Superwoman syndrome is alive and well, in this era of social media influencers who seem to successfully juggle marriage, motherhood, book deals, and more. For most of my adult life, I’ve juggled a part-time career, while married to my college sweetheart and raising three children. As a creative, I’ve also taken some stabs at an Etsy shop, writing, blogging, and whole list of other things.
I’m going to share with you the secret to being an entrepreneur, wife, and mother. Are you ready?
There’s no such thing as a superwoman, and it’s not possible to do all things well, all the time.
Embracing limitations is truly the key to managing multiple roles as a modern woman. Unless you have access to a team of nannies, personal assistants, and stylists, the standards being promoted are not easily obtainable. Instead of looking to airbrushed realities, seek out actual mentors as the basis for expectations. Ask them how they managed and what they would tell their younger self.
Lean into the Seasons
While pregnant with my third child, I began a stationary business. I loved doing the design work and strategizing growth, budgeting, and marketing. I worked during nap time and after the kids were in bed. I’d gather them around the table with PlayDoh while I folded and packaged the note cards. When the baby was sick, I got behind with my business. When business was booming, I went to bed feeling guilty that my kids had sat in front of screens.
As my business began to grow, I felt a thrill at the success, though I had to do some soul searching. I could keep investing in my business, or I could be the mom I wanted to be in those early years. But I couldn’t do both. After prayerful consideration, I decided that the busy season of mothering little ones was just that. For a season, I was going to shut down my business until my margins were wider in motherhood.
Having grown up a “latch key” kid since kindergarten, I’ve placed heavy emphasis on picking up my kids from school and being at home together. When it comes to being a working mother or a stay-at-home mom, I don’t believe there’s one way to do things. It’s a deeply personal decision and not everyone has the luxury to decide. No matter what, each mom has to prioritize how to use her 24-hours each day.
To say “yes” to one thing, you have to say “no” to others. Working moms say no to classroom volunteering or elaborate dinner plans. All moms should embrace easy meals or meal kits, low-key birthday parties, and simple holidays. Say no to too many outside activities. Remind yourself that a blank spot on your calendar does not mean you’re available. Intentionally mark out “rest” days for your family, regular family dinners around the table, and date nights, swapping babysitting with another couple.
Make a Game Plan
Along with the above strategies, juggling entrepreneurship, motherhood, and marriage requires game plans. Everyone has to find the technique that works for them, but here’s what works for me.
I use a paper planner. On Sundays, I look at the next week to create my task list. At the beginning of each year, I create a “vision board” for the year with the year written in the middle and then goals sketched around it for my business, my marriage, and my family.
I also create a second piece of paper to list more specific tasks toward each of these goals. For instance, the month of May is busy for my kids, which takes priority. Summer allows for family time and road trips. When the kids go back to school, September and October allow me to focus on my business. One annual rhythm that my husband and I have carefully guarded is taking a weekend away each January for our anniversary.
Have Grace and Flexibility
Repeat after me: I cannot do all things well, all the time.
I can, however, lean into the ebb and flow of life. My kids have grown up in the blink of an eye, and here I am with an emptying nest. This is my season to focus on writing, speaking, and entrepreneurship. I can pick up deferred dreams and invest time in them now. My husband and I can sit together now having an entire conversation without interruption.
Seasons come and go. Rather than fighting the waves of time, we steward each season well by riding the waves accordingly, with realistic goals and great intention.