Working mother holding baby while talking on cell phone at deskA couple weeks ago I met a nice young lady at a networking event. She was about 12 years younger than me, pregnant, had a toddler at home and like me, was an entrepreneur. We got to talking and she asked me, “How do you do it? I’m finding it difficult to balance motherhood and my business”. And my first thought was:

Sometimes…it’s really, really, reeeeeally hard.

But, instead of saying that out loud, I told her some things I do to help my world stay in orbit as best I can.

Be aware of the comparison trap and don’t stay there.

It’s so easy to go online and see one-dementional views of other mothers. Take the picture below for an example. Aren’t we cute all matchy-matchy and smiling? The truth is, just before taking this picture, my then 2 year-old daughter had shit her diaper and it smelled awful, and my husband and I had gotten into a tense conversation because I didn’t feel that he was as happy to take these family pictures as I wanted him to be. But, someone looks at this and thinks we’re perfect. And then looks at their own real life and might feel less than. When in reality—my life is real too…with shitty diapers and arguments with my hubs sometimes.

My point is, when you find yourself making up stories about people you see online or even meet in person, realize that you have NO IDEA what they’re life is really like. No one is perfect, no one has smooth sailing 100 percent of the time. Staying grateful for the awesomeness that you do have is an easy way to help this.

Just accept that some days aren’t fair, nor are they easy.

Dovetailing off the above point, one of my biggest comparison traps is comparing myself to my entrepreneur colleagues who don’t have children. Who can work whenever they want, as long as they want, don’t pay childcare, can take off with their husbands when they want, they don’t have smeared, crusty yogurt on their backs that they don’t even know about, and in my made-up world, they probably have unicorns as pets.

And yes, I chose this life. I chose to be a mother and an entrepreneur. I know I have unique challenges that other entrepreneurs don’t have. And sometimes it feels like it’s not fair. The truth is that I have two choices here:

1. Feel sorry for myself and resent my colleagues and my children. Or
2. Accept that this is how it is. It’s hard and challenging and yet so, so rewarding at the same time.

Ask for specific help.

I’ve come to the conclusion that is DOES take a village to make the whole system work. The reason I say “specific” is because sometimes—and I know this might sound like crazy talk—but we as women can tend to think people can read our minds. What I’ve learned over the last few years is that they can’t. (Bummer, I know). Before I climb up my husbands ass about how he’s not helping me enough and start throwing his shoes at him, I do my best to let him know I need his help and it looks like X, Y and Z. This is the same for my childcare provider and my assistant. Being realistic about how much I can do and being open and honest with them creates so much more peace than the alternative.

Accept that you will probably fall short somewhere on a regular basis.

Ahhh, this one can suck. How many times have I dropped my kids off at childcare and they breakdown and tell me, “Don’t gooooo, Mooooommmmy!” and my heart is ripped out and I feel like the absolute worst, most selfish mother on the planet.

And other times I’ve gotten so behind on email and just feel like I’m not doing enough for my YKAL audience. I haven’t blogged, I haven’t posted on social media and before I know it, I feel like my entire business is falling apart.

When the truth is, my kids are fine and still love me and no one has probably even noticed that I’m falling behind anywhere. And the thing is, guilt and motherhood go together like peanut butter and jelly, regardless if you’re an entrepreneur or not. The key word here is: Surrender.

Remember in the end- your kids will be proud of you.

When I started my business, my kids were 3 and 1. My heart told me that this business needed to be started. That what I was doing was so much more than “just a business”. I knew I was creating something big, that I was creating a movement. The timing was tricky, but in the end, I wanted to show my children from my example. I want them to see a woman who follows her dreams. I want them to see a woman, a mother, that follows her heart to serve the world. I want them to see their own mother rise to the challenges she faces, fall down, and get back up. I want to show them they can go after anything they want, regardless of naysayers.
I’d love to hear from you! Tell us how YOU keep from going crazy as a mother-entrepreneur or tell us the things you still struggle with.