My week didn’t start off as I hoped. Tommy my youngest child, cried that morning that his stomach hurt and he didn’t want to go school. At first, I was little skeptical because it’s not uncommon for him to feign illness before school in hopes that I will let him stay home and he can play video games. I usually don’t, but that day I relented because he looked pale. To complicate matters further, I had a client appointment booked that morning where I couldn’t get ahold of the client and my husband couldn’t take time off work, so I ended up bringing my son with me to the office, and he promptly threw up on the way in the car. My son and his illness sidetracked everything I had planned for this day and this caused me a high level of frustration and guilt. Mom guilt is truly the worst.
That day prompted me to record this video and talk about the other side of being an entrepreneur. As much as I am a cheerleader for entrepreneurs and being in charge of your career, your freedom, your money, etc. there is another side to entrepreneurship – particularly if you are a parent or a caretaker.
This was a big theme for me this past year. My mom’s cancer reoccurred after thirty years and as her primary caretaker I took care of her until she passed away. Losing a parent, my mom, was devastating on a personal level but it was also hard as a business owner. I was conflicted all the time because I was trying to keep up everything with my business but couldn’t. I had to turn away clients. I had to reschedule things. My mom was my priority and I had to try and keep things as normal as I could my kids and husband.
Needless to say, this has been a difficult year, perhaps the most of ever had, but it also taught me a few things.
1) You need a safety net
You need to have a financial safety net that will carry you for a couple of months in case something happens. Having this cushion will ease the stress a bit while you are preoccupied, ill or unable to work.
2) Look at your beliefs
I was trying to keep up pace as a mother and as a daughter and I quickly realized that was not possible. Part of this was guilt – as a mom and as a daughter. I had to sit down and examine what this guilt was about. Guilt is a manmade thing – we are not born with guilt.
As a mom I had to examine my expectations and realize that I am not the same mom that my mom was in the 1970s. My mom stayed home and I found myself responding as my mom would in the old days. I had to realize this and allow myself to respond differently.
The same applied to my expectations as a daughter. My mom needed me a lot, but I had a lot of guilt around my mom and what I believed I should be doing as her daughter – and that caused me a lot of stress.
3) Find support
Find yourself a good support group of entrepreneurial friends. They will understand. They will give you the emotional support you need, whether virtually or in- person.
4) Examine your beliefs around what you’re trying to accomplish
Have you scheduled too much? If you have too much on your plate, personally and professionally, you will burn yourself out. Take a look at what you are trying to accomplish and if there are things that can be taken away that will help you – let it go!