A working mother’s hard-won lessons for overcoming the challenges of combining a successful career with motherhood — and thriving
According to most successful people, running a business or building a successful career is a fulltime endeavor. Yet there are so many women in the business world today that are doing their best to navigate both their career and their family.
As if that alone wasn’t challenging enough, they are also faced with the constant distraction of competition, judgments, self-doubt, and guilt about their role as a mother and a businesswoman. If you add being a single mother into the equation, most would consider that a recipe for burnout or long-term struggle.
But what if the difference between struggling or thriving is just a matter of changing your point of view and looking at your situation from a different angle?
Being a single mother raising a beautiful child, while having my own business and also helping to run a family company, I know all too well about the challenges this kind of situation can present.
After leaving a toxic relationship and having more than I could handle on my plate (or so I thought at the time), I used to buy into all the points of view people were projecting onto me about what it meant to be a single working mother. However, as soon as I started seeing things from a different perspective, everything changed for me. Now I have ease in dealing with anything that comes my way because what I used to see as a difficulty is now greeted with gratitude and ease.
What might appear to some as a disadvantage or a difficult situation needing to be overcome can be seen as an advantage — an opportunity to achieve even more, a source of inspiration from which to draw strength.
If you would like to turn a situation from difficulty into ease, here are some tips and examples that have helped me:
1. Turning Judgment Into Gratitude
When we are judging ourselves or believing other people’s judgment of us, it actually diminishes our flexibility, our creative abilities and the ability to think ‘outside the box’. It also eliminates other possibilities and makes it harder for things to change, as we are left believing that we have no other choice but to keep walking the path of struggle we are on.
However, if we turn to gratitude instead of judgment, that can shift our perspective by flipping things on their head, opening the door for new possibilities that we might not have ever considered before that shift in perspective occurred.
The way we look at things usually defines whether we have difficulty with the circumstances in our life rather than taking on challenges gracefully and with ease.
But when you take a broader view by looking at things from a ‘big picture’ perspective, you create more space for the possibility of having ease with any situation, however difficult it might seem.
2. Being An Inspiration To Yourself
What if instead of a disadvantage, you viewed your circumstances as a gift?
What if all of these things that make you think you are in a lesser position are actually the things that give you strength and an upper hand in life and your career?
Once you realize that all these things you think you are juggling are actually showing you that you are far more capable than you or others have given you credit for, you begin to see that your so-called disadvantages actually help you master the art of time management, creativity and effective multitasking. Looked at this way, a disadvantage becomes a source of strength.
3. Be Willing To Ask For Help
Giving up control and the idea that you have to do it all on your own is not only liberating, but also very beneficial, especially in contributing to the ease of things. Asking for help and being vulnerable does not make you weak. In fact, it can actually be your strength and your greatest ally. Remember, if you don’t ask, people won’t know you require help. When you do so, you might just be surprised how many people would be very happy to help you.
4. Empower Your Children
We often view our children as people we have to take care of and do everything for. Some parents may even see their children as helpless or victims of circumstance. Yet, encouraging our children to help out and get involved does not mean we are taking advantage of them. Quite the opposite.
By engaging your children in activities, you are giving them a sense of empowerment and a sense of value.
As a result, they feel included and have an opportunity to contribute in their own way and not feel like a burden.
5. Take Care Of Yourself
As mothers, we often put ourselves last. But taking care of yourself is as important as anything else. It is important to focus not only on our child or our work, but actually taking our own happiness and nurturing into account. If we are not happy and enjoying our lives, we are left depleted, a feeling that can take a toll on all other areas of our lives. Your self-care is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
So give yourself permission to nurture yourself and to be kind to yourself. The way you treat yourself is the way you will be treated by others.
When we as women in business, especially if we are a single parent, are functioning from the point of view that our circumstances put us into a disadvantage, we often try to overcompensate and prove the opposite. Putting on our Amazon warrior armor as if we are heading into battle is usually the first ‘go to’ option for dealing with the competitive world of business. Even though that is considered a superpower, sometimes relying on your natural abilities as a woman — your charm, your body, your femininity, your creativity and your skills of manipulation — can yield far more fruitful results and open up many more doors.
So, embrace yourself and your talents as you realize that you are much more capable than you ever thought you were.
This is the type of shift in perspective that will enable you to create a life of ease that works for you.
You may also enjoy reading I Can’t Believe You Didn’t Leave Me: How a Working Mom Learned to Show Up by Colleen Hauk