Happy Mothers Day! I hope it is a happy day for you and that you are a happy mother. A tough ask in today’s climate I think. It’s tricky to be a happy mother, a happy wife, a happy entrepreneur, a happy colleague and a happy boss. So many happys…
I am not a very happy mother at the moment. I feel like I fly off the handle at nothing (“why do I have to ask for you to put your socks on 37 times every day?”), cry at everything (“why do I have to get so mad about the fact I have to ask you to put your socks on 37 times a day”) and I am so tired I can barely muster the energy to get to the park at the end of the road (“please please please just put your socks on so I can take you to do something nice and have wonderful family time!”).
But I also know I’m being unduly harsh on myself and I try to remind myself of this every time I have ‘a moment’. The reality is that I am 36 weeks pregnant with my third child, I’m in my late thirties, I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old and I’m trying to launch a business that I believe in so passionately I could explode. It’s difficult to beam from ear to all the time when I’m constantly bubbling with frustration at not being able to do everything I want to do RIGHT NOW!
In calmer moments, when I am being rational, I know all this is short-term. And really, I have everything to be happy about.
It’s only short term
Of course there are months of sleepless nights ahead (must track down my copy of The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan so my energy levels may be no higher; but I hope that after the first few weeks my hormone levels will at least settle down so I can return to the firm but fair (and very loving!) mum I am when I’m not pregnant.
The battle between family and work will not die down any time soon but that’s OK. I accepted that when I added ‘happy entrepreneur’ to my list of things to be. And what better way to walk in your customers’ shoes than to wear them yourself?! I am desperate to start posting lots of flexible and brilliant jobs and matching freelancers with businesses in need of help, but I know that what’s going to make That Works For Me different will be our platform. I have to remind myself to take my time. And that I will get there eventually.
In the short term, my focus should be on being a happy mother.
I am not the first mother to be harsh on myself. Not the first to feel bad for having such a big dream whilst doing this gargantuan thing called motherhood. Becoming a mother does something to our brains.
Happy Mother, Happy Professional
My own mum always said that life stops being about you and starts being about someone else and she claimed she could always tell within seconds of meeting someone whether they had children or not. I never really understood how but since becoming a mum myself, I know that it’s the guilt that gives us away. We find it much harder to talk proudly about our non-child related dreams and aspirations.
We should not do this. It’s OK for us to happy mothers and happy professionals or entrepreneurs.
Slowly, we are turning this around. It is becoming acceptable to be a great businesswoman and a great mother. There are lots more role models for us to look up to and people who are removing taboos. Happy mothers who are doing their thing publicly and confidently and reminding us that we can be both a mum and something else! Here are some of my favourites:
- Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) – flexible working connoisseur, childcare costs campaigner, radio show presenter, TED Talk-er….she’s a million things. Primarily a mother (the clue is in the name) but also a business woman who shouts loudly and proudly about how we can work and be mothers.
- Vicki Psarias (The Honest Mum) – I recently read her book and she is really heartfelt and honest (obvs!) about still having her own dreams and pursuing them aggressively. Instead of feeling guilt, she is upfront and proud and has a whole chapter dedicated to this.
- Sam Faiers – I love this lady. Whilst we can never know completely, she seems to be a lovely person and a lovely mummy, who has capitalised on her nice personality and done some lovely things with it. Her and Big Paul (makes me chuckle every time) do most of their own childcare and Sam in particular really promotes the Working Mum image – breastmilk leakage and all
- Frankie Tortora (Doing It For the Kids) – I first saw Frankie at Pregnant Then Screwed Live on one of the panels complete with baby in sling. We’ve since spoken on the phone (around baby naps) and I’ve listened to her podcast (baby in background). I love that she’s so public about it and so brazenly a mother in such an upfront and transparent way. Her ‘why would you hide it?’ attitude is one we could all take inspiration from.
There are countless others. So many of my own friends are confident in their choices whether it’s full time work, no work or somewhere in between. But there are so many that aren’t. And it’s to those gals that I want to say ‘it’s OK’! We’re allowed to dream! We’re allowed to do things that don’t revolve around our children. And we’re allowed to talk about our children at work. We’re allowed to be happy mothers!
Happy Mothers Day
This is my ‘Happy Mothers Day’ to you. My reminder that the great balancing act struggle is real but it is possible for us to be happy all round – to get where we want to be, do what we want to be doing and be good and happy mums along the way. Flexible working can make this happen. We (by which I mean me and two close friends) are deeply passionate about flexible working and bringing work-life balance to people’s lives. It’s why we are here. So let us help you. You work on happy and we’ll work on work!
Finally, before I go, this wouldn’t be a Mothers Day post if I didn’t thank my own mum. Mad as a fish and one of a kind, an unwavering source of love and support in my life. I’ve always known that if I murdered someone, Mum would be there to help me bury the body. Could any daughter really ask for more?! Love you, Mum.
This Sunday, remember to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums in your life. Not just the one that broke her body making you!