If you read my recent article on MotherHustle, you know that I haven’t been terribly ambitious through most of my life. Sure, I wanted to do a good job in whatever I did, but to really succeed wasn’t truly on my radar.
That all changed when I left my day job in 2013. I was a single mom with a daughter going into middle school. I had to succeed in my business because, if I didn’t, I’d be in trouble. And a bad example to my daughter. As a result, I think that most of that drive and determination in my business comes from my desire to succeed for her.
Now I’m not saying that mothers are better business owners—that’s not the case at all. But what I am saying is that, for me, I’m much more of a hustler than I would have been if I wasn’t a mom. This is my experience, and yours might very well be different. And if it is? More power to you! Let me know!
Here’s what I think I do a bit differently, that I may not have done if I wasn’t a mom.
More Focused During Work Time
I didn’t go into business full time until my daughter was going into middle school. But I did juggle a full time job with a side hustle when she was younger. So I know what it was like, to a point. As a full time business owner, I’m able to focus more during regular work hours because my daughter is at school all day. So I have a quiet home most days, aside from my crazy dogs. And I try to get as much done during that time as possible, so when she’s home and homework is done, I can focus completely on her.
More Motivated to Succeed
I left my full time job for many reasons, only one of which was because I wanted to be home for my daughter. Granted, she’s at the age now (almost 15 as I’m writing this) that she doesn’t really need me to be at home with her. In fact, she’d much rather have me gone. She’s told me so, the stinker!
When my daughter was younger, I desperately wanted to be home with her. But my then-husband and I couldn’t afford it, and then we eventually divorced. So being a stay-at-home mom was completely off the table. Now that my daughter is older, I actually feel like this is the perfect time to be home with her before and after school. At this age, it’s much easier to make bad decisions and get into trouble. (I know from personal experience.) I’m glad I can be around to help mitigate some of that. So if I don’t hustle and succeed in my business? All that goes away and I’m back to a j-o-b.
Adept at Juggling Multiple Projects
If you’re a parent, you know how much work it is. Coordinating after-school activities, ensuring there’s enough time for homework, constantly having every task interrupted, keeping up with chores around the house, getting to work on time and making sure the kiddo is fed. And props to those parents with more than one child! I honestly don’t know how you do it.
Having a business feels much the same to me. While I allow some of the interruptions (hello, inbox and social media!), there’s still a constant stream of projects that need to be done and clients I need to nurture. But after raising a responsible teenager from the age of 2 as a single parent, this is nothing!
Forced to Take Some Down Time
As a mom, I want to be a positive example for my daughter. And while that means being successful and working hard for it, it also means taking some time for myself. I’ve been known to work a few too many hours on (most of) the days when my daughter is at her dad’s house. So when she’s home (which is about 70 percent of the time), I try to make sure she sees me doing a lot of other things besides working. Running with friends, reading a book, watching a show, playing with our dogs, spending time with family and going out with friends are just a few of the things I make sure she sees me doing on a regular basis.
There’s been an explosion of new entrepreneurs and mompreneurs in the online space. And having “been there,” I feel like I have a lot more understanding of the stress and scheduling nightmare that can sometimes happen. More so than if I wasn’t a mom. That doesn’t mean that non-moms don’t have empathy (SO not true!) but for me, I wouldn’t know they were up against if I hadn’t gone through it myself.
So, for me, being a mom was a huge bonus when it came to starting my business. It allowed me to jump past some of the learning how to juggle so I could dive in head-first.
Of course, there’s still a lot of juggling—both in momhood and business. But I feel like I’ve learned so much in the nearly decade and a half of motherhood that I can tackle just about anything in business.