At the end of last term, before the school holidays, I was feeling overwhelmed with mum guilt! I had so much going on in my business, and not nearly enough down time. This lead to sleepless nights of worrying that I was doing a pretty shitty job of being a good mum. I know I’m not the only one who has these feelings, if there is something to feel guilty for in life...us mums find it. We compare ourselves to other mums and we shouldn’t. We’re all doing our best and that can look different through different eyes.
I wanted to write my feelings down because I’m such a believer in sharing these moments in life and all the real world stuff. Sometimes just by sharing and opening up it can help someone else know they’re not alone and that it’s OK to feel these things.
I’m a passionate and driven person and always have been. I grew up in a family business and started helping with the small jobs at a young age. Working hard is something that I’ve always been proud of. I’m also stubborn as hell, so if I want something I’m going to fight for it and give it everything I’ve got.
I hate that guilt hanging over me that makes me feel like I should be better or do more with my kids. Waking up every day and thinking “today I will yell less” or “today I will spend more time playing” or prepare better meals, set rewards charts or whatever it may be - the list of things I think I could do better is endless. I used to be that mum that would spend hours on Pinterest searching for creative things to do with my kids and setting up fun and interesting activities. Now, I feel like my days are spent rushing because the days are short as mums, and our “to do” lists never end! I often blame all the sibling rivalry fights on myself, thinking it comes from them just wanting my attention. Deep down I know this isn’t completely true and kids are just being kids but I know that when they do have my full attention there’s a lot less fighting. I also know that this is completely unachievable because as mums we’re always busy, regardless of where or how we work. The chaos is all the same, it just looks a little different.
I remember walking into my daughter's classroom for Mother’s day this year and on a big love heart, it had each child’s name and their favourite thing about their mum. Lace had written that she loves it when I tuck her into bed at night and sing her a song (I have the voice of an angel..obviously!). This was so sweet to read and was the highlight of my day, but it also broke my heart a little because I feel like bedtime can never come quick enough. I’m wishing away the hours until I can tuck them in and get my work done or maybe even sneak in one episode of a show and just have some time to myself.
My children come first, and always will, but when you’ve created a business that also feels like a baby. Something you’ve nurtured from day one. Something you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into growing. Something that you can be proud of. A different kind of sleepless night then waking up to crying babies, instead, it’s a brain full with ideas and thoughts that you want to put out there to the world, that you hope will flourish with success.
I think as mums and business women we hear so much of the word “balance”. What is the perfect balance? I don’t think any of us really know where or how to achieve it. I think we are all struggling to find it and its different for everyone. For some mums that might be spending all day at home teaching their children everything. For some, it’s running a business from home whilst juggling the mum life at the same time. For others, it’s going to work each day and coming home trying to squeeze in as much precious time as possible. There’s no right or wrong and each one of those comes with its own set of challenges.
One of the hardest things I found when I started my business was setting up boundaries, both business and personal. I had to start saying no to those park plays and coffee dates or having friends just “pop in”. Also, that guilt wondering 'do friends understand? Do they really know what I'm doing?'. I would love to do all those things, but when I’m paying to put my son in daycare to work it means that, even though I work from home, these are in fact designated work days and those hours are short! By the time you drop them off, it’s just about time to go and pick them up again.
Growing up, my mum was a stay at home mum and my dad worked really hard – sometimes 2 jobs, so mum could be home with us. This was something they discussed and wanted to do as a couple when they met. As we got older, mum and dad owned their own business and often had to work late. I was normally put in after school care for 3-4 days a week. I know they felt guilty for that, but honestly, I loved it. I loved getting to be with my friends. Life was busy but they always made sure one of them could make our sporting events or be there for assemblies etc. They worked hard but that also meant we got the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things as kids. We went on awesome family holidays and got to travel all around the world. Like all parents, they wanted to be able to give us the best and I felt we had that and more. My passion for travel comes from all the amazing experiences I got to have because they worked hard to provide. They set an excellent example of what hard work, determination and passion can create and how it pays off in life.
I want to be able to give my kids great experiences. I want to teach them work ethics, value and that if you want things in life you have to work hard and earn them. I often get them to work with me, putting stickers on my parcels or swing tags on my bags. They get to feel included and like their contributing and honestly, Lace is actually a really great helper. I get really proud when we are out and the kids recognise my jewellery on somebody. Even Austin says “my mummy made that, she makes jewellery” pretty cute if you ask me.
Most of you will have seen those memes “when you buy from a small business there’s just one person behind that screen doing a little happy dance”. I can honestly say that is so true. Even after two years of running my business when I hear that DING on my phone and know an order has come through...I light up with excitement. I wonder what somebody has purchased and why. I love knowing that my pieces bring a small amount of hope or happiness when people may need it the most.
I don’t think any of us have it figured out or have the perfect combination. Women who go to work often feel like they miss out on that special time with their kids and have to rush home to try and cook meals, get washing done, do homework and everything in between. Women that work from home feel guilty because they’re not always 100% present and sometimes don’t want to “play” - they want to get their work done and be productive. Stay at home mums often feel lost because getting to soak up your children all day can start to feel like we need a bigger purpose and those four walls can feel like they're closing in pretty fast at times. I’ve loved that having my own business has created connections, partnerships and some great friendships. I’m so passionate about what I do and feel so lucky about how many amazing people I’ve crossed paths with through my work.
I just think at the end of the day we are so hard on ourselves! Sometimes I think the fact that I have all these guilty feelings make me a good mum! We care, we’re trying to do the very best that we can do and that’s all that we can ask of ourselves.
Be kind to yourselves.
There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed but, in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child you are Super Mum! - Stephanie Precourt.
I also wanted to share with you some of the products I love and wear when the 'guilts' threaten me. St Gianna is the a wonderful Saint for the Working Mum and works beautifully with white howlite & smokey quartz.
You can see them below!