Have you ever felt like a crap mum?
I know I have. Multiple times. And my baby is only 9 months old.
What is it about motherhood that kicks every bit of self doubt into overdrive? And guilt. Don’t get me started on the guilt that pangs with every cry, every whimpering look and every thought around wanting to do something for yourself. Umm someone please help, the hospital didn’t flick on my selfless switch. I still think about my own wants and needs and now I am worried – am I a terrible mother?
I found the early months with my baby were filled with many delicious and awe inspiring moments but they were punctuated with some real emotional and physical struggles. The cocktail of ‘OMG what the hell do we do, is this normal? Google it!’ mixed in with the hormonal crazies and a side of broken sleep gave me a hangover worse than what any amount of vodka could do.
And now while the physical pain isn’t there, sleep is again our friend and we see this amazing little being grow and develop in so many incredible ways, the guilt remains. In fact, now it has intensified with the plans to send her off to childcare two days a week while I continue to work on my business. Even when you know you are making the right decision for your baby, your family and yourself, these decisions still seem realllllly hard.
I have found that out of all of my roles as a wife, mother, business owner, family member and friend, the hardest two to juggle have been work and baby. Never have two things seemed so polar opposite and yet so intertwined. You certainly don’t stop being a mother when you sit at a desk and you work so you can provide your family with food, shelter and a certain lifestyle. At times, it can feel like a real boxing match trying to get these two responsibilities to align.
I started my own business when my bub was three months old. It kind of feels crazy now but it honestly just started out as a blog and an idea for some work that would give me flexibility and grocery money and ended up growing into a fully fledged business with clients well into next year. One day I found myself hit a real bottom, sick with mastitis (again) and feeling guilty that I was typing on a computer rather than staring at my sleeping baby, frustrated at how much there was to do, how much I wanted to do and how incapable I felt compared what I could achieve pre-bub.
I reached out to a group of business mums I knew online and after telling them what was going on, the loving support that I received was remarkable. Four women in particular gave me such helpful, warm and genuine advice that it completely changed my outlook, and in turn, my life.
From this experience, I just knew that there were other mums like me out there who needed to hear the same messages I did. In fact, I’ve met many of them out and about and our conversations have always ended the same way. Each one has told me they are glad I actually said something because they have felt the exact same way too but have never admitted it before.
If you can relate to my story then I want to tell you this:
It is OK to want to go back to work.
It is OK to have your own ambitions and dreams.
It is OK to want more so you can build an ideal life for you and your family.
You CAN do both well and still be kind to yourself.
You CAN navigate the challenges and bumps in the road in an empowered way.
You CAN inspire your children through your actions.
You CAN be a happy mum and kick ass business woman without feeling like you’re doing a half assed job.
You CAN involve your children in your business without feeling unprofessional.
You CAN use your children as your inspiration to help your businesses grow.
You CAN have a soulful and deep connection with your children no matter how many hours you work.
And most importantly, we believe in you.
Some days I still feel so overwhelmed that only chocolate, a sad movie and some tears will fix it but I know that there are other mums out there who understand and have my back, as I have theirs. We’d love to have your back too.
If you would like to hear the advice that changed my outlook on being a working mum, please come along to ‘Finding Balance – Babies and Business’ at the Park Hyatt Melbourne on August 17. Our soulful speakers will share their journeys as successful mumpreneurs and discuss common baby challenges faced by working mothers. Learn practical ways to bring balance into your busy day and connect with like-minded mums over a scrumptious afternoon tea. Tickets can be purchased here and all Mum’s Lounge readers will receive a 10% discount using the code MUMSLOUNGE.