Let’s get down to business: momming ain’t easy. No matter how much we love it, or our littles, it is a marathon that we run every day. Over and over again. And whenever we think we’ve seen it all or done it all, something pops up to give us another challenge.
Just like owning a business.
Yes, you read that right. Momming is like being a business owner. We may be solo CEOs or share boardroom duties with a partner, but there are more similarities to being a mom and being a business owner than people realize.
I happen to be both. I’m a mom, I own my business, I work hours that work around my son’s schedule (mostly) and I work from home much of the time, juggling work/growing my business/taking care of my clients/taking care of my family/fitting in time for myself. (Well, if we’re really honest, that last one tends to get overlooked more than not, but that’s another post.)
Before COVID put so much on pause, I was asked by the National Association of Women Business Owners San Antonio to help judge their 2020 Women Business Owners Awards. After more than 90 nominations were whittled down to 17 finalists, we spent the day interviewing the finalists to select the award winners. That meant a day with an amazing group of fellow business owners hearing from a group of successful nominees, all business owners and entrepreneurs, many of whom were moms themselves.
As I listened to business owner after business owner, I realized the lessons they were sharing stretched beyond the conference room. I was awed by what they’d each built, how they approached their businesses and the insights they shared.
I walked out of that room with eight lessons I think all moms need to know to be a #BossMom, no matter what your employment status may be. And in the times we’re facing, good reminders we all need to hear.
1. Give yourself grace.
We all make mistakes. We all run out of time. We learn from our failures. Woman after woman mentioned this. Yet we all focus on the failure and let that negative take over. Find the silver lining no matter how bad failure is. Give yourself the grace to be wrong, to make a mistake and try again.
2. Teach shared values.
How do you come together when there’s a problem? What’s important to you as a mom or to your family as a whole? Decide what your values are and live them. Whether your family unit is 2 or 10, values are the bedrock that binds. Stay true to those values no matter what you’re facing and you’ll end up where you need to be.
3. Ask for help.
This is such a tough one. We’re moms. We know all of the answers (or so everyone says). We’re supposed to be able to do it all (yeah, right). At least that’s what the fairy tale says. Perfect moms who can do it all are like unicorns: They don’t exist. It is not a sign of weakness or imperfection to ask for help. It’s a sign of humanity. There is no shame in not knowing everything or in needing help. So ask. No one is judging.
4. Trust yourself.
Another challenge for any mom who has that constant, questioning narrative of “What if … what about … should I …?” in her head. We so often lack confidence in our choices. We so often worry that we’re not doing the right thing. We don’t trust our gut, we don’t stand in our own expertise as a mom. You know yourself. You know your kids. You know your family. Trust that and trust yourself.
5. You’re good enough.
Silence your inner critic and be comfortable with who you are. Stop wondering if you’re enough. Quit questioning if you’re doing enough. You are good enough. Even on the worst days, you can handle it. It may not always be pretty. It may not always match the image we had in our heads. But it is good enough.
6. Everything is relationship-based.
This one is simple, but we overlook it. The world works in relationships. Mother to child. Partner to partner. Child to teacher. Sibling to sibling. Mother to mother. Friend to friend. No matter where you look, everything boils down to relationships. Keeping those relationships strong makes the world go ‘round. Nurture them, feed them, and put them first. That includes your relationship with yourself.
7. Whatever you put in is what you’re going to get out.
I think this is a tough one. So often we feel that we’re pouring ourselves into others: our kids, our spouses, you name it. There’s a lot of giving to motherhood. And it doesn’t always feel like there’s a lot of gets. We get worn out. To me, this one says more about our relationships with ourselves than with others. We need to nurture ourselves as much as we nurture others if we want to be the best we can be for everyone around us.
8. Take responsibility for the good as well as the bad.
We’re so ready to own our mistakes. But do we let ourselves own our successes too? When was the last time you paused to congratulate yourself on how fantastic your kids are, what a great mom you are, how strong your relationship with your partner is, how good you are at anything? We’re so fast to find flaws, but we need to take time to own the good, too.