By Katie McDonald
I’m someone who thinks I can do it all.
Because I can!
Or so I thought…
In most cases, it’s true. I’m capable of doing a hell of a lot – and doing it well. Throughout my pre-teen years, I excelled at piano, was a rhythmic gymnast on the Canadian National Team training six days a week, and a star student in school. In high school, I took karate, was a competitive dancer, and still a star student. In university, I was a great student and a great partier (hey, that’s hard work!).
Post education, I juggled my job, social life, teaching dance, and building my own two businesses on the side in the spare time I somehow managed to find. Then once I quit my full-time gig and branched out on my own, I ran two small businesses from my home, planned and executed a beautiful backyard wedding and overseas honeymoon with my husband, taught dance, and wrote a novel.
And then I had a baby.
I can’t do it all – and that’s okay
It’s true what they say. Once you have a baby, your center of gravity shifts. Everything your world revolves around looks fundamentally different than it did before. As it should! My little prince is 14 months now and I’ve learned a lot this past year. Even though I still run my two businesses (albeit in a much smaller capacity), and even though I still managed to start my own blog that speaks to working moms and mompreneurs, I feel totally robbed of my time. I can’t work even close to as much as I did before, which means I can’t make as much money, I can’t pursue other entrepreneurial dreams on the sidelines and I can’t write nearly as much as I’d like on my blog in order to create the following and traffic that I know I can – if only I had more time!
So what have I learned?
That it’s okay.
You know why? Because I have the privilege of spending nearly all of my son’s waking hours with him. Seeing his big smile. Laughing at his infectious giggles. Sitting in amazement as I watch him learn and grow right before my eyes. These are things I don’t want to miss. These are things that I choose NOT to miss. These are the good things. The truly amazing things. The things you can’t put a price on and that you’d do anything to experience again when they’re all over.
But there’s something about life that we need to remember: All good things come at a price.
There’s a time and a place
Over the last 33 years, I’ve learned that there’s a time and a place for everything. This is why some businesses fail one year and thrive the next. It’s why some products make millions in sales and others fall dead in the water.
Business – life – is about timing.
The same way it wasn’t time to buy a house when we were 16, it isn’t time to focus only on your career and your business when you have precious little ones at home. Your kids need you. No one can give them the love, nurture, comfort and support that you can.
Now is the perfect time and place to be a Super Mom.
And we’re lucky! As entrepreneurs, we have the autonomy and flexibility to create our own career-life balance. We can work different hours of the day. We can stretch our deadlines. We can implement automated processes to help us. We can spend lots of time with our kids and alter our businesses to accommodate more of our absence.
Let go of your entrepreneur self … juuuuust a little
Life isn’t all about work anymore. There’s a lot more to it than that. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time to adjust. Because it is an adjustment. Particularly for women who are entrepreneurial, business owners, career minded, driven … we crave that busy, productive, successful feeling that can only come from a thriving business (or two or three).
But it’s time to let go. Just a little.
Raising a child is a FULL. TIME. JOB. As much as I thought it wouldn’t be and as much as I assumed I’d still be able (or willing) to do so many other work, business and social activities, I’ve proved myself wrong this past year. Now I know that if I want to be the Super Mom that I know I can be, that I should be and that I have a responsibility to be, then there’s no way in hell I can do all those other things.
Not right now.
It’s not the time, nor the place.
Embrace your new Super Mom status
So once you’ve come to the realization that you can’t be a Super Entrepreneur AND a Super Mom, it’s time to stop questioning yourself. It’s time to accept your decision and make the most of it. Don’t reminisce about all the money you used to make. Don’t envy your husband every time he pursues a new entrepreneurial idea. Don’t feel guilty about not working.
Be a Super Mom. Impress yourself. Do it well and know that you’re doing it well. Live up to the status. Feel good about the fact that you’re making the most of the time when your children are young and at home with you. Watch and marvel as they develop right before your eyes. And thank your lucky stars that you actually have this opportunity to be with them – because so many other moms wish they did, but don’t.
I mean, come on! If my son can be Superman for Halloween, doesn’t he need a Super Mom by his side?
How to make the switch – and love it
It’s hard to switch gears. I know. I still find myself struggling every now and then. Allow yourself time to adjust and to fall into a new groove.
Here are a few tips to help you along your Super Mom journey.
1. Remember! It’s temporary. You’ll be a Super Entrepreneur again later.
For most families, by the age of 2, their kids are off to daycare at least a couple times a week. Then by the age of 4, they’re off to school for half or even full days! Time flies. Make the most of the time you have with your young ones NOW. They won’t be young for long. And you have the rest of your life to work.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Live in the moment. Stop doing a million things at once. Don’t think about the email you have to answer while you’re playing with your toddler. Don’t fiddle around on your smartphone while you’re breastfeeding. Just be where you are. And enjoy it.
3. Keep working.
So yes, I’m telling you to be a Super Mom and not a Super Entrepreneur. But I’m not telling you to give up your career or let your business go to the crapper. Keep it. Don’t lose what you love or who you are just because you’ve had a baby. Accept the fact that things are different – you are different. There must be adaptations and modifications.
But work. Find a balance. Do a little, not a lot. Personally, I’ve found it much easier to focus on being a Super Mom because I know I haven’t completely lost my work life.
4. Hire help.
If it applies to your business, put an individual or a team in place to keep your company running while you’re in Mom Land. Sure, it’ll cut into your profits a little but at least you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that as you aspire to be the Super Mom your kids need you to be for a few years, your business will still run and flourish in the meantime.
5. Commit 10 minutes a day to your entrepreneurial dreams.
If you’re a true entrepreneur, those wheels never stop turning. New ideas pop into your head constantly. And that’s a good thing. Don’t totally let go of that characteristic – that skill! Set aside even just 10 minutes a day to brainstorm, to take down notes of your latest idea, to sit back and let your wheels turn, to write, to grow your new biz on the side…whatever!
Are you a Super Mom? A Super Entrepreneur? How do you conquer both worlds?
Share your story!
Katie McDonald is a passionate mother and entrepreneur who runs two small businesses from her home: Senior Service Directory and Striking Content. On her blog, MotherlyBiz, she shares her new discoveries, fresh knowledge, important lessons and practical wisdom from her working-mom journey.