How To Listen To + Honor Your Inner Mama Self - by Emily Souder for MotherHustle
“What we often forget is that it’s not sustainable for us to keep going, going, going without refueling.”

“Mama, I need some private-cy.”

Me too, Bud, me too.

Ah, yes. One of those times during the day where my son asks for some space and I respect his need for it, all the while knowing that I will not be granted the same breathing room in return. Because he’s three. Because I have a 10-month-old daughter. And because that’s how it’s supposed to be…but damn, can it be exhausting.

Part of the exhaustion stems from catching myself doing business-related tasks and mothering tasks at the same time. Or trying to.

What I notice in those times, not surprisingly, is how both things suffer.

My son likely doesn’t feel heard when he’s trying to tell me about the super-detailed animal race he’s creating, and meanwhile I lose my train of thought 10 times while trying to write an Instagram post. I’m not being mindful of either thing, and I’ve got a foot in both worlds at the same exact time. In those times, the challenges of being an entrepreneur AND primary daytime caregiver for my children becomes that much more apparent. By the end of some days I feel haggard, worn out, used up.

What we often forget is that it’s not sustainable for us to keep going, going, going without refueling.

We’re used to doing so many things at once—as business owners we’ve had to—but at some point we’re going to run out of gas. We need an antidote to fill our tanks and that antidote, in part, is self-care. This seemingly simple solution is one that many of us struggle to prioritize. Sometimes it feels so much easier to care for others and our businesses instead of ourselves.

In The Conscious Entrepreneur, Laura C. Cannon discusses her concept of “work-life integration,” which is different from the “work-life balance” concept we so often hear about. Work-life integration leaves space for us to be our authentic selves in both our business and personal lives, with the understanding that it might not necessarily be the best move to attempt to completely separate the two.

In order to nourish our businesses, we have to nourish ourselves.

Scheduling time for ourselves, the same way we would for a business meeting, is incredibly important. If we can’t show up for ourselves, there is no way for us to keep showing up for the other parts of our lives. We need to feed ourselves, refresh ourselves, recharge. We can look inside and notice the part in there that needs mothering and nourishment. That part inside can be a total badass entrepreneur, but she needs some care, too.

Show compassion for her and show up for her. Say, “I see you. What do you need?”

My inner entrepreneurial badass often craves quiet in the form of a brief meditation in the evening or an hour to read by myself. Sometimes my self-care comes from movement, and I’ve learned that setting aside time to go to the gym every week, at least once, is invaluable to me.

Self-care doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive (though sometimes, getting special treatment can feel downright magical). It just needs to fill you up. Listen to your inner self. Honor her. She works hard!

I love knowing that every time I “feed” myself energy by doing something for just me, that energy gets channeled to the other facets of my life. And it gives me that much more stamina to crawl around on all fours pretending to be a dinosaur. And, you know, run my business. Ahem.


Emily is a mama, author, and clinical social worker in Maryland. She provides therapy to pregnant women and new moms who are experiencing anxiety or depression, or who are just needing some help adjusting to this new time in their lives. She is married, has two children, and loves spending time outdoors. Follow her on Facebook at Nesting Space Therapy LLC and on Instagram at Nesting_Space. Make sure to check out her book here.

Author Photo Credit: Stevie T Photography

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