Being a mom and a small business owner is like juggling fire. It’s a balancing act that often leaves us feeling burnt out. But it’s crucial to remind ourselves that it’s okay to stumble, to take breaks and to forgive ourselves for not always meeting our own high expectations.
When 2023 began, I had a 1-year-old and a demanding work-from-home job in tech. I was making great money, but I was putting in long hours and constantly feeling like I was failing in all areas of work and life. I was miserable — and then suddenly laid off. This led me to take a much-needed four-month hiatus from work to regain my bearings.
I believe that being a working mom makes me a better parent. But what I’ve found is key for me is investing in work that is fulfilling and brings me joy — work that doesn’t feel like work because it’s fueled by passion. So, I did the deep work of discovering the intersection between what I enjoy doing, what I have experience in and what gaps exist in our community. Then, I made a leap of faith in myself and started my own LLC.
But soon after starting my business, I found myself slipping back into that familiar burnout trap. Despite the hardships, I remain committed to this path because owning a small business is something I’ve always felt I was meant to do. I fail every other day, but I feel more fulfilled than ever on the days I get it right.
HERE ARE SOME COPING MECHANISMS THAT HAVE HELPED ME AVOID BURNOUT AS A MOM AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNER:
- Set physical and mental boundaries: Establish dedicated work hours and family/home time, and keep your physical workspace separate from your living space. Create mental boundaries as well by not dwelling on work matters outside of designated work hours.
- Use the Pomodoro technique: Have 25-minute stretches of focused work followed by five-minute breaks. Then take a longer 30-minute break after four consecutive work intervals.
- Be flexible and reprioritize continuously: Each day, and quite honestly each moment, is different and requires something you may not have needed before. Reprioritize as needed.
- Reflect daily and keep learning: Take the necessary time to reflect and unpack the lessons each day brings. I do this when lying in bed at the end of the day, and it’s become such a healthy moment of closure.
- Say “no”: Know your value, and don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities that undervalue you or that don’t resonate. Your time is even more precious now.alex
I believe you can have it all, just not all at once. Motherhood has taught me the importance of prioritizing where I want to put my energy. It’s made me realize that ultimately, spending time and being with my son and family is the most important thing in the world, so it encourages me to focus only on work that aligns with my highest calling.
In the pursuit of balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Being a mom and small business owner is a journey of continuous learning, adaptation and self-discovery. Embrace the chaos of this season of life, and remember that you’re doing an incredible job. Even when you feel like you’re failing, at least it means you’re trying. Give yourself the grace you deserve.