“Mommy – Will you help me with my homework?”
“Honey – Can you please type out this quote and send this invoice?”
“Mrs. Underhill – Are you be able to volunteer at school on Friday?”
“Beth – I’m sick and cannot teach today. Can you sub for me?”
“Coach Underhill – I fell and need a band aid”
“Beth – Will you talk to my friend about helping her earn some extra income?”
I only have but two hands, yet some days need more to change the many hats I wear balancing my life as a mother, wife and business owner of three entities. Taxes, laundry, schedules, dinner, emails, homework, reports, play time, text messages, dance classes, phone calls, basketball games – where’s the “me” time?!
The “me” time is limited – for now. The struggle is real on the never-ending teeter-totter of owning a business (well, three) and motherhood. My daily mask attempting to be everything to everybody isn’t always worn well. The pressure to ensure the operation of sound entities never stops, while your heart tugs with desire to enrich and provide for your child.
Businesses spell success “P-R-O-F-I-T” and children spell love “T-I-M-E.” How can the two ever balance?
In the early days of this journey, thinking life was great, my blinders kept my eyes on the prize, and little did I recognize how much my daughter Gia was struggling. While I was immersed in my career, she would remind me in a not-so-subtle way that I was MIA.
“Mom, you are never home. You are always at the studio. The studio is more important to you than me” were her exact words. OUCH! Gia would say this matter-of-factly without much emotion.
Of course, I paid no attention to it until, one day, she called me in tears and repeated those words. But she added something she’d never said before, and those few words made all the difference….”Mom, I love you. Please come home.”
Her voice, her tone, the underlying message was crystal clear: Gia needed me more than my 20-30-something-year-old clients did. They had a mom to turn to, but she didn’t.
It was at that moment I too realized how much I needed her. The pedal was put to the metal and my car took me home as fast as the speed limit would allow. Hugging her with everything I had would not be enough to make up for the time she had so desired. We needed a change and it could only come from within.
Inhaling deeply, I closed my eyes, let the air of frustration out of my body and set myself in a new direction. Delegation and trust quickly were added to my vocabulary. Placing trust in others capable of doing the things necessary to still have a successful business was not as difficult as one would think. With the right people on the bus traveling towards the same vision, anything is possible.
Perfectionism was thrown out the door and my levels of expectations became realistic. I could no longer do it all, have it all, be it all – and yet I was OK with it all.
I can have many careers over the span of my life, but I only have one chance to be a mom.
The opportunity to build a business, start a new career, go back to school, etc., will always be there, but my daughter will only be 11 for 365 days. And I never want Gia to feel as though I’m “making time for her” but that my heart and soul is in the moment with her. Without our undivided attention, children will never really know how to reciprocate love in life.
Muddling through the last several years, the balance has improved. Adding an extra hour to my day by sleeping an hour less certainly has helped. With time, my body has adjusted thanks to a steel-strong mindset and a few nudges from mentors. More importantly, my commitment has changed, allowing a much larger vision that is not tied to money or things, but rather, people – with my daughter and husband at the top of the list.
With my hands in three businesses, my time is undoubtedly split. You might ask “Why so many?” or “Why not get rid of one or two?” Of course, whittling down to one business would certainly balance my life, right? But my purpose would not be complete, and I would be disappointing a multitude of people, ladies especially, who depend on what I am able to provide. Therein lies the dilemma – enriching my daughter’s life, or a multitude of others! Something has to give; someone sometimes suffers. And that someone is usually me.
Today, as I continue to maintain my balance as though I were walking a tightrope, one thing is for certain – family always comes first. In my business, there aren’t many issues that I can label as ‘emergencies’ taking the place of or coming before the time I spend with Gia. After all, she is the one that provides the motivation and courage to help other women. In fact, without Gia’s blessing, my studio would not be still in existence.
Over time I’ve developed balanced business practices allowing for peace of mind. Some of them can be used in everyday life, but there is one rule that clearly stands out and will never translate well in motherhood: I practice responding to email communication or phone calls within 24 hours. Nice, right? In business, that is rare these day, as Caller ID and “delete” take over part of how we communicate.
However, I cannot wait 24 hours to respond to Gia; otherwise, I will have missed an opportunity to influence how she thinks of herself and others along with her actions. I’m her game-changer, and together we are changing the game!