I think I am trying to make business ideas work to avoid the hardness of motherhood. If I have these businesses to work on I can use them as an excuse for not doing hard things in motherhood. I justify the clutter in my home because I’m trying to grow a business. Maybe the business mess is easier to try and clean up, but really I’m just spinning my wheels and avoiding diving into my life mess.
I wrote those words this past spring when my sweet baby girl was in the beautiful transition phase to toddlerhood.
I’ll probably get a lot of eye rolls for this, but the newborn and baby stages of life were great for me.
As a new mom, I had a baby who slept pretty well at naptime and at night. Diving back into my work and projects was a fairly smooth transition. I obviously didn’t have the same amount of “free” time, but I was still able to focus on growing a business.
I scaled back. My co-host and I quit our successful podcast. I tried to keep focused on being at home and enjoying motherhood. And then I felt a stirring to try something new, and that was how the second podcast came to be.
As I prepared to launch it, I realized I was more focused on email lists, social media posts, new content, and growing my audience than I was my own little family.
I felt frustrated at the end of the day because I felt like I was always choosing between a project that brought in zero dollars or my family.
I know starting a business takes lots of work. Trust me, I know. But what I began to realize was that for me, trying to make something like this work while I had a newish baby at home was not ideal. It was not for me. I forced myself to dig into why I was quitting something, yet again.
I was avoiding the new season we were in. I thought that if I just spent my “free” time trying to grow a business, I was justified in not figuring out our new rhythms and routines. I was justified in avoiding the mountain of too-small baby clothes. I was justified in letting random piles stack up around the house.
I was justified — because I was focused on trying to make waves and do big things!
The mental shift that happens once you become a mom can be hard. It can be hard to accept that while you can try to do “all the things,” it won’t be easy — and one day you’ll have to wake up and say out loud:
I spent a long time telling myself all this energy I was putting into these businesses would be worth it. Focusing on showing others what I was capable of doing was the right thing to do.
In reality, the right thing to do was to focus on what my family needed and how I could provide for them.
I had to embrace this new season of life that we were in. I had to dive into the mess I was avoiding. I had to accept that focusing on my family first was the best and most important thing to do. Even if it meant that some days I felt underwhelmed with what my life looked like.
I was able to see there was a way for me to support my family and have time where I was Jen, and not just mom.
I had to clean up the piles of physical clutter around my house, which then left me the space to focus on the mental clutter. It was spring cleaning for both my home and my brain. And it gave me incredible focus and clarity.
I finally recognized that spending my “free” time focusing on a business that had zero return for my family wasn’t going to work in this season — BUT, what would work was going back into more of a support role for someone else’s business. This would give me the opportunity to use my creativity and apply the business ideas I loved to study. It would also allow me to provide for my family in a monetary way.
I think too often in life we end up focusing on the wrong things or the less important things.
You really see where your focus is and if is truly benefiting you and your family. The scary and hard part is seeing the flaws and being willing to shift your focus to better your family and, in the long run, better yourself.
Most days I feel like I am no longer running away and avoiding the mental and physical clutter of my life. I’m learning how to tackle it.
I’m learning how to see the signs of too much focus in one area.
Too much focus on work means too much chaos and clutter at home.
Too much focus on our home means anxiety about work projects.
Keeping myself focused on what matters each day is what allows me to continue to find that delicate balance of doing both (not to be confused with doing it all!).
MotherHustle panelist Jen Hatzung is a business strategist + podcaster (podcast currently on hiatus) who lives in Norfolk, VA with her naval officer husband, toddler and dachshund. She can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) while making lists and strategizing when she can fit in her next run. She currently co-leads her local MOPS group, has her own direct sales business selling lipstick, and does the preschool/naptime hustle helping small business owners with their online engagement. If there is any time left in the day she has her nose in a book or watching HGTV. Find her on Instagram.
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