Let’s be honest! Being a mom is hard, being an entrepreneur is hard. Playing both roles is hard AF! I’m a mom of 3, working fulltime as an Educator while running my own businesses. I just entered year 4 as an entrepreneur and it has taught me to always be on my A–game and to always show up. My customers never know what’s going on behind the scenes and quite frankly I don’t think they care, they just want their items that they just paid for shipped out and delivered as promised.
But let’s take it back a bit! My first son was born in 2013 and I was torn between leaving my son at daycare and having to fulfill my duties as a teacher. I remember constantly being worried throughout the day about what he was doing, how he was doing and how much kisses I was going to give him when I picked him up later in the afternoon. Not to mention I was also a Grad student completing my Master’s Degree so some days were longer than usual.
Even with the happy smiles and cuddles that welcomed me as I got home after work and school every night, I worried about the unanswered emails I had to respond to before returning to work, grading students' work and internalizing my lesson plans for the next day.
I wondered what people would think and that was honestly the beginning of my mental pain I was desperately trying to demolish.
I had this beautiful baby boy but worried about deadlines, lessons plans and so much more. I became hell-bent on performing at my absolute best. I replied to every single email I received within a few minutes and was working unsociable hours whilst my son lay asleep in his basinet beside me. I could feel myself drowning in my own thoughts. My mental health was suffering and I was running myself to the ground without even realizing it. The mom and work-life balance didn’t exist for me and I didn’t know what to do. Not to mention I was still young and still wanted to enjoy some sort of social life with my friends.
It wasn’t until a year after I had my second child – my daughter in 2017, that I realized I couldn’t go through all of that again – the mental and physical agony. But nothing changed! I still kept pushing and fighting through it all to allow both roles to coexist!
Then months before the pandemic, my third child was born- my 2nd daughter in 2019. I decided that this time, things would be different. I decided that I would relinquish some of that control in my own time. I did that by quitting my job! Yep! I quit! I felt a big relief and came to terms with myself that I had to figure this career thing out! So I did and decided to start my own business. Little did I know life as an entrepreneur and mom would be just as hard as working a 9 to 5.
When most people talk about entrepreneurship, most of the discussions revolve around the sense of fulfillment or satisfaction they get from building something out of nothing or something that belongs solely to them. While this may be true, there’s another side of being an entrepreneur and that’s the price you pay. And believe it or not one of the biggest skills I think most entrepreneurs have to master is their emotional management. Sometimes the only time we are honest with our own emotional state is when we have the time, space, and safety to release it. Some things that have worked for me include meditation, journaling and when things got beyond my control I even tried therapy. Calling friends or family up to vent didn’t work for me because many of them weren’t entrepreneurs and couldn't sympathize with how I felt. When I started making friends with more women who were also moms and entrepreneurs, life became a bit more relatable.
Being an entrepreneur gave me a way to create some separation from others’ emotional states and the work I do for my business. Running a business involves dealing with people, customers, vendors, etc. And not to mention social media. If social media is part of running your business then using social media brings with it the potential for 24/7 emotional labor. Sometimes I honestly don’t have the energy or time to present myself in a way. Sometimes it feels easy and natural, sure. But other times, it’s just too much. It’s just too easy to lose yourself in the midst of all of that. It also becomes easy to lose yourself in the midst of constantly working until you’re burnt out. I learned over the years that it’s best to operate from a place of balance. I became reflective and aware and intune with my mental and my physical state. Whenever I felt burnt out and imbalanced, I knew it was time to take a break whether it be an early night, a day off with no work, a weekend trip somewhere or whatever it may be. Self-care looks different for everyone. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It affects how we think, feel, and act.
Taking care of our mental health is essential for overall well-being. Taking care of your mental health is IMPORTANT! Be patient, mental health is a journey, not a destination!