absolutely no sign of vomit on their shirts.
Morning sickness was a major challenge for me, along with sleep-deprivation and breastfeeding the first time around. Being out of my pyjamas by 3pm in those early days would have been an accomplishment let alone running a business.
When I look back on starting my own business, I naively was seeing it through the same distorted lens as the baby product advertisements. I read stories about successful female entrepreneurs and fell for marketing hype about how easy it is to establish a business.
However, just like my experience of motherhood in those early days, becoming an entrepreneur was tough. Firstly, I had no solid business foundation. I had the idea of setting up a PR and marketing agency. However, finding and dealing with staff, problematic clients, pricing and accounting was exhausting.
But just like motherhood, I’m now finding my groove
I have enlisted the help of an experienced business coach, developed friendships with other female entrepreneurs who can offer advice and I now have a more grounded realistic outlook on business.
For all those mums out there with young children or babies juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship, this article is for you. I want you to understand when times are hard just what an exceptional job you are doing juggling two demanding roles.
A business in itself is like a baby – taking dedication, nurturing to grow and flourish
I remember times as a young mum when you couldn’t even go to the bathroom on your own. Take time when you can to care for yourself and enlist the help of others such as family, friends or employees. As much as it can be hard in the early days, try and establish a routine while at the same time accepting your day may not go as planned.
Sadly, the research shows that when it comes to household chores much still falls on women. My husband tries to help out around the house as much as possible. He enjoys cooking and looks after our large acreage garden. However, he has a demanding job, so I accept now running around after kids activities and many domestic tasks will mostly fall upon me. I’ve tried this year to simplify my business structure to accommodate the best for my clients and family.
I don’t try to be superwoman anymore because I’ve been on the other side of burnout
For me, it’s not about “the hustle”, “killing it” or other traditionally masculine terms associated with entrepreneurship – it’s about building a long-term sustainable business while also raising a family.
I also have a mission to raise the voice of women leaders and changemakers ensuring they achieve greater exposure and influence. This exciting mission is what drives me through any arising insecurities and ensures I maintain momentum in my business. We all have our dreams but remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint – you don’t have to get everything done today.
Honestly, I’ve always been a perfectionist so I struggle with the notion of not completing everything on my to-do-list or to a high level. However, my business coach has taught me about prioritising and not putting too many items on a to-do list ensuring I feel a sense of accomplishment rather than disappointment.
So finally, to all the women juggling new babies or motherhood and entrepreneurship, remember, you’re doing a great job. Don’t compare yourself to others and find your own pace and what is right for you. You may achieve all of your income or business goals this year or not. No doubt you’re doing the best you can so take a deep breath and feel proud – I know I’m certainly proud of you all.
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