“Just one book. ONE book.”
I was putting my daughters to bed on a weeknight. It was about two years ago, so the girls were 3 and 5. And if you’ve ever had a 3 and/or a 5-year-old, then you know: bedtime isn’t the easiest time of the day.
“No, Mommy doesn’t have time. Mommy has work to do.”
My husband was, at the time, at a job where he worked until 8 or 9 p.m. each night. Add on his 25-minute commute, and the bedtime shenanigans were (hopefully) way over when he got home. It stunk for him: he didn’t get to see the girls. It really stunk for me:
Pickup. Dinner. Baths. Stories. Bed. Pleasegotosleep. Pleasegotosleep. PLEASEGOTOSLEEP.
I was at an interesting point in growing my business: I had a lot of business, but no business plan.
I was taking on all types of clients and marketing work, and while I was outsourcing some of it, the majority of both the client work and the business minutiae fell on my shoulders. And I was accepting some crazy turnaround times, so I really had to use every moment I had to get shit done.
So every day, it was the same. I would stop my work in order to do the whole kid routine, and while I was doing that routine, I was constantly thinking and stressing about the work that I still had to complete that night.
During dinner, I was brainstorming headlines. During baths, I was answering emails. During storytime, I was anxious to just end it and head back to my office.
I was with my kids, but I wasn’t present.
And it made me feel … awful. I knew that while I had created a business that allowed me to be physically present for my kids each day — to put them on the bus, and pick them up, and put them to bed — I was as mentally present as I would have been if I was still working at an agency and spending long hours away from them.
This wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be able to cook dinner and focus on the recipe. I wanted to be able to read my kids bedtime stories and actually listen to the words I was saying. I wanted to be able to put my laptop away after my self-appointed work hours and CHOOSE whether it would open again or not that evening.
My husband accepted a new job that allowed him to be home in time for dinner — which made a HUGE impact on our collective family lives. And I changed my business model to one where my family came first, always. I got super honest with what I needed for boundaries, and what I needed to clear the mental clutter that kept me from staying in the moment when I was with my children.
It took some time, and while it’s not perfect, recognizing that that true, limitless HUSTLE was not what I wanted — and not what would make me or my family thrive — was a critical step for my business. I needed to add the MOTHER back in — and not just add it in, I needed to lead with it.
If you’re struggling — like I was, mama — to build a family-focused business, fear not. This month, we’re going to be exploring the concept of PRESENCE, and what it means in motherhood and in entrepreneurship.
Some of the things we will be exploring:
We want to hear from you, mama. We want to know what presence means to you. So join in on Facebook, or Instagram — or email me to chat about it — and let’s give ourselves the present of presence this holiday season.
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She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.
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