We've all heard how difficult it can be for men to understand women, so I'm going to try to help you fellows understand your wives. Not just any wife and every wife, but the wife who chooses to start a business. Sometimes the reason that she's chosen to start a business is that she's always wanted a business and sometimes it's that she wants to stay home with the kids. It doesn't matter why your wife has a business; know this: she wants it to be successful.
Not only am I a momtrepreneur, but I also work with women business owners all the time, I network with them, and I attend business training with them. Let me tell you what your wife wants to tell you but doesn't dare to say out loud.
"I need your support. And support does not mean paying all our bills with your paycheck and staying home with our kids while I go to networking meetings one evening a week. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely grateful that you do those things! They are part of our marriage partnership, however, and have nothing to do with my building a business. You did those things when I was on maternity leave and you would do them if I was on disability. So let's stop looking for your Super Dad cape because you have a job, because you would have a job whether I had a business or not. Believe me when I tell you that I am mentally tormented more than you or anyone ever could be about the fact that you bring in more income than my business does. I don't need you to remind me. In fact, I need you to counteract that critical voice. I don't need you to play devil's advocate because I already have.
The kind of support I am looking for is moral support. I need you to listen--really listen. I need you to ask me helpful questions. Ask me what one thing I took away from the social media marketing webinar I watched. Ask me what my big vision is, ask me what I am planning for the next year, ask me what steps I am taking and hold me accountable for working my plan. Be f-ing interested!"
I'll let you in on a big secret... We know what to do to have a successful business. We read the books, we watch the webinars, and we attend the live training. The reason we are not making six figures is that we don't do the work. Period. And we don't do the work because we're afraid that you will complain if we do. All you have to do is complain once about how many times we've gone out this week, or having to cook dinner again, or the fact that the laundry has piled up and you have no clean socks. That's all it takes for us momtrepreneurs to feel like we are failing as a wife and a mother. You know we will always choose family over profit--it's in our core values, so we beat ourselves up. And the not so big secret... no one ever becomes successful from beating themselves up.
It is so painful to know what to do, to want to be successful, and to do nothing. It's like having to fast for a medical test and the only channel that works in the waiting room is the Food Network.
Dear husbands, we need you. We need you to be engaged, to be a cheerleader, to trust that we want to be successful and to help us stay positive. Thank you for being a partner in our marriage and a partner in our childrearing. Now, please, also be a partner in our business by being supportive, enthusiastic, and hopeful.