It’s no secret that motherhood can be overwhelming, but add on running a business and you have a challenging world full of pressure, elation, happiness, guilt, pride and a million more emotions…
In the world we live in, being portrayed as a mother on social media can carry quite a burden – having to always look and act the part, but in reality it can be quite the opposite.
As a team of mums who support each other in business and in life, we decided to sit down and answer some Q+A’s all about how we really feel with this juggling act we call #bossmumlife.
Here’s PART TWO through the eyes of working mothers…
Alexis (Director Like,Yesterday Management, Mum to Diesel 2)
“Be honest with how much you can give to others and when you need to look after yourself.”
- What do you believe are the pro’s and con’s of being self employed and having kids?
ABSOLUTELY the flexibility of being available for your children is pure freedom. Having gone back to work full time when my son was 3 months old was the hardest thing I had to do, as the business didn’t allow flexibility with working from home and it really tore me apart. Now that I work for myself I can manage clients and my family equally and it makes my heart happy. Con’s would be the extras like holiday pay and sick pay you miss out on – you never stop when you have your own business, and gotta work through the sickness haha (but so minor compared to pro’s).
- What are your tips for self motivation/banishing procrastination if you are overly tired/stressed from kids?
Get coffee, get dressed, get out of the house, and put on some epic music to get yourself started. Life will be permanently tiring from now on with kids, so you have to start performing in a new way. Connect with like-minded individuals to pump you up, and count your blessings that you get to call this crazy new ride of motherhood as life. I often think back to pre-kids and know I was achieving great results but now I have a purpose to really shape my new life – I’m so lucky.
- Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other mums?
I hate comparison, but I feel as a new mum it is easy to slip into ‘why me’ mode when your baby does or doesn’t do something. The pressure from social media and mothers groups can be daunting but just remember that loving your child and helping them learn is the greatest thing you can do – your baby will evolve naturally. Who gives a shit what ‘experts’ say is right or wrong – a Dr. once told me to put my baby on a diet as he was in the 150% percentile in height/weight – mind you his entire family are giants – thats where you learn to ignore and go your own way.
- Do you feel pressure to over achieve as a mum/career woman and ‘have it all’?
I do, but I’m a high achiever in life. I moved from country to country at 23, 27 and 30 years of age to expand my career and network and was working 80-100+ hour weeks. When I became a mum I had to learn how to balance, but I think society needs to remind mums to be kind to themselves – you can’t tick all the boxes at once and you shouldn’t have too. Prioritise your happiness and work your way back – having a child is a gift and others making you feel guilty for ‘mum’ tasks are below you and deserve none of your energy.
- Do you experience mum guilt when you have to pick your kids up or have kids around and you have to answer calls? Do you tell clients the truth or lie about what you are doing?
I don’t feel guilt now that I work from home as I am candid that I have a family, but when I’m in work mode I need my own space to have 100% focus. When I was employed full time I felt guilty about speaking to my child or daycare or bringing up my mum life, as it seemed like it was a distraction, but I think employers need to nurture mothers as they are SUPERSTAR multi-taskers.
- How has having a business partner in the same situation helped the changes of becoming a working mum?
Working with women who run their own businesses and have children makes it far easier to understand the situation. Generally they have more empathy, more knowledge of juggling work life/kid balance and understand flexibility. Some mums don’t go back to work for years (kudos to you as I struggled with being a SAHM mum), and some jump straight back into it, but I think you have a new perspective when you restart working and have no tolerance for petty nonsense or ignorance – you find your people and you stick with them!
- Were you excited to get back to work after maternity leave or had anxiety?
I was both. I was looking forward to having a mental break from being around my child 24/7, but I found that 3-4 days into the working week I was absolutely shattered mentally from having to perform with very little sleep. If I could do it again I’d have more time to ease into it – I think that’s why being self employed works as you make your schedule and can control expectations.
- How did you cope becoming a mum for the first/second time and putting kids as first priority over career?
I STRUGGLED. Honestly every day I thought to myself I can’t do this – I’m not cut out to be a mum, and I think it’s healthy to vent but then be kind to yourself and take every hour as it comes. Being a mum is the hardest job on the planet – hands down, and shout out to all those mum’s who are feeling overwhelmed, undervalued or a bit lost – know that the first few years are a pulling you apart to put you back together again as the best version of yourself for years to come. YOU’VE GOT THIS. And also, don’t feel guilty if you love working because that’s a huge part of your life. The beauty of this world is that you can shape your own and your families life in any way, so you do you!
- What advice can you give to other mums – whether they work for themselves, for someone else or are thinking of starting work again?
Be honest with how much you can give to others and when you need to look after yourself. If you work for someone else – choose a company that celebrates motherhood, and if you work for yourself – choose clients that understand work/life balance boundaries. Above all else, do what feels right for you and trust your gut instinct.
- Do you feel if you put more real content on social media of being a mum, that clients would view you as not ‘as motivated’?
Honestly yes, but fuck those that think that. Who’s to say that I’m less motivated than another childless female? I will share what I want to share and celebrate my life. In saying that, I do have a strategy to link both work me and mum me to show both sides of my life/career – I adore both in different ways.
- What positive changes have you found in yourself/your business partner since becoming mothers, that can help you day to day with clients?
I’m far more patient with people who are struggling or need help, and far less patient with ignorant/rude people who waste my time. I work faster, schedule my time more effectively and when I want something I REALLY go for it. I’ve also changed the times I work to maximise my creative/logic brain peak times.
- (Fill in the blanks) – Working mums should know that…
You are unstoppable. Speak up, achieve whatever you desire, and hold onto your values and morals – you’re doing great.