It's an issue that needs attention; it needs a proper perspective and a means to measure success accurately. Otherwise, too many entrepreneurs will fail to achieve their dreams. I'm speaking, of course, about what I call the Superwoman syndrome. It's plaguing mom entrepreneurs who are striving to build a business while parenting full time at home. Client after client, email after email, these suffering women tell me that they are: "not good enough, failing at life and business, guilt-ridden, and exhausted." Of course, none of these beliefs are true; these hard-working moms have simply lost perspective due to utter fatigue.
These women have built 7-figure businesses from home with small children present, all without a cape. All of them experienced exhaustion and other symptoms brought on by my the overwhelming tasks of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Yet, they found ways to manage it all and so can you.
One of the most common issues I come across is the suffering of guilt around splitting time between family and work. Of course, there's guilt, you're only human. "I still feel guilt and I'm almost seven years in the entrepreneurship game," says Uyo Okebie-Eichelberger, founder, and CEO of You! Lingerie and Preggo Leggings. "You feel like you may miss important milestones in your children's lives in the pursuit of business success. It certainly doesn't help when your kids say to you 'mommy you are always working,' and their amazing ability to pull on your heart strings and mom-guilt sets in."
The difference is all in how you manage these feelings. Nalie Lee-Wen, CFO of The PPA Group, has this advice for managing the guilt: www.ThePPAGroup.com "Make sure the quality time that you spend with your kids is more valued than the quantity of time," she says. "We could have spent half a day watching cartoons or a couple of quality hours exploring the Space Center where I helped her blow the biggest bubble of her life."
One aspect of guilt is feeling as though you're not good enough. You are more than enough. Remember that you are handling so much more than the worker who goes to an office away from home each day. "I tell myself that I am a good person. This may sound silly, but it is real," says Clara Capano, owner of Capano Consulting. "I have to believe that I am a good person and mom. I work really hard to be present in each thing I do so that that person feels the connection and importance and I can have an impact."
These moms all agree: organization, prioritization, avoiding the perfectionist's standards, and taking good care of yourself are three important keys to success. "For me, applying Pareto's 80/20 rule, focus on the 20% that yields and drives your 80% output and happiness, has been game changing," says Okebie-Eichelberger. "Focusing only on high impact activities best allows me to drive the greatest results has been paramount, I outsourced everything else." For Okebie-Eichelberger this meant housework too. "This allowed me not to sweat the small stuff and drive tangible results both in my home and business. It became about working smarter, not necessarily harder."
Saying yes to just about everything will really get you in trouble. "Say no. This is the biggest lesson of all," says Capano. "I had to learn that when I agreed to one thing I had to say no to another. I always ask myself: Does this make good business sense? And, if I agree to do this, what am I agreeing not to do?" Capano says to avoid any attempts at perfectionism. "I am not a perfectionist, this allows me to get things done rather than analysis-paralysis. Instead, I am fun and don't take things too seriously."
"I had to reject the idea that the golden standard was that I needed to be both super-mom and super-business-woman who does everything perfectly right," says Okebie-Eichelberger. "The fact is, there is no one right way when it comes to raising children."
Communication is another critical and often missing component to maintaining some semblance of balance. "Communication with your spouse is integral," says Lee-Wen. "I made sure that my spouse understood that my work was just as important. We discussed our roles in the home and where I needed him to take over in the home due to my work schedule. Both adults had to agree to be honest and address any schedule that wasn't working."
"Be kind to yourself, you have to do your best and give forgiveness to yourself," says Capano. "Be honest about what you can give each day, and each week, and openly communicate that to others."
For parents who are more free-spirited and less structured, keeping a schedule can be difficult, yet the acts of prioritization and scheduling are life savers. "You have to plan your week and make sure your core activities are in there. What we schedule and make a priority gets done. I start with my 2 biggest priorities: Time with my son and time for self-care," says Capano.
You're not alone, you're simply tired, overwhelmed, and lacking a realistic perspective. Take inventory of all that you do and understand your limitations as a human being. When you follow the wisdom and advice of those who have walked in your shoes and have succeeded in spite of it, you too can achieve your goals and achieve your dreams.