So last night was the 1 year business birthday of Girl Tribe Gang and we (the Ilkley tribe) had the utter pleasure of hearing Catherine’s inspirational story of how within the space of a year she’d launched GTG with only £200 plus a bucket load of passion and determination and drove Girl Tribe Gang to become a nationwide organisation with tribes springing up in just about every county, populated with equally inspirational and entrepreneurial women – she managed all this with 4 children, including her new born daughter (who is utterly gorgeous) a husband and another business. Listening to both Catherin’s story and other members last night there was a lot of talk of the elusive ‘’work life balance’’ and making business ownership work along side family and children. The *invisible*, superhuman efforts we all invest into our businesses whilst trying to maintain our cool. I just wanted to say ‘Hey there Mama, we see you, and we salute you, you are doing a magnificent job.’ Because it can feel like a lonely place. How often as business owners have we been faced with the choice; do I work until 2am / hope my kids sleep through till’ 6am so I get a solid 4 hours under my belt which is *just* enough to function the next day…or do I go to bed early/ set my alarm for 3am/ hope my kids sleep till 6am, so I get a solid 3 hours before the day starts. Knowing my husband will be seriously cursing my business name under his breath as the 3am alarm sounds. So I’m just going to say it – There is no balance, only choices. Constant choices, reshuffling and prioritising like only a fierce mama lion can. This my pretties, is the closest I’ve come to achieving the utopia that is touted as ‘Work Life balance’. But there were some serious nuggets of wisdom last night in how these #Girlbosses manage it all; Be kind to yourself – Stop and remember why you wanted to escape the 9 to 5, what made you take that brave, bold step? Most ladies I spoke to last night wanted to find a more family-friendly set-up, but then found themselves driving themselves harder than some Dickensian workhouse owner. Be kind to yourself, those little people are still little…you can only do so much, and if in the short term that might mean less profit or less growth, so be it. Money means nothing if you are too miserable, stressed and burnt out to enjoy it. Get Help!! As women we do like to think we can do it all; work /kids / meals/ Shop / clean and all round run the show. In the early days of being self employed this was absolutely me. Now? I have a cleaner, I also enlist the help of my kids and husband, because.. lets be honest… the house doesn’t stay clean, even with a cleaner! Try to spread the load! .. other people can operate the dishwasher, pair up the socks and load the washing machine. And *truth bomb* they will realise just how much you do, and appreciate you just a bit more. If you’re a solo Mama? My hat is off to you…I have no advice as this hasn’t been my journey, except perhaps use your mama network. I will always try and help another mama out if I can. Let go of the guilt – or maybe *reduce it* if you can. Try and celebrate all that you get from being a working mama. I’m a mum, absolutely, but there’s more to me than just that one label. It’s important that I acknowledge and *feed* these other parts of my being which makes me more content, and in turn makes me a better mum (mosts days!). I love that my girls see me working towards something. That they recognise to go the places they want to go in life doesn’t just happen…we make it happen with hard work and determination.
Lastly, support your tribe – there is wisdom and truth in old phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. So, although communities have changed and many of us now live along way from our tribal elders we can be there for one another and support each other. If another mama needs help what’s another smiling face after school, heck it might even help keep your lil munchkin entertained, try and tee up non-work day swaps for school holidays, you’ll save yourself a tonne of cash and you’ll kids will have a blast.
What’s your top tip? How do you make it work?