After a year of becoming a Mom, I started a business. I did the full time stay at home Mom [SAHM] thing for a year while finishing up my Master’s degree online, though felt another void. I needed a creative outlet. I desired to put my BFA degree to work to make my hefty student loan payments each month less painful. I didn’t feel I was excelling at Mothering as compared to the ‘Pinterest Moms’ [I don’t give a damn now #seasonedmom].
During the baby days when I was tired of talking about sippy cups and diaper brand absorption; I thought perhaps working would bring me some achievement I felt I was lacking. I created my printable special occasion poster Etsy shop in 2013 and became a work at home mom [WAHM]. It certainly helped ease many of my feelings of feeling lost and consumed by motherhood. I enjoyed earning money and contributing to the household again. I started designing and began to feel a bit happier, well-rounded and as if I was contributing to society outside of my home. But the transition from SAHM to WAHM, was an adjustment for sure.
On top of all of the daily tasks I was already doing to take care of the baby, make us all meals three times a day plus the million snacks a day, I was exhausted. I felt as if my work never ended. Because now when the baby went to bed, I worked on the computer until I went to sleep. I no longer had the extra time to spend with my husband. Though I am thankful and proud of myself for building a business literally from my couch during nap times and at night. When everyone was fast asleep, I was working away with the Doc McStuffin’s tune stuck in my head. I quickly learned I had to take weekends off, so I was present and able to spend quality time. Truth be told, every time I received an alert from Etsy I always checked it and tried to respond right away to snag that potential customer. Entrepreneurship, the job you love but never can truly leave the office.
I still feel torn today, but now in even more directions. I have to split myself five ways between the two kids, husband, house/cooking and my work. Thankfully my hubs is the best and helps out tremendously. So proud my girls watch their Dad clean, do laundry, bathing, etc. I am the head chef in the kitchen. Since 2006 we have had a deal: I cook, he does the dishes. Despite having a partner at home, I still feel overwhelmed. There are only so many hours in the day.
Mediocrity: the sign I am at least equally dividing myself.
My Mama BFF [the one who saved me in 2013], texted me this motivational quote the other day that read: “Shout out to the women that raise businesses and babies”. I smiled at first when I saw it, then my whole body sunk down. I immediately, thought and texted back “Yea and I’m mediocre at both”. She wasn’t having it. But it is very difficult to explain or for someone else to understand the feeling of not excelling at either responsibility. Everyday I am trying to mother better, be a supportive wife, get food on the table and become a successful multi-business owner. I only have one head, I can only handle wearing so many hats at a time. I suppose it’s not as bad since I do not feel I am excelling at either one, I’m equally mediocre at both. I’m not putting myself down, I’m just being honest in observing that I must be evenly distributing myself.
Being a Mom is hard. Being your own boss is hard. Building a business or four in my case [I know, I am a self-inflicting stress creator] is time, mind, body and soul demanding. I often wonder what it would be like if I worked a normal 9-5, came home and was able to just focus on the kids/husband/home. Entrepreneurship is a 24 hour time gig. I can’t clock out while working at home. My office is a few feet away from the never ending pile of laundry baskets. I am constantly torn between working on my computer, Mom stuff, cooking, home stuff, and then reserving some time and energy to spend with my husband or hell even by myself. I hear this word being used often called ‘self-care’, have you heard of it? It’s on my to do list, way down there along with the other 50 things I have to or want to complete some day.
Wearing all the hats, all day long is tiring and at times just filled with multidirectional guilt of not doing enough. No one talks about the pain of the hustle, you just see the motivational quotes everywhere about being a ‘Boss Babe, Mom Boss or Hustle & Grind’. We don’t hear about the necessity to take a break, breathe, reflect, reassess and get back at it with a refreshed and relaxed mind. I’ve been at this WAHM self employed game 5.5 years now. I’ve learned through trial and error that setting small goals, taking time off and reflecting on what is or is not working improves productivity. This strategy encourages my mental/emotional health to be in as much balance as it could be during this season of building.
My new mantra is:
Going to bed not knowing if you will earn enough money this month is a heavy feeling and the reality of being self-employed. Lying there thinking of ways to improve the businesses, and then of course replaying how much you underperformed at parenting during the day. It’s a mental game. I really do try my best to tell myself:
- I can not do all the things.
- I am enough, I am doing my best.
- Slowly but surely.
- I will do better tomorrow.
- I am not failing even if I feel I am.
- Be more patient. Be kind to yourself & others.
Some days are super productive and some days I get nothing done on my list for the day. That’s just the season I am in now as a Mother and entrepreneur. My kids come first, family is a priority and if the businesses are not where I want them to be then it is what it is.
WAHM, SAHM, WOHM: no job, lots
of jobs or any other combo: We are all tired.
The days are long and there is always something else to get done. We all want to be the best parent we can be. We all want to be a successful employee, business owner, partner, [insert any noun] and just a better person at the end of the day. Knowing that it is not a race, not comparing ourselves to others, and just waking up each day with the hope to do better is all we can do.
I’m not sure how it would differ better or worse if I worked a 9-5. Or if I decided to just give up my ventures and focus on mothering. I will never know because even though my eyes are glazed over by the endless hours staring at my laptop I will not give up. All of the working/researching/pinning, failing/succeeding, reinventing and rediscovering myself is for a reason. This entrepreneurship life chose me, the dreams and goals chose me and it’s one of my 5 current jobs to work on.
I am a solo-preneur meaning it is me, myself and I. I am the CEO, designer, marketing rep, sales rep, customer service rep, accountant, research & development, etc. All falls on my plate. I pray, hope, manifest that one day I can delegate to a fully staffed team. But for now I have a large hat collection and wear them all daily with determination of accomplishing my goals.
To my fellow Mama’s, entrepreneurs, employees, and everyone else out there who juggles more than one hat:
- How do you do it? [ tips, please 🙂 ]
- How do you pull yourself up when you get knocked down?
- How do you rid the anxiety or guilt feelings of being pulled in multiple directions?
- Do you reflect and reassess your to-do list? [ laundry and cleaning are usually pushed off my list each week]