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 FIFTEEN through the eyes of working mothers…
Sharni (Director The Derm Lab Brisbane & Mum to Chloe 17, Jackson 15, Elijah 7, Macy 6 & Ethan 5)
“If you look after yourself and your own wellbeing, you inevitably become a better person to all those around you.”
- What do you believe are the pro’s and con’s of being self employed and having kids?
Obviously the first thing that pops to mind is missing out on things with the kids and not being able to spend enough time with them doing things that a lot of other mums would do (eg. school excursions, sports days, and the like). On the flip side my children see me working extremely hard, taking care of peoples needs and in time I know they will appreciate and respect why I do what I do, and the reasons behind it. I feel it’s good for them to see someone working hard to get ahead and not just sitting waiting for things to happen. I always try to explain to the kids what’s going on, so they understand why mummy is so busy and also make sure that the time that we do have together is fun – quality time with lots of love and laughter.
- What are your tips for self motivation/banishing procrastination if you are overly tired/stressed from kids?
I always try to keep things in perspective and remember that when kids play up, its normal and they don’t always understand the stresses that adults deal with on a daily basis, therefore it’s not their fault. I try to remove myself mentally from external impacting factors, in particular detaching home life from work related stresses and vice-versa. In my opinion, you can’t escape stress, it will always be there, however, it’s about how you deal with these stresses that makes all the difference. We are only human after all, and every now and again we will inevitably have a “bad day”. I like to focus on the fact that tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning, and that there is always someone else out there that is faced with much more adversity than me. Quite often I find that my kids are my motivation and drive to pick myself up again and keep pushing forward!
- Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other mums?
I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t compare in some way, shape or form, however I accept that each of us have our own differences, and I strive to be unique. My view is to focus solely on developing my own strengths and bettering any shortcomings, staying respectful and being professional at all times.
- Do you feel pressure to over achieve as a mum/career woman and ‘have it all’?
I am a very driven “Business Mum” and I am required to deal with stress on a daily basis, nonetheless the important thing is to just keep doing your very best at all times and to manage the pressure before it takes over. Knowing that stress will always be there and that business often doesn’t go to plan, makes it absolutely paramount to have a very a strong support network. Likewise knowing that at some point in time you will probably “crash”, and accepting that “crashing” is human and it’s ok, is also just as important. On the flip side, make sure you focus on picking yourself back up again, and asking for help when needed.
- 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?
To be honest, I would say that I absolutely have times when I feel guilty, in particular if I find that I have let my clients down. However, this will never cause me to be dishonest with my clients, and most often they understand. It can get stressful if you’re trying to work or take a call when you’re little one is around, in particular when I have a sick child to take care of. This is life, and more often than not external challenges present themselves, so I try to be proactive in my approach if it happens. I always have a plan in place to ensure my families wellbeing comes first and that my business and client needs are met to the very best of my and my teams ability. I must add in, that I feel very fortunate to have such amazing clients who show understanding and are extremely accommodating – this truely helps me to feel better about any potential impacting situation if and when it eventuates, and certainly helps alleviate the stress.
- Were you excited to get back to work after maternity leave or had anxiety?
Most mums would appreciate the difficulty of going back to work after having a baby, and at first I got a sense that I was abandoning my child, especially after my first, so the struggle is real. In saying this, I am very much a people person, and I craved the adult to adult social interaction and mental stimulation, and I certainly enjoy what I do, so it was great to get back to work. I personally think it is important to know that there is no right or wrong way to feel here. I do however believe that you need to look after yourself and your own needs and aspirations. Because of this belief I feel more fulfilled in all aspects of my personal and business life and in turn in my situation has allowed me to become better mother to my children. It is my belief, that if you look after yourself and your own wellbeing, you inevitably become a better person to all those around you.
- How did you cope becoming a mum for the first/second time and putting kids as first priority over career?
This is a tricky one, however I think it is truely about finding that “good balance”. In my opinion, family comes first, however, to be the best mother to your children or even the best lover to your partner you need to ensure you make time for yourself, and likewise do what makes you happy. If you choose to sit back and do nothing, you put yourself at risk of never achieving what life intended for you, or worse, developing a feeling of ”I should have” or “I could have” and subsequently become an individual that just accepts the status quo.My tip…. Children will inevitably take presidency on occasion however, make sure you take time out for yourself, or “me time”, even if only for a few minutes a day. Find something that makes you feel better within yourself and then try to make time to do it regularly. I believe that this strengthens an individual mentally and helps you grow as a person, allowing your mind to be open to new possibilities, potentially finding your new passion, or reigniting an old one.
I also feel that it is very important to have that balance where you find time to spend with your partner away from the children. My partner and I make a conscious effort to have a date night regularly (even if just for an hour or so), and at a minimum of once a month, even if we feel exhausted. At the end of the day, try to remember that you are a team and you are on this journey together. It is very important to continually re-connect with your partner, to support and encourage one another and additionally have fun as adults. This will assist in keeping you on the same page with each other and everything else that’s going on around you, whether it’s children, school, work, family or the likes.
- What advice can you give to other mums – whether they work for themselves, for someone else or are thinking of starting work again?
The best advice that I give all mums (even when they’re close to giving birth) is that there’s no right or wrong. Don’t listen to other people, do what feels right for “You” and “Only You”, and don’t be worried about others judging you – just go with the flow and don’t freak out if what you thought was the right decision at the time, then changes. It’s ok!
- 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’?
Occasionally I like to share real content of my family and children, as quite often people can relate and they enjoy seeing another side of me. 98% of our content is business orientated however every now and again it’s nice for people to see that I am human and not just the Director of our business. More often than not, people are shocked to find out that I have a very big, wonderful family made up of my beautiful, handsome partner, my five gorgeous children ranging from 5 years to 17 years (yes we are a “Brady bunch”) and of course our little fur baby Millie. I am proud to say “I am a Super Woman” and I feel if anything, I gain more respect from my clients by posting real content occasionally, as they then see and understand how hard I work to balance both my amazing family, whilst providing them a very specialised, professional and personalised service.
- What positive changes have you found in yourself/your business partner since becoming mothers, that can help you day to day with clients?
Kids bring you down to earth. They keep it real! Sometimes as adults we get caught up in all the BS! I like to keep things very real with my clients from treatment results, how many treatments they may require to expectations, listening to their concerns and sometimes even personal issues they feel comfortable talking with me about. I find keeping it real connects me to my clients and they really appreciate that.
- (Fill in the blanks) – Working mums should know that…
YOU CAN DO IT! There will be days when it is really hard but at the end of the day, do what’s right for you and know that it is ok to have a bad day. Remember to take time out and know that you’re loved – keep on keeping on. Your children will respect and look up to you and in the long run appreciate all that you do for them and the hard work you have endured to get to where you and your family are. Remember to ask for help if you need it and stand strong as a team with your partner. Don’t ever lose sight of who you are! And finally – you can be both an amazing mother and career woman at the same time, if that’s what you choose! GO FOR IT!!