5 things my kids say make them feel more important than my business:
How to get rid of mom guilt as a mompreneur
Being a mompreneur can be so hard at times. Especially as Latter-day Saint moms. The mom guilt of wondering if spending time growing a business is damaging our relationship with our children is real! After hearing some of your comments and concerns surrounding this, I asked my own kids what they do and don’t like about my business. I think we can all learn a lot from their honest responses.
In the last week or so I have gotten four emails, a couple of IG comments and three Marco Polo’s from you, telling me that you want to quit. That you’re overwhelmed. That you’re not sure you can do this. That you don’t think you’re cut out for it.
I don’t know what has brought some of these feelings up, but it has been really interesting to me that I have heard from so many of you recently and I really want to help you with this concern. It’s a valid concern. It’s a real concern. It’s hard being a mompreneur, especially when you have so many good things that you want to be doing in your life as Latter-day Saint women.
An important thing to consider if you’re feeling mom guilt
I would invite you to follow Sarah’s advice that she gave in a previous post:
Ask God if this is where you’re supposed to be. Does he want you in this online space?
In addition, and maybe even while you’re asking Him, think about what your business is doing for you? What God is most concerned about is our development. It’s His work and His glory to bring to pass the eternal life of his children. That includes you.
Is having your business bringing you closer to Him? Is it taking you further away? If it is making you more like Him – because you are having to confront weaknesses in yourself, you’re having to change, learn to accept and love yourself, learning how to be confident and put yourself out there, putting others’ needs ahead of your own, focusing on what your people need. If it’s helping you rely more on Him, pray more often and spend more time consulting with Him, then those are all really good things.
If it is pulling you away from Him, making you frustrated, making you not trust Him, making you angry, spend less time praying and in your scriptures, then something needs to change. That might be pulling back on your business for awhile, but it also might be to change how you are working on your business.
How can you involve God more? I want you to think about that and spend some time consulting with your Heavenly parents about whether or not this business is the right place for you to be.
If you do that, but it’s still hard (because having that answer doesn’t make it easy), you also need a mentor. A friend, someone who is just a few steps ahead of you in the business world, who is willing to be your buddy, to just stand by you and help you through this and you can do the same for them.
Tech Check can help you figure some of the not so fun stuff out
I want to invite you to join Tech Check for that reason. There are fantastic women in there. Yes, I am there. I am a few steps ahead of you in business and I will support you and answer your questions; that happens in Tech Check. I help you figure out where to start, what to do, what not to do, what to buy, what not to buy, all sorts of questions.
In addition, one of the surprise benefits of Tech Check, has been the relationships that these women have built with each other. Not just for collaboration purposes, although that’s part of it. It’s also because they feel understood.
Your next door neighbor might be a wonderful woman and a dear dear friend. But if she doesn’t have an online business, there are aspects of your life that she can not fully understand and empathize with that the women in this Tech Check group can. They can be your cheerleaders. They can understand, they can be a listening ear. It has been a wonderful thing to watch happen.
So consider joining Tech Check.
Is Your Business Hurting Your Kids?
Today I want to focus on one specific thing that makes us want to quit or wonder if we should, as mompreneurs. And that problem is:
Am I hurting my kids by having this business?
That’s a heavy question and it’s one that’s definitely worth asking. Am I hurting my kids by having this business? Oftentimes we’re afraid to ask that question. We don’t want to hurt our kids, especially in our Latter-day Saint culture. We are told constantly that our most important role in life is to be a mother. And I’m afraid that, sometimes, what we hear instead of ‘most important role,’ we hear ‘only role.’
That is not what our Heavenly parents have said. They have not said that your only role on this earth is to be a mother. They have said that it is the most important role. So I do not believe that the automatic answer to that question is ‘Yes. If I have a business, I am hurting my kids because I’m taking away from time with my kids.’
I don’t believe that’s the automatic answer. I believe it is more nuanced than that. You need to dig deep with your Father in heaven and ask, “can I have this business and still fulfill my most important role as a mother right now? Can I do that?”
The mom guilt moment that inspired this post
I want to give you some tips, if you’ve decided that you want to try. I was talking on Marco Polo with one of you over the weekend. This conversation is what actually prompted this episode. I had a couple of Marco Polo conversations going on, and we will address some of those in future episodes.
One conversation, in particular, was about this topic:
Am I damaging my kids? Am I being a good mom?
My friend said, “I haven’t played a game with my kids in weeks.” Well, is that the definition of a good mom? I don’t know. Maybe that’s something your kids need, maybe not. But, she was in tears. She was really struggling with this. It was a real struggle.
We happened to be on a family vacation and I had all my kids in the car with me and my husband. So, I said to them, “Hey guys, I have a friend and she’s struggling with whether or not she should keep her business. I want to know what your thoughts are. Do you feel like me having a business makes me a bad mom? Do you feel like my business is more important than you? Do you feel like you get enough time for me?”
Their answers to that question were:
“Mom, we love your business. We love that you do this. It’s really, really fun for us to see you do this.” And then they said, “But yes, sometimes we do feel like it’s more important than us. And sometimes we don’t.”
I said, “Okay. So tell me what I do that makes you feel like you are more important than my business and tell me what I do that makes you feel like you are less important than my business. I have their responses for you here today.
5 Things You Can Do to help Ditch the Mom Guilt
Set Work Hours
#1 – Their number one response, that was immediate from all four of them, was “you have work hours.” They love that I have work hours. It makes them feel loved. When I started structuring my time, they felt so much more safe because they knew when I would be available. And they knew that when I was available, I was 100% available.
Before I set work hours, I was half working and half being mom – all the time. Blah. They never really got 100% of me. Once I set work hours, they knew that when it wasn’t my work hours, I was 100% theirs. This allowed them to be better at letting me work because they weren’t afraid that they weren’t going to have me. They knew that their time was coming.
Post your schedule in an easy to see place
#2 – Along those same lines, after I gave this advice to that person, I was talking to her on Marco Polo and she came back a few days later and she said, “okay, I’ve set work hours and guess what? My 13 year old son asked for me to put the schedule on my door. So when I’m in the room during my work hours with my door closed, I put up a schedule. So he knows exactly when I’m going to be taking a break and when he is going to have time with me.”
Her work hours might vary a little bit, day to day, and she has that very clearly posted for her kids. They can look up at that paper and say, “okay, mom will be out in an hour and I can talk to her then.”
Use Code Words
#3 – Tip number three is to have a code word. I have kids who struggle with depression & anxiety. Sometimes they have some really deep emotional needs that feel very, very urgent to them. I do not want to ignore those. I do not want to tell them “you can’t come in under any circumstance during my work hours.” So, they have a code word and they are told that they cannot use this code word more than a couple of times a week.
They actually use it far less than that, but they can come in and just say the code word and then I know this is an emergency in their mind. They know if they have a physical emergency, like I need to take someone to the emergency room, then they can come in anytime. But if it is a personal, emotional emergency for them, then they could come in and say their code word, and I will drop whatever I’m doing. Even if I’m in the middle of recording a podcast episode, I will drop whatever I’m doing and I will turn around and help them with that issue.
Now, I do ask them to rate their problems on a scale of 1 to 5, and they can only use their code word if it’s up at a 4 or 5. Meaning, they really, really can’t solve it themselves.
They have lots of tools from therapists and from me that they can use to solve some of these problems. But if they really get to that level where it’s up at a 4 or 5 and they can’t solve it, then they use their code word.
Have a Family Council
#4 – The next thing my kids said that they really, really love is that we have family councils and talk about what I’m doing in my business. They know what I’m currently working on. They know why I’m working on it. They know who I’m trying to help and how the product I’m creating, or whatever it is I’m doing, is going to help those people. That helps them feel more secure because they know mom’s out there helping people.
One of my daughters really struggles with the idea of women and the priesthood. It really bothers her that women can’t have the priesthood and she feels like she’s worthless. We’re working on that. We’re talking through a lot of that and I’m learning a lot in the process.
One thing that really helped her with my business is when I told her I’m helping other women be seen. I am helping women stand up, own their superpowers, their talents, and use them to help other people. I’m helping them to be seen by lots of people to feel like they are important and she thinks that is absolutely incredible. She is all excited about my business now because she knows that I am helping you. And she is really excited about that. So she feels like she can be supportive of it.
In addition to knowing what I’m working on and why I’m working on it, they also know how long. So, for example, with my recent launch, I told them that I was going to have a two week period where I was going to be working more than I normally did – outside of my typical work hours.
I still tried to get up early instead of working when they were home from school. I did work when they were home from school occasionally, but they knew that this was going to happen and they knew it was limited. They knew it was two weeks. And then we scheduled a vacation right after that. We don’t always do that, but they knew that they were going to get mom, so they were able to manage for that period of time.
That’s why I took that vacation so seriously. Many of you know that my launch did not go as well as I had hoped. Some of the tech didn’t work quite right. I didn’t have recordings. The templates were not uploading exactly like I wanted them to. That was embarrassing and hard.
We’re going to talk about that in another post. I really, really wanted to just get it all fixed, but I had promised my kids that it would only last two weeks and then they would have me. So I kept that promise and I asked you to wait for me and to be patient for me. And I’m working on fixing those things now.
Plan one on one time with your kids
#5 – Number five, my kids said Dates. My kids have a weekly date with me. I have four kids. One of them has a date on Monday, one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, one on Thursday. They get me for an hour and we can go do whatever they want.
Once a month, we can spend money. The other three weeks of the month the date has to be something free, but I will do whatever they want. We can play the Switch. We can play a board game, we can go get ice cream. We can go for a walk. We can train our dog together. I can do their nails. I can give them a foot massage. They can choose anything. And they love these dates.
One caveat for one on one time with your kids
They said that the one thing that really makes them hate my business and feel like it is more important than them is when I cancel those dates to work. Even during that two week period, I asked them if we could skip our dates for those couple of weeks. They all said yes, but come to find out that actually made them feel unloved because that is so important to them.
That was really, really good information for me to learn this weekend that, I have got to stay committed to those dates because it allows them to feel like they are more important than my work and when I don’t do them, it’s damaging them. So that was good for me to figure out.
So the five tips:
- set work hours
- post your schedule
- have a code word
- have family council
- have dates with your kids
The Goodness Squad Highlight – Joy Manning from Play With Joy
MISTY: All right, let’s take a break for our mini-commercial here. I want to tell you about my friend Joy. I have known Joy for many, many years, but we were not close. I knew her brother when I was a consultant for Thrive Life. He was also a consultant. He and his wife helped train me. Joy was a consultant, in a partnership with her father. So we knew each other, but we were just casual acquaintances.
Last year she reached out when I started Designed For Goodness and said, “Can you help me? Can you help me get a business off the ground?” And I have to tell you, Joy is one of the hardest workers I have ever known in my life. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does. She has done everything I have recommended. She’s just this powerhouse of energy and goodness, and also humility and meekness. She has this incredible combination of such wonderful traits.
Her website is PlayWithJoy.com. She helps parents of autistic children learn to communicate with their children better and to teach their children through play. Isn’t that so fun to be able to help your autistic child through play? And she’s really, really good at it. She has all sorts of ways that she can help you do that, from simple free tips up to paid courses and one-on-one contact with her. She is incredible at this. This is a very unique niche and she’s really good at what she does.
If you know someone with an autistic child, I would highly recommend that you give them Joy’s information, PlayWithJoy.com. Let’s hear what joy has to say.
JOY: My name is Joy Manning at playwithjoy.com and I help parents of young kids with autism learn how to be their child’s best early interventionist. When you have a young child with autism, you always hear how important early intervention is, but you’re not always given a lot of direction on how to do it within your own family.
That’s where I come in. I have been working with people with disabilities since 1998, and I started specializing in working with young kids with autism in 2007. I’m one of those lucky ones that loves what I do. My goal is to empower parents with strategies and techniques to help their child grow. And it’s all done through play. How fun is that?
It’s incredible how powerful play can be. Now you may know some kids that have a difficult time playing, but that’s okay. You can still teach through play. Play is how kids learn. One of the reasons I love what I do is because as parents learn how to play on purpose, they not only help their child progress developmentally, but they also strengthen relationships. And I think that is one of the most important things a parent can do.
A profound lesson from my 11-year-old
I have one more thought that came from my 11 year old daughter. She loves books and she said, “Mom, you should tell your friend that it’s just like a book.” I said, “what do you mean.” And she said, “you know, like there’s chapters in a book and sometimes one of the chapters is really scary and it’s really hard and a lot of bad things happen. And then you come take my book and I can’t keep reading and I don’t like that because I really want to get to the good chapter. But it’s okay. I can go to bed and I can sleep because I know I can read the good chapter the next morning.”
And then she finished with, “Mom, your business is the same. There have been times in your business where I haven’t really loved it. And it hasn’t been very fun and I haven’t loved that you’re doing it. But I know that there’s another chapter coming, another chapter where the bad stuff ends and we have all the good things. The book of our relationship, mom, it doesn’t end when I leave your house, it keeps going. It’s not like if we have one bad chapter, when I’m 11 then all the other chapters are going to be terrible.”
She’s like, “I know you’re a good mom. And I know that even when you mess up and you have a bad chapter that it’s going to be okay, because you’re going to have a good chapter next.”
you are a good mom and you’re kids know it
I want you to remember the words of why my very wise, 11 year old daughter – you are a good mom, your relationship with your kids is not going to end when they leave your house. Just because you have one bad chapter or you have in the past put your business ahead of your kids, or made them feel like they’re less important – it’s okay. That’s just a bad chapter. Just move on to the next chapter and make it a good one.
You’ve got this. If God wants you here and you know that, and you know that your business is going to help you grow as a person and become more like Him, then stay. Find a way, talk to your kids, ask them how you can make them feel more important than your business.
I think even your little kids can answer these questions. I have asked my kids that question multiple times over the years and it has always been very insightful. I encourage you to ask your kids the same question I asked mine:
How can I make you feel more important than my business?
In the next episode, we are going to be sticking with this theme of ‘should I quit?And if I decide not to quit, then what?’ because it’s still overwhelming and hard.
If you feel like nothing you do in your business works, that you spend time and you’re just spinning your wheels, you’re working 20 hours a week and feeling like you’re neglecting your kids and it’s still not working – nothing’s helping, you aren’t making money, you aren’t finding the people you want to help. Then episode #74 is for you, because we are going to talk about what to do when nothing you do seems to be working. I’ll see you there.
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This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can still listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.
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