Permission to be Imperfect, Part I

At a recent roundtable of women, a common theme was the frustration felt by mothers that they could not devote themselves fully to their jobs. Needs of their children interfered with their work day and often made focus impossible. They felt frustrated that they were not building the business they envisioned, and felt guilty if they were not there for their children.

In a meeting with a young mother returning to her home country with a toddler after working for three years in Canada, she expressed worry over finding daycare and wondered if her current employer would offer a balanced workplace so she could have family time. She was returning to a one-bedroom home which would eventually be too small but could she afford a larger place? “I never worried about money because I never had to,” she told me, “but now I do.” And to top it all off, she and her husband were separating.

Are there any feelings stronger for a mother than worry and guilt? How do you balance everyone’s needs including your own? How can you overcome the frustrations that come with being an entrepreneur?

After my marriage ended, I became a sole support mother of three young children. Soon after that, I decided on a career change and began my career as a financial and insurance advisor. Trying to juggle the needs and necessities of my kids with trying to focus on growing my business was at times impossible. How professional do you think I sounded on the phone with two children fighting in the background? What a challenge it was to schedule appointments between hockey, choir, doctors and oh yeah, daycare closes at six.

The early years of building my business took longer than they probably should have because I could not devote myself fully to them. I could not, as many entrepreneurs testify, work 50 hours a week and eat, sleep and live my business. There were other priorities. And that is just fine.

Children are a long-term investment. If you put the effort in early and steadily, just like investing, you are paid back in dividends years down the road. If your business needs to take a back seat for awhile accept that it’s just how life goes sometimes. You have my permission to be imperfect.

I do have practical tips to share in my next blog on how to juggle all those balls (yes, you’ll drop a couple at times) and even find personal time for yourself. Stay strong, stay healthy and remember that there are no mistakes in life, just learning experiences.