Recently, I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my personal life that have caused me to look at my business with fresh eyes. While some changes have been exciting (joining a new group for local moms- yay!), others have been tricky (tween anxiety that turns into physical sickness and financial overhauls, to name a few). Have you ever felt like there is just too much on your plate, and try as you might you just can’t live up to the expectations you’ve placed upon yourself? Running a business is rarely easy, but during those difficult seasons, the ones where your norm is flipped upside-down and you need to pivot and regroup just to keep from drowning, running a business can feel like a great burden. It’s time to lighten the load.
One thing I’ve come to embrace is that you don’t have to do it all, all of the time.
In this season, I’ve decided that while my business is important to me, my family needs more attention. I’ve joined two meetup groups for local moms so I can spend more time with friends while getting more socialization for my youngest, started taking a class to dominate our finances so we can focus on the future more successfully moneywise, and joined PTA at my eldest’s school and am spending more time doing things that will build confidence and teach her study skills so she can successfully navigate junior high.
My business is still a priority, but my days are filled more with family-related tasks and activities than business ones.
To maximize the time I spend working, I’ve found an amazing sitter to come so I can get work done outside of the house on a regular schedule so I’m laser-focused on my business when it’s time to get to work. I swear one hour of uninterrupted time equals 17 hours of work from home mom time!
Anyone else feel like unless you’re perfect, you’re doing this whole business owning mom thing wrong?
We have SO MUCH on our plates each day, the weight of the expectations can be crushing. Debilitating.
You have to always look good in your yoga pants and have skin that looks like a teenager and a fresh mani/pedi. Your kids must always be stylish and perfectly coiffed. You and your husband need to be having loads of sex and be best friends who have regular romantic outings (and you certainly never argue). You must have oodles of mom friends and be a part of communities and do regular play dates and mom nights out. Your house better look pristine at all times, and play dates had better come with crafts and homemade snacks. Your business needs to be consistent and always evolving. Your dog can’t ever bark and should have poop that smells like lavender. We won’t even dive into how everything should be organic, screen time should not exist, or how everything you do should be done with a smile and nary a complaint.
No wonder we’re freaking exhausted, ladies!
Some of us care about some of these things more than others, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone somewhere is judging you for not making your own fruit leather for playgroup or posting to social media regularly for your business.
Here’s the only expectation worth having: do your best and be happy.
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you have three AMAZING mom friends and don’t feel the need to join other groups and have playdates constantly plus a giant tribe of online women to check in with, quit those FB groups and focus your time and energy into the friends you already have and love.
If you absolutely hate being on social media and get stressed out having to be on it for your business, find alternate ways to deliver your messages to the masses!
If you don’t mind a mess and hate to cook, host that play date and skip the frantic cleaning and baking and just be you, Costco muffins and all.
During some seasons your business might thrive. Other times it may take a backseat. And you know what? That’s absolutely ok.
It doesn’t make you a failure because you haven’t sent an email out to your list in three months, or because you didn’t bake anything for the bake sale.
Would it be amazing to always have a booming business that is consistent and thriving? Duh. But for work from home moms who happen to be small business owners managing every single aspect of their business on their own, that is sometimes just not a realistic expectation if sanity is a priority!
While it is important to live in the now and not spend your days waiting for something to happen so you can achieve your goals (When my kids are in school I’ll have so much more time! When my husband’s schedule changes it will be easier!) you need to be realistic and set goals you can achieve without needing a clone (or seven).
In this season, I’m choosing my family and my happiness. I’m choosing hosting playdates stocked with treats I spent the morning baking overworking while my kiddos entertain themselves with the TV and snacks. I’m choosing morning meditation and bedtime yoga. I’m choosing to be a friend to the amazing friends near and far that I already hold near over spending my time searching for new ones. I’m using social media sparingly, and just for business because I don’t want to waste my time scrolling through feeds to see what people I care about are doing (I want to know because I’m seeing them in person and chatting with them on the regular!). I’m choosing to pay a sitter while I work over struggling to stay afloat while always wearing my mom hat and my business owner hat simultaneously.
Maybe some people won’t like my choices, and I’ll get some slack for not giving other people or things as much attention. But I’m not worried about it because I can’t control the expectations people place upon me. I can only live up to my own, which are family and happiness. And those things, those I’m crushing in this season.
Need some tips for making it through those tough seasons? Here are some of my favorite hacks!
- Online shopping. While I do enjoy shopping and love getting out of the house and browsing Whole Foods sometimes, there are some weeks where getting to the grocery store feels like a chore. Grocery delivery services are a HUGE time saver, especially if you’re always toting your kiddos to the store. Some services charge monthly fees or delivery fees, but I’ve found despite those I still spend less because I’m much more likely to stick to my list when I’m ordering online! Same goes for just about anything else I buy.
- Outsourcing. You can outsource just about anything! From cleaning services to VA’s, to dog walkers (some even pick up the poop in your yard!), sometimes hiring someone to do the tasks you either hate or don’t have time for is an amazing investment. Services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron make dinner time easier for busy moms. Huckle and Goose is a great option if you don’t need food delivered but want help with meal planning! Just about anything can be outsourced if you do some searching!
- Focus on yourself. In those tough seasons, the ones where we’re spending all of our energy on others, it’s even more important to make time for yourself. Maybe you can go out with girlfriends once a month. Perhaps you take a half hour each night after you put the kids to bed to read or meditate or watch TV. If you don’t have a partner to stay with the kids much or options for sitters, try finding a gym with childcare so you can get a workout (and a shower!) in. There are always opportunities to take time for yourself if you’re willing to get creative and put the effort in!
- Ask for help. In those hard seasons, lean on the people who love you! Tell your friends you’re struggling. Ask a family member to come give you a break. You might be surprised at the amazing ideas, and offers, that those who care about you come up with when you let them know you’re struggling. Perhaps one of your mom friends is feeling overwhelmed too, and you can take turns taking each other’s kids one day a week so the other one gets a break.
- Get organized. I believe life is easier when you’re organized. For some this comes naturally, for others it’s a struggle! The better a handle you have on your household and business, the less time you have to spend in chaos. Strive to declutter your home, and get your schedule in check! The more on top of things you are, the less brainpower you use stressing about what you need to do and worrying you’re forgetting something.
- Make cuts. Most likely, there are a few things you could take off of your plate. From being the Troop assistant for Girl Scouts or volunteering somewhere, if it’s starting to feel more like a chore than a source of joy it may be time to step back until things are less hectic. Maybe just removing a few smaller things at home would be enough. As hard as it is, it may mean putting some distance between you and some friends or family members (if you need help cutting ties with a friend this might help!). Sometimes, just being able to say no to things on the fly makes a big difference!
Above all else, always remember, “this too shall pass”. Just as the heat of summer eventually fades into blizzards which finally turn into summer again, the tough season you’re going through will eventually pass and life will feel a little less hectic. Being able to appreciate the small moments amidst the chaos can be life-changing.
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