Hey there Mama, we see you.
I see you making a couple of choices 3-4 times per week; do I work until 2am / hope that my kids sleep through till’ 6am, so that I get a solid 4 hours under my belt, which is *just* enough to function on for the next day, … or do I go to bed early / set my alarm for 3am / hope that my kids sleep through till’ 6am, so that I get a solid 3 hours of work done before the day starts.
I see you.
Occasionally [ok, ahem, … more than occasionally], I am you. And for the record? I opt for early to bed and a 3am alarm, in lieu of working until 2am, because I promise you this, you’ll feel that smidge little bit more fresh opting for option B. Your husband on the other hand? He’ll seriously curse your business name under his breath when that 3am alarm sounds, and he’ll huff and puff, and he’ll pull the doona over his head while you tap that somethin’-somethin’ out in order to meet that #pressshhhuuuuuuh deadline on your non-childcare day.
Yea, I see you.
So I’m nearing on x3 years into this small business ownership / little people caper, and I’ve learnt so much about life / working life / working Mum life / ourselves, and each other along the way, so I decided that I wanted to put my top 5 tips together in case there are 2-3 you can take from the list, and make this whole caper work a little better for you too.
There is no balance. Honestly? I’ve only just come to this realisation after positively doing my head in trying to chase that elusive balance. I cannot put into words how utterly liberating it was for me to acknowledge that it doesn’t exist, and that you instead have to make your list of non-negotiables, … and then prepare yourself for the constant reshuffling of those non-negotiables / your own personal priorities. This, my pretties? Is as close as I have come to finding “balance” in working Motherhood.
Go gently, … jay-sus. Remember why you got into small business ownership? It likely had a lot to do with not being able to navigate much of the “family-friendly” work situation you were craving in your employee-sit.u.ation, … so why are you now riding yourself harder than the worst non-family-friendly boss you ever worked for did? Go gently. Those little people are still little, … you can only do so much, and if that means xyz dollars less profit for now? Big deal. What’s money worth when you’re too miserable / burnt out to enjoy it anyway?
If you’re in a relationship, your husband / fiance / de facto / boyfriend / wife / girlfriend / whomever is going to need to help. In the early days, I felt like I had to do it all; work / kids / meal plan / grocery shop / cook / clean / hold the fort, & guess who that was entirely unfair on? … me. Now? I have a cleaner [for marital contentment reasons], and I also have a cleaning roster [because let’s face it, the house doesn’t stay clean even with a cleaner!]. I delegate more to my husband these days, and I don’t feel guilty about that. We put together a monthly calendar, and we map out who can help with what, and where [i.e can you come home from work at 5.30pm to relieve our Thursday nanny, so that I can pull a 9pm finish with work that day and just … catch up?], etc. etc.
It’s basic maths Mama, so try to spread it out a little more equally. For me, I work more hours per week than my husband, despite having a part-time childcare arrangement, … so the rest of my hours are done in the evenings / little pockets of time that I can salvage [with – and only with – his help].
If you’re a solo Mama? My hat off to you, … I have no advice there, because I lack that particular perspective, so all I can only instead empathise & say this; “my hat off to you”.
Let go of the guilt. Actually, that’s unrealistic, … it’ll always be there, but heck, just try to *reduce* it. For me, this came by admitting to myself that I actually like being a working Mother / that this isn’t something I need to feel ashamed of / that my working doesn’t mean my children are a lesser priority [my goodness, they are the number one!]. However, I really do love what I do. I’m a Mum, but the thing is, I’m also a person, and the person that I am? Well, she enjoys working, so being a Mum is just one part of that whole person that I am.
Finally, the very best thing you can do? Always take the opportunity to put some good “Working Mama karma” back into the world. If your pal needs after-school care on one of your days off? What’s another kid in your arsenic hour mix. Tee up non-work day swaps, i.e you help a pal out on your day off / she helps you out on hers. All of the good karma stuff? It comes back to you, I promise. Me? I’m married to the guy I don’t get to see come end of June 30 [which seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year!], so my pal dropped a cooked meal on my doorstep one night last week, & I thought to myself, well then, … this must be my good karma coming back to me for taking another pal’s friends in the morning before school [so that she could get to work on time].
On the flipside? Bad karma comes back to you too. If you have played a role in any way that’s added to a working woman’s guilt / placed unnecessary pressure on her / judged her messy home / scheduled back-to-back meetings in her calendar when you know it’s school holidays? I’ll promise you this, … your family’ll land themselves with gastro / croup / hand-foot-mouth in the space of one week.
It’s karma, … and it’s only fair 😉
So what’s your top tip then?
Did I miss something?
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