If you’d told me five years ago that I’d end up running my own business, I would never have believed you.
Two kids and two mat leaves later however, I found myself embroiled in a sticky internal conflict where the life and career I’d always known stopped making sense and my world and identity felt profoundly transformed by Motherhood. I felt all-consumed by a sense of disillusionment, imbalance and suffocation in my work and I knew that my priorities had shifted.
After much soul-searching, I began my self-employment journey, retraining as a life coach and taking the plunge to set up my own coaching business.
Along with the amazing fizzy highs, parenthood and entrepreneurship definitely come with their own unique rollercoaster moments (in particular during a global pandemic!). But, despite navigating a whole heap of wobbles and ‘messiness’ in both areas, I feel immense gratitude for the way Parenthood has positively enhanced my self-employment journey.
So, I wanted to share some of the ways that I believe being a Mum has supported and empowered me to show up as a great business owner plus impart some tips that help me to master the intensity of the Mum Juggle while running a business.
Being a ‘Time Magician’
As a parent, time is something you always wish you had more of! The list of things to juggle is never-ending, and I’ve needed to develop some serious ‘magician skills’ to help me manage my time as a Mum and business owner.
My appreciation for the precious time I DO have to work has increased exponentially and has taught me to be so much more efficient, focussed and productive with the limited hours I have available to me, knowing that I may not have the opportunity to play catch up.
The flexibility required when raising kids has also helped me be much more agile in the way I manage my work week. I deal with curve-balls way more effectively and have found ways to multi-task and blend my work around the rest of the Mum Juggle so I always feel like I’m taking small steps forward.
I’m also so much more aware of the expectations I set myself around my time. When I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to do it impacts my productivity and my parenting, so I try to strip back the expectations wherever possible to be compassionate and realistic with myself.
Being a role model
Becoming a parent has made me so much more aware of how I show up in the world and the example I set my kids. It has given me a powerful ‘Why’ as a business owner, which keeps me afloat when even when times are hard.
When I was permanently employed, I often disliked the version of myself that showed up at home – stressed out, impatient, distracted and overwhelmed. And I felt disillusioned that being a Mum meant having to settle for less.
Running my own business has given me the drive and freedom to flip that script and enabled me to show up as a positive and inspiring role-model for my kids. I feel determined to walk the walk, showing them what a healthy work-ethic looks like and demonstrating that they too can do anything they set their hearts and minds to!
Parenthood forced me to hold a mirror up to myself and highlighted all the things I DIDN’T want in my life as much as the things I DID want. It gave me a huge motivation to be successful in my own right and live life on MY terms rather than trying to fit someone else’s mould.
That sense of perspective has given me the freedom to show up in business as a far calmer, more balanced and grounded version of myself.
I regularly check in with myself to ensure I’m living in alignment with what matters most to me. And I make a concerted effort not to sweat the small stuff in life and business, wherever possible.
‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ has become a powerful mantra to keep my mind monkeys in check on the tough days, because being a parent gives a whole new perspective to those answers which I find hugely grounding.
I know how to nurture
I always refer to my business as my third baby! Because ultimately, my entrepreneurial journey often feels comparable to my journey through Motherhood.
As with my kids, my business started as a spark of inspiration which felt unknown and scary. But I have continued to birth, nurture, grow and love that spark day by day and watched my business flourish, thrive and evolve into something that makes me feel proud and amazed every day.
Similar to Motherhood, entrepreneurship can be exhausting and stressful, and it can demand a huge amount of headspace, time, attention and energy. BUT despite the challenges I never for one-minute regret either decision, the highs most definitely outweigh the lows, and I feel nothing but excitement to see what the future holds.
Parenthood has shown me that if I can raise two happy wonderful kids, I can sure as hell grow this third baby of mine too!
Flexing my resilience muscles
For all its wonders, Parenthood is also unpredictable, chaotic and full of surprises. It has pushed me physically, emotionally and mentally to my limits and forced me to seriously grow my resilience.
Taking risks, persevering when things feel hard and learning through failure have all been invaluable muscles to learn to flex as a Mum and have been instrumental in successfully running and growing my business.
After all, nobody really knows how to parent until they experience it – and the same goes for being an entrepreneur! I’m not sure I would have had the courage to launch my business had I not learnt to overcome so many fears and step out of my comfort zone as a Mum!
So many lessons have been learnt since founding my business, but here are five of my top tips for mastering the Mum Juggle as a business owner:
- Embrace imperfect action! Allowing yourself to take action imperfectly will open you up to so many beautiful and valuable learnings and possibilities and free you up to make so much more of your time.
- Accept and ask for help! We often misinterpret asking for help as a sign of weakness or failure, but it’s exactly when we think that we’re failing that it’s most critical to reach out for help. Sharing the load by leaning into your ‘village’, outsourcing or delegating will make the daily juggle feel so much more under control and help you feel like you are winning at life rather than being on the back foot.
- Celebrate your wins: When we’re juggling all the balls we can get so focussed on ‘what’s next’ that we overlook the more subtle moments of joy and success happening right under our noses. But those sparks of magic feed our passion and motivation. So, stop every day to acknowledge and celebrate your victories in business and parenthood, however big or small.
- Make time for YOU: When life is busy taking time for ourselves often falls to the bottom of the priority list. BUT when we forget about ourselves it can leave us feeling jaded, unfulfilled and even resentful. So committing to even 10 precious minutes a day to stay in tune with yourself doing something that inspires, nurtures or energises you will help you feel more grounded and ultimately make you more productive.
- Get more sleep: As parents, sleep deprivation is REAL but it can also have a HUGE knock on effect on our energy levels, mood, motivation and self-esteem. So, committing to some simple but powerful sleep habits can have a big impact on how we show up for our kids and business each day. Try charging your phone away from the bedroom overnight and giving yourself space to wind down before bed with something calming like reading, meditation or stretching. And avoid regular late night working and commit to a couple of early nights each week because those extra hours will significantly improve your productivity, mindset and energy levels.
Ultimately, being a parent is far from plain sailing and being an entrepreneur is definitely not the ‘easy’ choice, which might put some parents off from taking the self-employed route. Why make an already intense situation even more so?!
However, as the expression goes, “You aren’t starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” And I genuinely believe that parenthood prepares you for entrepreneurship in such a profound way and in fact, the two paths complement each other beautifully.
Where to find me:
About your author
Tamsin is an Accredited Transformational Life Coach (a.k.a The Parenthood Coach) and a Mum of two, and her mission in business is to empower Mums to rule life while raising kids.
She supports unfulfilled Mums who are fed up with being stuck in a rut and have lost their grasp on who they are and what they want from life since becoming a parent.
Through holistic coaching she helps Mums create headspace to untangle their busy minds, reignite their spark and unearth their buried ambitions, so they can step out of the fog of parenthood and create a balanced, joyful life unapologetically on their terms.
You can find out more about Tamsin and her business here.
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