How to Crush Mom Guilt
Being a mom is hard. Having your own business is hard. Both together can bring some of the biggest challenges you could imagine, one of which is that dreaded feeling of “mom guilt”. As a mama of 3 big kids (ages 16, 13 and 10) and a business owner (I’m a peaceful parenting coach) I know I’m not alone in feeling like some days I am doing neither very well. I feel the pull of my family and the pull of my business. When I listen to my own advice, I have more great days than bad and I pat myself on the back for rocking both roles.
Here’s what I’ve learned: 5 tips to help you be the best mamapreneur you can be!
Say no to anything that doesn’t inspire you - either as a mom or as a business owner. Have a client that’s sucking out your soul? A contract that you dread getting started on? Let them go! (You’re not the right person for them anyhow!)
Don’t want to go on that field trip? Totally fine! You’ve gone on your share. Let another parent have a turn.
Saying no is an important part of self-care. If you are stressed and overwhelmed you are bringing your worst self to both areas of your life. If saying no is hard for you, practice this in front of the mirror: “Thanks for asking! Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” At least take a pause and decide before you commit.
Set Your Boundaries
Have defined work hours and family hours. Make a model calendar and make sure to schedule both your work AND your downtime with family. Protect that time! Don’t do the dishes or other home or family tasks during working hours, and don’t check your email when you’re at the park. Setting boundaries and keeping them will dramatically cut down on the feelings of being pulled to one when you’re with the other. Have a mantra if it helps: “Now is my working time - the house can wait.” “Work can wait until the morning. My family needs my full attention.”
This one is the hardest for me! I am pretty good about actually not working during family time - but I often have to pull my head out of daydreams of what I’m planning for my business.
Let’s face it - the Enjoli Woman is a myth. Those of who grew up post-1970s feminism have seen that you can’t actually have it all. Yes, you can have a family and, yes, you can have a great career. But if you want to do them both well, you need support. It is not weak to ask for help. Use your support network of friends or family. Ask your partner, if you have one, to do more. Get your kids to help out! If it’s possible, hire help for your home or business. I finally hired cleaners this summer and it has been a game-changer! My house is clean(er) and I have more time for work and for my family.
Embrace Your Passion: It Makes You A Great Role Model
We are business owners and entrepreneurs because we feel passionate about our work. We shouldn’t feel apologetic for loving our other baby. You are a fantastic role model for your children! Just stop and step outside yourself for a minute and recognize what you are showing them you can do.
Feel All The Feelings
This one’s big, mamas. You need emotional resilience to be able to integrate your role as a mom and as an entrepreneur. With two demanding jobs, there will be disappointments. Even if you are a rockstar at all the tips I gave you above, you can’t do everything. To feel good about yourself as a mom and a business owner, you and your children need to be able to survive - and thrive - when everything doesn’t go as planned.
You know that guilt that comes when you do say no to the Science Centre field trip? Or when you have to miss a baseball game because of an important meeting?
Recognize the feelings under the guilt. You feel sad that you can’t do everything your child wants you to do. You feel sad that your child is sad and you want to fix it. But you can’t. What you can do is process your feelings and help your child process their feelings.
When we actually let ourselves FEEL things, instead of denying our feelings, trying to talk ourselves out of them, or fix everything, the feelings will move through us and dissipate.
When we let ourselves feel our feelings and come out the other side in one piece, we develop emotional resilience. We help our child develop emotional resilience when we hold space for them to feel all the big feelings, and we know they will be okay.
If you have to miss the trip or the game, let yourself feel sad about it. Let your child feel sad about it. “Sweetie, I am so sorry I’m not coming. I am going to miss seeing you play and I know you’ll miss having me there. It’s so hard and disappointing, isn’t it?”
Don’t try to fix it by promising you’ll watch the video, or that you’ll definitely make the next one. You can say that later when you’ve both had a chance to feel sad. Until you process those feelings of sadness, you will only feel guilty!
If you are a mom and an entrepreneur I know that you are strong and passionate. But you can also be happy and content! Say no and to anything that isn’t a joyful yes. Have clear boundaries so you can enjoy your kids and your business. Get the support you need, whatever that looks like. Embrace your passion with no apologies! And most importantly, let yourself feel the sadness that comes from not being able to be everything to everyone. This is what will help you ditch the guilt and raise kids who are emotionally resilient.
Sarah Rosensweet is a peaceful parenting coach who helps parents become the parents they want to be - with a non-punitive, connection-based approach that that feels good and works. Check out her *free* 'How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids' e-course or book a free consult at www.sarahrosensweet.com or follow her on Facebook.