It's 3 minutes past three o'clock and you are throwing your coat, boots and scarf on like a mad woman. You are running late. Again.
You make a mad dash to the kindergarten wing to pick up your little one, who promptly gives you the stink eye and demands to know, "Why you late Mommy?". All the other kids are gone, having been picked up on time, bussed home, or kept inside for after school care. Your kid isn't happy to have been kept waiting, he won't hold your hand walking home and you feel both super annoyed and super guilty. You are, after all, trying your best but these are days when you wish there were two of you.
Sound familiar? Yup, welcome to the club, Mompreneur Friend!
Being a Mom and an Entrepreneur is crazy hard.
Literally, it will make you crazy some days....
You will feel so guilty every time you have to say, "Sorry kiddo, I can't play trains, Mama's working right now." You will second guess whether you should be pursuing your work at all. You will wonder 100 times over if you are being selfish. You will constantly feel like you are letting your kids down by not being with them as often as they want you (newsflash - that is 100% of the time).
It is no wonder that so many women don't fully pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. It is no wonder that those who do, feel utterly overwhelmed trying to balance everyone's needs all at once. It is no wonder that some of those Mama's give up on their dreams after struggling to make them a reality and just become exhausted by the battle to find balance.
If you are a creative trying to create a business that actually succeeds so you can justify all of the hours you've invested in it, all of the days you could have spent with your tiny people, all of the times you sacrificed your sleep, your free time or your sanity, friend you are not alone.
The Overwhelmed Mompreneur: How I stopped feeling like a failure.
Some of the best advice I've gotten trying to build up my business while raising my three kiddos over the past 12 years, without family here to help, has been to:
Many of us don't have the support or physical proximity of our families. We are literally trying to do everything ourselves because childcare and babysitters are often out of the budget and, if we are on maternity leave or a stay-at-home parent, we feel like we can't justify spending money for someone else to watch our kids. There is a very real societal pressure to be a SuperMom, because after all, we chose to have kids so they are our responsibility. *insert eye roll here
While we did choose to have our kids and we wouldn't trade them in for all the business success in the world, the truth is - We Can't Do it Alone. That's why embracing a community of like-minded folk who can mutually support each other in both raising our kidlets and achieving our business goals is so critical to our success as both Moms and Entrepreneurs.
It wasn't until I stopped apologizing for needing help from supportive friends in my community and started seeing this support as a vital part of every entrepreneur's journey that I could let go of the guilt of not being able to do it alone and the constant overwhelm of trying to.
Do you have people in your life that provide that community? If not, put yourself out there and find some. Your local Moms group or your church are great places to start developing those relationships that can sustain you in hard times and offer the kind of practical support that every.single.mom. needs to succeed at her goals.
We all need each other friends. Please don't be an island.
Recognize that pursuing your dream makes you a BETTER Mom.
There is an idea in our culture that women are at their best when they are focusing on only one thing. That choosing to be both a Mom and an Entrepreneur means that you are taking away something from your children in order to pursue your business and conversely that you aren't able to run a fully capable Entrepreneurial business while you are also taking care of your children. It's an idea that can make you feel selfish, as though your role as a Mom should be more than enough to fill you up and that any pursuits outside of that role are, not only, less worthy of your time but fueled by selfish desires.
Don't believe that nonsense for one minute!
You are not selfish for having life goals that utilize the gifts and talents you have been given. You are not selfish for having a calling beyond your calling as a Mother. You can be more than one thing at once, and you can be AMAZING at all of those things (this is still true even on days you are struggling, you'll note I said amazing and not PERFECT).
If you are lucky enough to feel called to your entrepreneurial work, trying to ignore that calling or to bury it deep within you will only lead to one thing - depression. Not living the life that you were called to, is a soul crushing choice. But when you choose to pursue your dreams, you are giving your kids permission to pursue theirs, too. You are showing what it means to love yourself and the courage it takes to follow your dreams even when it is challenging. Even when others seek to define what you should and shouldn't do, you are modeling the value of each person's individual journey and the work they are uniquely called to.
When I am working on my business, I don't see it as a distraction from being a Mom. I see it as a source of LIFE to my soul. Pursuing this calling helps me feel WHOLE. Without it, I am not fully being who I am. Without it, I am not living my very best life.
And if I'm not living my best life full of passion and courage and joy for my work, then I can't be my best Mom-self either.
By being both an Entrepreneur and a Mom, my kids are learning that the whole world does not revolve around them. They are learning to value the time they spend with me and not to take that time for granted. They are learning patience and respect for my time. They are learning that Moms are people too (whaaaat, that's crazy talk, amiright?!). They are learning to dream big for their own lives. They are learning what it takes to be your own boss and someday they will have a much clearer idea of what Entrepreneurship requires of them and whether this is a choice they would want to make for themselves.
Did you know that juggling these two roles can actually be a gift to your family?
You are helping to teach them about living a life in pursuit of MORE.
So no, you aren't a failure because you are an Overwhelmed Mompreneur. You are a great Mama and you are a great Entrepreneur doing your very best.
I believe in you sister, keep going!