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 SEVEN through the eyes of working mothers…
Amy (Co-Founder The Meat Club and Guzman Y Gomez Singapore Marketing Manager, Mum to Harriet 3.5 and Elizabeth 1.5)
“Listen to yourself, and the rhythms of your family.”
- What do you believe are the pro’s and con’s of being self employed and having kids?
I might be stating the obvious, but the pro’s would definitely be building something that I can be proud of, while showing my two girls that chasing your dreams can, and always will involve, hard work. I think the less obvious would be the flexibility that working for yourself can offer and being able to dictate your schedule to suit your/ your families needs. The con’s are the inevitable mum guilt and feeling like you are missing out on important milestones during their formative years. I also think it can be hard to escape the mental and emotional cycle that comes with owning and running your own business, and the impact this can have on the home environment. While I would love to say that I have mastered the skill of being grounded and present at all times outside of the office, it is evitable that these issues come into our home more than I would like.
- What are your tips for self motivation/banishing procrastination if you are overly tired/stressed from kids?
I have learnt to better manage procrastination with age, by learning to respect my own mental rhythms and cycles. If I recognise that I am not in the zone, am too tired or stressed, I know I am better to switch off and come at the task later, rather than dragging it out for longer than it deserves. It could be 10mins or 2 days, but I find the job is done in half the time if I am focused and ready.
- Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other mums?
Had you asked me 2 years ago, I would have said yes, all the time. Now, I am much better at letting go and not comparing – because the only one that is negatively affected – is me.
- Do you feel pressure to over achieve as a mum/career woman and ‘have it all’?
Yes and no. I have never aspired to having the perfect wardrobe or having my kids in every co-curricular activity (although that would be nice, in time)! Right now, the biggest pressure I put on myself is being a present, caring and patient mum, as this is something I can realistically achieve and is within my means everyday.
- 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 am very fortunate to live and work in Singapore. Living here means we don’t have family around but we do have the love and help of a full time Aunty. My husband and I work closely with her, to make sure that the kids are taken care of and prioritised.
- How has having a business partner in the same situation helped the changes of becoming a working mum?
Partner wise, I am lucky to be working closely with my husband in the businesses that we run. It brings complexity and challenges to our marriage but it is ultimately very rewarding to know someone is in your corner of the ring, so to speak. Friendship wise, there are fewer mums with their own business in Singapore then there are working in traditional corporate roles or not working at all. It makes it super special when you can connect with someone that is going through the same struggles and that you’re not the only one.
- Were you excited to get back to work after maternity leave or had anxiety?
I didn’t have the flexibility of maternity leave and worked from home immediately after having our second daughter.
- How did you cope becoming a mum for the first/second time and putting kids as first priority over career?
I really struggled. We had been in Singapore for 2 years. My husband had just opened his second restaurant. I had two businesses on the go myself and no family around. I also had refused to get any help in the form of an Aunty at that stage. In hindsight, I don’t know how we did it, but I had to accept that we needed the help, that I could only run one business at a time (the second has since been sold) and that our new normal was not what I had expected.
- What advice can you give to other mums – whether they work for themselves, for someone else or are thinking of starting work again?
Listen to yourself, and the rhythms of your family. Be honest with what you can manage and how it makes you feel, because no one can offer better insights into your motivations and needs then you and you alone.
- 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’?
I am not active on my personal social media channels so couldn’t say. If I was, I would hope they would view it positively.
- What positive changes have you found in yourself/your business partner since becoming mothers, that can help you day to day with clients?
My girls have been my biggest learning curve (cliché I know)! They have taught me be to be patient beyond measure and to be a better person in every way. In particular, they have taught me to listen to my body and my own inner-chatter, to laugh at myself and appreciate that the obstacles we all face are not forever.
- (Fill in the blanks) – Working mums should know that…
When was the last time someone asked you your OP (post school)? Or GPA (post uni)? It is the same with being a working mum. No one is going to care if you give birth naturally, have an epidural or caesarean. No one is going to think twice if you breast or bottle feed, get a nanny or take 12 months maternity leave. Enjoy the formative years and the challenges they bring. Work through them and do what is best for you and your little ones.