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 TEN through the eyes of working mothers…
Elle (Co-Founder Jake & Elle’s Kitchen and My Kitchen Rules All Star, Mum to Valentino 3)
“You need to identify what you need and just make it happen.”
- What do you believe are the pro’s and con’s of being self employed and having kids?
It gives you flexibility and the ability to juggle work/kids if they are sick, unable to go to daycare etc. It also is a way of leading by example, teaching principles such as getting out what you put in and self discipline. The biggest downside is that you don’t normally get holidays, you can’t ‘switch off,’ and there is always something to do.
- What are your tips for self motivation/banishing procrastination if you are overly tired/stressed from kids?
I feel like women need to know that it’s ok and normal to feel tired most days. It’s a continuous cycle. But we really need to know when we’re stressed and easy tips on how to manage that stress so we don’t explode. I keep a running to-do list on my phone that I have to have done by the end of the week. I prioritise those tasks, and once they’re done I remove them. I include absolutely anything, even making my sons lunch for daycare. The reason is because when I cross it off the list, I feel like I’m still getting somewhere. I rely on essential oils, baths, gardening and cooking to relieve my stress.
- Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other mums?
Yes. Sometimes, in terms of getting the balance right – the balance between work, taking great care of my family and my own self care. I see other mum’s get facials, nails done, go away on girls weekends, still manage to have a ‘date night’ once a month with their husbands and then I see some mums make play dough and bath bombs on the daily for their kids. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing wrong? I have had one date night in about 2 years, I have never gone on a girl weekend since I opened the business almost 7 years ago, let alone a facial. It’s just tough, and I have a moment where I think I’ve got the balance wrong and maybe I do. But I know it’s all going to be worth it in the end and I probably need to learn to enjoy myself along the way.
- Do you feel pressure to over achieve as a mum/career woman and ‘have it all’?
Yes. But not pressure from anywhere/anyone else. I put that pressure on myself. I’m proud of myself, but do you ever get to ‘have it all?’ I don’t believe there is a moment where you have it all, but rather everything is a work in progress. If you stop the comparisons, and understand that one day it will happen, you tend to be less hard on yourself.
- 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 have really bad mum guilt. When I drop Tino off to daycare, it’s the worst feeling. It really depends who your clients are. Some of my work colleagues are very understanding, but some are not. I have also had customers turn their nose up at me for having my son in my shop, which is disappointing. Mother’s have to be all things, and it’s impossible.
- Were you excited to get back to work after maternity leave or had anxiety?
I was excited. I really believe being busy and having a ‘life’ other than being a mother was the key to keeping my mental health on track. I’m sure it helped me and kept a lid on post natal depression. But being self employed allows you to be flexible with the amount of work you want to do. I can imagine it would be much harder for women that have to return to a 9-5 job everyday.
- How did you cope becoming a mum for the first/second time and putting kids as first priority over career?
It was tough. My son is 3 and I’m still not over it. I’m an over achiever and a perfectionist and I constantly feel like my hands are tied. Don’t get me wrong I love being a mum, but I struggle with how much easier things were when I was child-free. I cope by having my son in daycare an extra day a week – I need a day for my paperwork. You need to identify what you need and just make it happen.
- What advice can you give to other mums – whether they work for themselves, for someone else or are thinking of starting work again?
Don’t be hard on yourself. Take every day as it comes. Tell somebody if you feel overwhelmed. Really understand that every stage of parenting is temporary and no challenge is permanent. Be organised, and it will fall into place, most of the time.
- 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, it depends which account. A personal account is amazing when you show everything and can be truly real. A business account I believe is strictly business – unless having children/family is related to the business. Sounds old school, but I do believe it looks more professional.
- What positive changes have you found in yourself/your business partner since becoming mothers, that can help you day to day with clients?
I’ve become more understanding and more compassionate. I have become a little emotionally numb from everything I’ve been through in the last 3-4 years, but I’ve learnt to be more patient. You can’t make everything happen at once. It teaches you to ride the wave a little more especially with business. Nothing happens overnight.
- (Fill in the blanks) – Working mums should know that…
You’re all bloody amazing!!!