Caution: There are naughty curse words in this post and they come at you early on, so if you are offended please don’t read.
Although not in the 20-40 year old male demographic Gary Vanynerchuk fan base, I consider myself an ardent follower. His energy is astounding and there is something oddly comforting about his brash, in your face, advice that is heavily peppered with fucks and shits and other random curse words. Perhaps it’s a New Jersey thing.
Tony Robbins – inspiring, kind, tall. Love him.
Rachel Hollis – fearless, intuitive, great hair. Love her.
Eric Thomas, Nick Vujicic, Chris Gardner… this motivational speaker, inspirational leader list goes on and on although 90% of them are men (probably more than 90% actually) and that gets me to my point…kind of.
Gary, like most gurus, inspire us to be more and do more. They motivate us to follow our dreams and tell us how to do it. They talk about passion and drive, hard work and overcoming fear and I am on board 100% with all of those things – because they are all true. We all have the ability to be happy and successful and live the best life possible if we follow their basic truths.
And herein lies the problem. We are also moms.
Being a mom isn’t the problem, being an entrepreneur isn’t the problem, but unlike the gurus proselytizing the steps to success, being a mom and an entrepreneur requires a whole different set of how to’s. Because working 15 hours a day on your dream or getting 8 hours of sleep while juggling the kids and house and husband/partner and extended family… isn’t going to work. It just isn’t our reality.
The reality is that the whole entrepreneur thing is really rough sometimes. It is not photo shoots and free products and hair extensions and traveling the world. Being an entrepreneur mom means you still have to do all the mom stuff while following your dreams.
The gurus will tell you to go to bed early, get 8 hours, wake up an hour before your kids get up so you can have “you-time.” They will tell you to build a good team and to exercise in the morning and schedule social events after work. All good advice, if you are independently wealthy and have nannies and cooks and housekeepers.
The real entrepreneurial world is broken nails and exhaustion and forgetting it’s library day at school and disappointed family members and financial constraints… and it is also fulfilling and exciting and terrifying and stressful and hopefully creating and growing a successful venture.
Entrepreneurial moms will never have one job, or one passion, or one mission. The motherhood mission does not go away because we now decide to follow our dreams and become entrepreneurs. This is not the case for men. It just isn’t, and the reality is this will not change.
Women don’t clock out, we aren’t built that way. Do I ask for help, sure sometimes (and yes that statement alone envelopes so many problems, but that is to unpack at another time).
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re passionate about your dreams. If you’re a mom, you are passionate about your children. One doesn’t supplant the other. They both exist in conjunction with each other on a moment by moment basis and if you don’t take time for yourself you can’t do either properly. Oh, and balance is a lie.
So How Do You Do It
Listen to the gurus, but don’t. If you have nannies and a bankroll good for you – you can listen to the gurus. If you don’t have all of those things, don’t worry you still can do the whole follow your dream, find your passion thing because this is not a sprint. It is a lifestyle.
First, ignore all of the Instagram posts of beautiful offices and glamorous meetings. They may be true for that moment, but basically it is not your reality now. Your reality may range from not having time to shower to taking a conference call in the bathroom because that is the only quiet place in the house to giving up girls night out for a while. Entrepreneurship is how you live, and moms have to do it a little differently.
Flexibility is key.
Schedules are great and comforting, I love a good schedule. But you will have to adjust your schedule because life happens. So when you have carved out time from 9am-noon to work on your business and the school nurse calls and now you have to pick up your sick kid and take him to the doctor, that is okay. The world will not end, your business will not fail, you will adjust. So today you can only spend 1/2 hr on your dream. That is 1/2 hour, so good for you.
Understanding that you have to constantly adjust will allow you to develop the ability to manage the unexpected successfully. Your mental fortitude will increase bringing greater creativity, better execution and a more positive attitude.
You can be an entrepreneur, and a mom and a wife, and daughter, friend, sister, and more. Can you be the best at all of those at the same time? Nope. You will be lonely and sometimes a bit stinky. You will be excited, but still a bit messy. There will be moments of chaos, but you are a mom and there is no one better suited for this than you!
So, listen to the gurus because they are telling the truth, you can do whatever it is you want, just do it the way that works for you.
I didn’t use the word mompreneur because I don’t like it. It’s sounds a little too cute for me.