First of all, being a working parent is HARD; juggling family time, me time, and work issues is really difficult and I think we are all pretty strong for doing it and need to give ourselves more credit!
Every parent out there has suffered mum/dad guilt at some point and it can be for all different reasons. The one I struggle with is being a working mum. Do I work too much? Is running/ building a business unrealistic with a toddler and a baby on the way? Does Jaxx see me as ‘always on my phone or laptop’? As a parent, all sorts can run through my head. This is possibly the one thing in parenting I struggle with more than anything.
Finding motivation can sometimes be really difficult. If I’ve been up in the night a few times (easily done with children), there is nothing I want more than to have a nice lie-in, which is rarely something I get to do. It makes me laugh and also makes my blood boil slightly when I hear people with 0 children say ‘we all have the same 24 hours in a day’. I have read it in so many business books and blogs and as soon as I research I think ‘yep, knew it, no children’. Of course, we all have 24 hours in the day, I’m not disputing that BUT as a parent, we have no choice but to dedicate some of our time to our children – which is not a bad thing! Whether it’s cooking tea, the school run, swimming lesson etc…sometimes it may only be 30 minutes here and there but those few lots of 30 minutes can add up to a few hours and a lot can be done in a few hours when it comes to running a business. So yes, my nightmare of a business quote is ‘we all have the same 24 hours in a day’. I used to beat myself up about it and think I should be doing more, managing my time better, but no I shouldn’t. My routine works for me, my family and the business, so that’s fine.
I recently created a vision board that sits straight in front of me in my office. I have a small section for business growth but I have the majority of it dedicated to what I want for the family and this really helps me to keep my vision clear and the mum guilt at bay. A lot of people say to me ‘is it too much stress?’ or ‘I’m just happy making my money and leaving my work at work’. Sometimes I do think would that be easier, but then I look at my vision board and realise I am doing it for all the right reasons (or what I feel are the right reasons for us). I’m lucky enough not to have to go out to work on the weekends, my son can attend our holiday clubs, I get to drop him off and pick him up from school every day (which I know a lot of working parents would love to be able to do) and it’s all these little things that are on my vision board. So all those 9.30 pm emails I draft or the phone calls I take in the car on the way to a play area are and will most definitely be worth it.
When I decided to start School of Play I had to think long and hard about the amount of work the business was going to need, the money I would potentially lose and the time I would have to sacrifice. I didn’t have just myself to think about, I had a child, a mortgage to pay, a car and everything else on top. Luckily the pros outweighed the cons, and my most significant reason for doing it was Jaxx. He is my ‘reason why’ and will be even when I am grey and old; this is something I think every parent can relate to. There may be 500 other reasons why you do or don’t do things but your main reason is your child, this is also something I don’t think you give a second thought until you are a parent; parenting takes dedication more than anything I’ve ever given my time to before, it isn’t something you can give up on, and at times it does take its toll on you, but as he gets older he understands that at this moment in time I have to work just like he has to go to school and I make sure mine and his time together is just us. I will switch off my phone, put my laptop down and we have our time with no distractions, and we love every second of it.