I have been a work-from-home mom for about five years now -- starting my first business ArtistryandMore, five years ago. It has been quite the ride, and like most working moms, I struggle with working mom guilt. It has been like an inner battle. Most days, the part of me that knows that I can do this wins out, and there are times that I can admit, the guilt wins out.
Finding balance is so hard, and even when we feel we have found that ever-elusive balance, something happens that makes us take 10 steps backwards.
Making time to remind myself of the things that I have learned and loved about this journey is always a great way to find my center again. So, today, I share with you, my fellow working or stay-at-home moms, the 10 Things I have Learned Since Becoming a Working Mom.
1. I never appreciated just being a mom until there were things I could no longer do.
Don't get me wrong now; I love being a working mom, it's what I want and honestly need to stay sane. However, when I realized that there are things I would no longer be able to do like before, such as lay around with my girls all day just playing and laughing, I realized I didn't appreciate those moments enough.
I find myself cherishing the moments I do have now when I have time between projects to just run around or laugh with the little ones, or during family movie nights. Everything means more to me now.
2. I was so disorganized!
Yes, running a business and managing home/family helps you to see a lot of your weaknesses, and boy, was I disorganized! I had to learn to reorganize my life all together, like a complete makeover, but all creative geniuses can be a little disorganized, right??
For the first few weeks, my house looked ridiculous, and I know that it's expected sometimes when you have several kids running around your home, learning to write on your walls, running behind you as you vacuum with new piles of trash and toys... And so many more things that only moms would understands. However, it begins to look inexcusable when it piles up over time.
3. Patience is not my strength
But I'm getting there!
Motherhood, in general, challenges your ability to be patient in every way possible. Just when you think you have hit your stride, your child does something that brings you right back down to earth.
I have never been a patient person anyway; I have always been the person who starts a book off by reading the last chapter and gets discouraged halfway through because I already know the ending, or the person watch movies with people that have already seen it so that I can ask as many questions as possible!
Starting a business alone requires an immense amount of patience or you will quit before you even taste success, but motherhood, well... I am still trying to figure out which inspired this new, sometimes more patient me.
4. I am Pretty Awesome, If I May Say So Myself!
It takes a lot to be a wife, mom and business owner; it takes a pretty amazing -- and brilliant --woman to juggle both.
As a woman of Faith, I am starting to appreciate the gifts God has given me. There are times when things get so low, that you wonder how you can do it all. Clients start to get impatient and want to start telling you how to do your job, not knowing that at the same time, you may be going through something unexpected in your family life, anything from illness to a financial bomb that you never saw coming or marital problems. There is always something.
They say that God never puts more on you than you can handle, and when I look back at what he has put on me, I realize that obviously, God knows that I am stronger than I think I am.
5. Apps Are Incredible, I Want More, and More, and More (I am a little addicted)
There are apps for fitness, writing, time management, task lists, makeup, fashion, reading, business, social media... should I go on?
I can't live without these magical tools that our amazing world of technology has given us. I am dependent on them, but that is a good thing. They are amazing for keeping my life organized, and as a working mom, I need all the help that I can get.
6. I am Technology Challenged!
What, I'm going from singing the praises of apps to admitting to being technologically challenged?
Since I started my business, I have had about ummm... five computers or tablets or both that broke at one point or another. At some point, usually around the six-month range, my cell phones just dies, a slow, sad death. It usually starts with difficulty charging, then the touch screen slowly stops working and then, death! Expected and yet so disappointing. Especially for my hubby, who cringes every time he hands me a new laptop or phone.
With a business like mine, unfortunately, I depend on these items. What to do, what to do...
7. Bullies Exist Beyond Grade School
I have had to watch my son deal with the mean kids every now and then, and I will have to see it often as the girls go to school, too, but who would have thought that adults enjoy bullying, too?
Working online and blogging exposes you to so much! Having the cover of the Internet to help you remain anonymous doesn't help, either, but a lot of adults take the time to sit in front of computers and bash other adults -- and sometimes children, too.
I started experiencing it on social media, usually with people who do not agree with my point of view, but it was unexpected in every way. I am a strong believer in treating others the way you want to be treated, and have never understood people who enjoy being mean for no reason. What do you get out of it, anyway?
But I deal with it the only way that helps me sleep at night: I ignore it and move on with my life, because maybe they are just a little miserable and I would not want to add to it.
8. I am Not as Shy As I thought I Was
I was so shy growing up, and really always preferred the company of books to the company of people. Being a mom, connecting with other moms and networking through business has shown me that I love connecting and helping people in any way that I can.
And that it is actually a lot of fun.
Being a part of amazing networks, with incredibly kind and helpful people doesn't hurt. It has helped to take me out of my shell and to bloom.
Did you know that your children can really help you with shyness as well?
My little ones challenge me in every way and force me to be a little more open to people and this world.
9. Like in Everything Else in Life, Screw Ups Are a Learning Moment
Screw ups will happen. They are a learning moment. I think what makes an exceptional person exceptional is their ability to make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Those who choose to lament and dwell on the what-ifs will watch time pass by.
I recently shared my potty training fail on the blog, and boy, was it a fail. I am pretty sure that I am the reason it took my girl so long to get there. Now that she is there, I know what does and does not work, and will apply it when training my 1-year-old.
10. Finding Balance Is Challenging, but Doable
One thing every working mom (whether in or out of the home) searches for is balance.
We don't want to lose ourselves in all of our responsibilities, even though it is easy to do with the million things that we have to deal with.
Afro-chic Mompreneur is about just that. Starting out as a blog to redefine myself, originally Redesigning Nancy, I realized it was redefining myself as a working mom, Afro-Chic Mompreneur. I want to learn to make time for me, to discover what makes me happy as a mother, wife and businesswoman.
It is important and part of the key to finding balance. Learn to put yourself first sometimes, because if you are overwhelmed and bogged down, how can you handle everything else?