Rachel Kline is the author of our guest post today! She is the owner of Rachel Kline Marketing & Creative in Lancaster, P.A.
As a mom and business owner I have a lot on my plate – scheduling client calls, arranging meetings, doing my design work and managing social media for 10+ clients… Plus there’s getting my kids to preschool on time, attending field trips, keeping my 4 month old alive, cooking dinner and making sure everyone’s wearing shoes when we leave the house. It seems like no matter how many things I check off my list at the end of each day, I still feel guilty about something.
I know my kids are happy but am I feeding them enough healthy foods? Taylor’s mom makes her own baby food and it’s probably so much healthier. Then there’s screen time… I totally lied to the doctor when he asked if my girls get more than 2 hours a day. “Of course not!” I said as I thought of all the afternoons I spent working, and allowing them to watch a movie or play games so I could squeeze in a quick client call.
As a female business owner, I feel like “mom guilt” is always creeping in, but I’ve realized a thing or two since I began this juggling act four years ago. Most of my “guilt” is due to comparison. Comparing myself to other moms. Other moms who probably feel the same way when they compare themselves to someone else. It’s a vicious cycle based on assumptions and lies we tell ourselves about other moms – when in reality, we are all doing our best. For example:
The Lie: "I started my own business so I could spend more time with my kids... I'm a bad mom if I spend money on childcare when I'm technically 'at home' while the sitter is here."
Okay, this one was hard for me. You know what I’ve learned though? Childcare looks different for every mama. I grew up in a home with two parents who worked full time, and if I had a babysitter it was because my parents were both going away for an evening. My life as a business owner looks completely different. I have days where I need childcare because I’m working from my office downtown and I have other days that I need childcare because I plan to work from home and can’t be interrupted by my kids. At the end of the day – it’s okay to ask for help so that you can get your work done, whether your work is at home or at an office. Instead of feeling guilty, choose to be thankful. I’m thankful for a wonderful sitter my girls love to spend time with, and I’m thankful I can get my work done while I have help, so when I’m with my kids I can be fully present.
The Lie: "I'm a bad mom if my kids see me on my computer all the time."
Are you really on your computer all the time? If so, it might be time to set some boundaries, but chances are, you're just a mom who's juggling a lot. I know my kids see me on my computer just about everyday when they wake up from naps. And sometimes in the evening too. They know mommy has "working hours" and sometimes that means they get to watch a show or play quietly on their tablets which is like a treat for them. They have learned to respect my work time and know that the sooner I can wrap things up (usually around 4pm) the sooner we can all play. I am also super flexible as long as I don't have a call or a meeting. If there is one thing I've learned it's that my kids deserve my full attention and so do my clients, so I don't force work if my toddler is refusing to nap, and I don't feel guilty about spending an extra hour at my office to meet with a client or finish a project so when I come home I can be 100% with my family.
The Lie: "If I spend money on my business that I could have spent on clothes/diapers/ballet lessons, I'm not putting my kids or family first."
If you don't invest in your business, why should anyone else? Spending money on your business is necessary to see it grow. Now I’m not suggesting you take money from your grocery budget, but it is totally okay to put some of what you make back into your business! I love when I get a chance to treat my family because I’ve gotten a new client or I can pay cash for new school shoes because my business is doing well, but I also have a budget and a list of business goals. I’ve spent money on classes and software to grow my business when I could have bought my girls more clothing or toys, but you know what, I don’t regret my choices for a second. Because I’ve invested in myself, I’ve seen my business grow.
The Lie: "My kids have eaten chicken nuggets or takeout three times this week... they're probably going to get cavities and think I'm the worst mom ever because I never cook from scratch like their friend Sarah's mom."
Does Sarah's mom run her own business? Next time you’re feeling guilty, think about who/what you’re actually comparing yourself to. For some moms, cooking comes easily, for others it’s a dreaded chore (raises hand). That mom who’s cooking and baking all the time might feel like she’s slacking in other areas or feel jealous of the working mom who seems to have so much going on. Are your kids fed? Are they sleeping well at night? Are they happy? Ask yourself those questions and give yourself a pat on the back.
Whether you’re running a small creative business or you manage a team of 50 employees, let’s stop comparing ourselves to other moms and give ourselves some grace. When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself the following:
Am I being fully present with my family and my kids?
Am I being fully present when I’m with my clients or my team?
If you can answer yes to both of these questions, then you have no reason to feel guilty! You might feel spread thin, but you’re doing your best, mama. If you answered “no” to either question, then maybe you need to make some adjustments. We all do from time to time and feeling guilty has never benefited anyone.
Rachel Kline is the owner of Rachel Kline Marketing & Creative in Lancaster, P.A. You can follow her on Instagram at @rachelklinecreative.