The million dollar question I am asked repeatedly – how did I manage five kids, a business, getting my degree and renovating a house. It sounds like a lot and I suppose it is, so how did I do it all?
It wasn’t easy. I had my days when I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry from lack of sleep, stress, hormones and feeling like I was totally overwhelmed and in it alone – despite having a house full of people. I took this all on and I didn’t want to fail. Failing to me felt like something heavier to carry than my worst day doing everything as I was.
To add to this I will give you some context around my life. I have four daughters and a son (the youngest). For a few years I had to drive one child to catch a bus to her school at 7.30am, I had one child who caught a different bus at a different location at 8am, I had two children to get to primary school by 8.45am and my son started kindergarten at 9.30am.
As you can imagine, my afternoons didn’t look much different. You might be asking why on earth my children all went to different schools? Because as a mother I wanted to do what was best for each and every one of them. They all had different needs that were served by different schools.
So my day was cut quite short which meant my nights were quite long. This was the sacrifice I made to get things done.
Despite a lot of planning, we all know as mums that things don’t always go to plan.
One child forgets lunch, another gets sick, there were activities to attend at all the schools, which was a part time job in itself and I was trying to manage tradesmen, work and study.
You know what though – I wouldn’t change a thing! All this experience enables me to deliver great outcomes and great empathy for my business coaching clients.
What lessons did I learn from this?
- Supermum – while others may look at that list and think wow, you did so much, the truth is that I become burnt out. I learned a lot of hard lessons, the one I want to share with you is that a real Supermum looks after herself first. Running around after everyone else and leaving nothing for myself meant being cranky, too busy to enjoy my children and too many midnights snacks to keep me going. Caring for yourself first is important so you can manage everyone else.
- Ask for help – I felt like if I didn’t do everything I said I would I was failing. Not just myself, but everyone around me. I am fiercely independent but I know that there is power in women supporting and helping each other. There is no shame in saying you need help. We all do at some point. Nobody is an expert at everything, so do what you do well and get help for everything else. When I found a carpool for school it was like discovering gold.
- Yelling doesn’t help anyone – a good scream into a pillow can work wonders, but yelling at the people around you because you are tired only makes you feel even worse. Instead of yelling, go back to no 2. When you are at boiling point, it is time to sit down and work out what has to be done, what could be done, what can wait for another day, and who can help you out. Being realistic about what you can achieve means lowering the bar sometimes or changing your focus.
- Chores – in my endeavor to teach my children the value of money and hard work they started doing chores at the age of four. Yes at that age it can slow you down, but my view of this is that if you don’t take the time to teach, how will they learn? As my children grew, the fact that they could all help out made my life so much easier. It also gave me the confidence that they would be able to manage for themselves when they became adults and move into their own homes.
I found that these lessons can translate beautifully into all areas of life and business. When I help women balance their work and life as busy mum’s/entrepreneurs these lessons have become –
- Superwoman – you need to take care of yourself or you will burn out. Creativity is blocked when under great stress.
- Get Help (using free tech and apps to start with). Being in business can be lonely and time consuming. Technology can help by doing some tasks for you and helping you connect with others.
- Reduce Your Stress – by focusing on goals. Setting goals and measuring success is how we all learn in business. In learning from what went wrong you can protect yourself from repeating mistakes.
- Develop systems – knowing there is a process to follow and fall back on has immense value (even if you are a solopreneur).
Whether you want to lose weight or start your own empire the same rules apply, although slightly modified. No matter what you are tackling right now see how you can adapt these lessons for positive change and the glimmer of hope that you can do it all and be happy.
Samantha is a Fempire Coach and business leader who is dedicated to helping women succeed as business entrepreneurs. She is a process-driven strategist who has visionary problem solving skills. Raising a family of five children and running a successful business while earning her Bachelor of Business means she knows how you feel when you are overwhelmed and exhausted. Samantha can help you figure out how to make things not only work for you, but work so you flourish.