Author: Tai Aracen
I am an entrepreneur. Before I opened my first business, sold my first program or even had my first client, I was an entrepreneur. When my husband and I decided to expand our family and get pregnant I admit that one of my first, and biggest concerns was what a new baby would mean for my business and my life as an entrepreneur. I knew more then anything that I needed to be fully available to our child and there was a certain lifestyle that I wanted to provide for him. So we planned a perfectly balanced schedule that allowed just the right amount of time for business and new mommy duties.
Everything was ready for this new little human, and he arrived in a flash! Then it all fell apart. My perfect little prince didn't sleep like the books said he would. He cried around the clock in 20 minutes increments. He wasn't nursing like the consultants promised he would. Between tandem feeding and attempting to sleep, my husband and I barely had time to shower, much less think about launching new products and services. I literally contemplated letting go of my life as an entrepreneur which is one of the most important aspects of what makes me, well, ME. Thankfully we pushed through, learned some tough lessons and made it work. Fast forward a few years, we have now added a new precious little one to our family, two thriving businesses and tons of experience.
I'm going to share something with you, promise you won't get mad at me. What I have learned, about being fully engaged in motherhood and entrepreneurship is that there is no such thing as 'balance'. There is give and take, sacrifice, imperfection and crazy messy fun! But you won’t find that idea of balance with motherhood on one side and entrepreneurship on the other hovering in perfect order, so don’t waste your energy trying to make it happen. You will breathe so much easier when you just let that idea of balance go. Here is what I have discovered on this perfectly flawed journey as a mother and entrepreneur:
There are no separate hats to wear:
It's impossible to compartmentalizing your role as an entrepreneur separate from your life as a mother. They are intimately intertwined and your success in one does not come at the expense of the other. You have to find your own rhythm, and accept the totality of ALL that makes you the wonderful person that you are.
It's kind of like walking and chewing gum. They take different skills and thought processes to do each, but you can totally rock at both at the same exact time! You can do this, I know you can.
Ditch the “Priority” System:
I use to believe that my duties as a mother were my top priority and everything else fell below that on a diminishing scale of priority. Having that as a hard fast rule meant that I didn’t give myself the freedom to be the best that I could be at any given moment. My children are my heartbeat and they are immeasurably important, but sometimes (more often that I would like honestly) I have to make the decision to handle business while someone else takes care of their immediate needs. Not because they are not important, but BECAUSE they are important. Being an entrepreneur and running my business makes ME a better person, a better mother. It gives my family the lifestyle we want, it allows me to build a legacy for my precious little ones. Having a hard fast “priority” system would mean I would miss out giving my business the attention that it needs to continue to fuel our life. That is not an option.
You are Independently Important
I am really involved with my children, their development and their education. I am sure some people will call me a helicopter mom. I am cool with that, because my children rock and a lot of that is because I made the decision to be present and “hover”. Even if that isn’t quite your parenting style, I think it is fair to say that raising little ones take a LOT of time and effort. Its really easy to get so wrapped up in your children’s lives that you get lost. Our children are a reflection of us, and the choices that we make. But they are NOT the essence of who we are as women, and sisters, and friends, as lovers, and CEOs, as worldchanging humans. Allow your children to be as much a part of all aspects of your world as you want, but make sure you keep a sense of independent self. You are important, needed, wanted and special. Completely and totally outside of those little ones that you call your own.