Lately, I‘ve been fighting a battle I don’t know how to win. A battle so intense that it’s the last thing I think about before I go to sleep and the first thing that pops into my head when I wake up.
It’s a battle I know I’m not fighting alone, but it’s also one that I don’t openly talk about. I’m not sure why exactly, but I’m pretty sure that the mask that I wear as a mum, the mask that tells the outside world that I’m holding it all together, might have something to do with it.
The origin of this battle? The absolute lack of boundary between business and family. Running a business out of my lounge room means that my worlds have collided, and not in the best way.
It was not supposed to be this way. Four years ago, I made the conscious decision to step away from the corporate chaos and be absolutely present in the raising of my children. It’s a luxury that I could afford to take and I have never taken it for granted.
Somewhere throughout this journey, I started toying with the idea of whether as mum and business owner, I could really ‘have it all’. In so many cases, being a mum entrepreneur has less to do with creating a business out of a hobby and more to do with recognising that we have a choice in how we wish to continue out careers after children. What it really comes down to is being brave enough to pursue a life that fulfils us on many different levels.
But somehow, over time, ‘having it all’ has started to fade and be taken over by ‘not having enough of each’. Being a parent is the equivalent of having ten full time jobs that are mostly rewarding, always ridiculously tiring and constantly leave you second-guessing yourself. Being an entrepreneur, starting and running your own business, is a universe in and of itself and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week will never feels like enough.
So business brain crosses into mummy time and self-judgment about my performance as a mummy infiltrates work time.
This is amplified by the fact that so much happens online and thanks to my handy little iDevice, it has become all too easy to check out of one reality and check into another virtual realm. A check of the email here. An update on social media there. All of a sudden I’m sucked out of family mode and into work mode, only to be pulled out by an angry toddler vying for my attention.
My biggest fear is this – while I consciously made the choice to stay home with my little ones and while I took matters into my own hands and chose to work my way and on my terms, I fear that my children’s memory of their youth will be of a mummy who was constantly distracted; a mummy who was not present. I say it again – it was not supposed to be this way.
The truth is that I don’t know for how much longer my little cubs will see me as their number one. I know my days are numbered and a time will come soon enough when mummy’s cuddles are no longer needed. I know the day when I reminisce about being beckoned in the middle of the night will come sooner rather than later and on that day I will wish that I had paused and savored every single cry for my attention.
So how do I set the boundary? How do I ensure that moments with my boys are relished and that work time is efficient? I’m still working on figuring that one out and am more than happy to hear your suggestions, tips and tricks. In the meantime, if you are feeling the same, perhaps you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. I feel it and that many other mums in business feel it too. By being open with our struggles we can build a strong community where we are supported, lifted and empowered by each other. So take a moment and join the conversation on Facebook. Until then...
Be Brave, Live Fierce
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