Oh Lordy, Lord. If you are a mom and you are reading this...you probably know that I could fill several pages on this topic. If you're a fellow momtreprenuer, then you know I could fill about 15 pages!
A little backgound on me --- I have always been a working mom. I was raised by a working mom. I continue to work a full-time job outside the home in addition to running Chirp. So many of my thoughts and struggles apply to more traditional working motherhood as well.
That being said, the first struggle will come as no surprise to any mother. So here we go:
Oh brother, what don't us mothers feel guilty about??
I feel guilty that I'm not home or with them as much as I "should be."
I sometimes wonder if they'll think I put my own "dreams" ahead of them.
I feel bad when we have conflicting schedules and I can't attend something.
I get paranoid that they will resent me or resent Chirp.
Need I even explain? Holy crap, I need sleep. I crave sleep. I daydream about sleep. (And you know what happens if I actually sneak a nap in, right?.....Yup, GUILT!) The sad but true fact is that in the world of momtrepreneurship, there is little room for sleep. So many tasks are taken care of after bedtime and into the wee hours...
3) ALONE/QUIET TIME FOR WORK
I'm sure you work-from-home moms are giving a "Hell yeah" and emphatic nod to this one. Yes, I've been typing an email to a client while simultaneously picking up dirty underpants. Have sorted thru inventory while a small human being clung to my body. And I've been deep in the throes of book-keeping when my young son will come happily over to fart on me (yes, ON me) and laugh.
When working from home or on the entrepreneurial "side gig", there's very little attention/respect paid to "work space" or "quiet time." In fact, I have basically sworn off work calls all together, because they simply will not go well. If I can even answer the phone, there will be some annoying YouTube video blaring in the background, arguing siblings, or that pesky farting again.
I'm in what I assume is a reallllly lucky minority here. As I started getting more involved in my own businesses, my husband truly stepped up to the plate and took on about 90% of housework. Yes, you read that correctly. 90. PERCENT. And no, I don't blame you if you hate me right now.
By the grace of God, my husband cleans the floors, folds the laundry, does the dishes, strips the beds, etc., so that I can focus on Chirp. And he does it all while he also works a demanding full-time job.
I realize that not everyone has this amazing support system in place. And as a mom, I understand how overwhelming all of our other duties are on top of our business. There is so much to do. I don't know how I'd maintain my house without my husband. And it's a struggle to even chip in what I do!
And.......YES.....there's more guilt associated with this one!
Yes, you read that right. Listen, some of you always look gorge and Instagram-ready no matter how much you have on your plates. I'm not that girl. Kudos to those of you who are.
I spent an entire day of birthday parties and an evening of craft workshops this past weekend looking like freaking Albert Einstein because I showered and ran out of the house without touching my wet hair. Yikes.
Do I care? Well, the good news is that I don't really have the time or energy to care.
Does it bother me? Of course, sometimes it does. I like to feel pretty, I like to feel like I'm taking care of myself, I like the occasional hair or nail appointment. But those things are few and far between. There are only so many hours in the day.
6) FREE TIME
There really is none. I wish I was exaggerating. I steal small moments to myself here and there. But I haven't had a day completely free of work or Chirp in a long-ass time and I don't have a free weekend until February 9th---and by the time that rolls around, the weekend will be booked. When I do manage a little bit of free time and I nap or read or watch a movie, I feel.............yes, GUILTY......because I feel like I should be working!
Oy. The stress! I worry, worry, and then worry some more. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about something I may have forgotten or something that needs to be done the next day. My stomach hurts before every big event I throw. I'm anxious during each event until I hear feedback. I stress about cutting costs and I obsess over my book-keeping to figure out what went where. I stress about the fact that I have no clue WTF Instagram is supposed to do and don't even get me started on Pinterest! I stress that I'm running low on blue paint and that I don't have time to get more before the next workshop. I triple-check how to spell each name that goes on my birthday party chalkboard and still worry it's wrong. I hand-paint a personalized sign and convince myself the buyer will hate it. You get the gist. So much to stress about!
So.....how do I handle all of this? As I've said in previous blogs, I mostly just "keep on swimming." But I also think this about each of these...
Every time I worry about my kids "missing out", I remind myself of the amazing experiences they've had because of Chirp.
My son lost his first tooth while dressed as Willy Wonka for our first movie night of the summer. What a memory that will be. The same night, he got to see his Mama wobble around as Violet Beauregarde-- as a big fat blueberry.
My daughter has gotten to lead a painting class and be a mermaid in Chirp's Under-the-Sea themed Halloween car trunk.
When I worry about them resenting the business, I remind myself what they are learning because of Chirp.
My son cleans Chirp's windows, knows how to prepare the main room for a party, and practiced counting money at the register.
My daughter has learned to work the register and run an entire transaction. She's become adept at interacting with customers and can show kids how to "stuff-a-plushie" like a champ.
When I worry about them feeling like I've chosen Chirp over them sometimes, I remind myself what Chirp SAYS to them:
That they can have a vision and make it happen.
That they can use their best qualities for a good cause.
That hard work pays off.
That mommy loves them and will work her ass off to provide for them.
I know that someday my children will recognize all that I put into my business and that they'll be proud of me. And that's an amazing feeling.
As some say, "I can sleep when I'm dead." Point taken.
Yes, I'm tired, but it won't always be this way.
And for now, those stolen naps are all the more delicious in their rarity.
3) ALONE/QUIET TIME
While I may not miss the incessant farting in my home, I know, to my core, that someday I will miss those little bodies clinging to me...calling out for me....and yes, even following me to the bathroom. So for now, I'll put the work calls to the side and do what I can after bedtime. Because they are only little once. And let's face it, their laughter is sweeter than any work-time silence I might manage.
Some things are vital in life. But some aren't.
Can the dishes wait another day? Yup, they can.
Will the kids die if I don't change their sheets till next week? Nope.
Pace yourselves, mamas. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but eventually--you'll get to it.
No, I don't have time to primp. I rarely get to wear anything sexy. And I don't often have time to look at myself. But do you know when I feel my most beautiful?? When my own mother tells me what a great job I've done at an event. Or when a child hugs my leg, looks up at me, and says "that's the best party I ever had."
I am a true believer in the "we are all beautiful" mantra. So many good qualities. So many talents. Give yourself some recognition for those. And remind yourself that's part of what makes you so beautiful ---- Albert Einstein hair or not.
6) FREE TIME
Someday, our bodies won't work like we want them to. We'll be sore or rickety or ill. Someday, our children will be grown and will only come around to visit every so often. So let's enjoy and appreciate this energy to go-go-go while we're able to.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
'Nuff said, Teddy.
And on that note.....Keep doin what you're doin, fellow momtrepreneurs.
You're not alone.
And your kids will notice.