We all have these mindsets that affect what we do, the decisions we make and the perspective that we have about our lives. Sometimes these mindsets can be positive ones that we should keep, and other times, we hold mindsets that can actually hold us back from reaching our full potential.
One very common mindset for mompreneurs is that being a working mom is selfish. Let’s take some time to break this down and see where this mindset comes from and what we should do about it.
I was talking with one client who is a great mom. She puts her kids first. She does things for her family all the time. She set priorities that she holds. She also has her own business. She realized, however, that she always felt guilty for being a working mom. That in the back of her mind she held this idea that being a working mom was selfish.
Before the days of motherhood, I lived a pretty self-focused life. I got to choose what time I’d get up in the morning. I picked what and when I wanted to eat. I selected what I wanted to do during the day and what time I wanted to go to bed. And I never really felt guilty about living like that.
Self-care after motherhood
Now we all know that once we get pregnant, something changes inside us. Something about motherhood gets hardwired into us. Suddenly, we give up so much of that self-focused life. Now everything revolves around our husband and children. We cook what the children like to eat. We nurse all night. We get up at 5 a.m. because that’s when the children are awake. We give up our needs and wants to take care of the long list of things for our family. There’s not often a whole lot left for ourselves at the end.
So when moms decide to go back to work, we often hear in our own minds that it is an act of selfishness. Stunning, isn’t it? Before motherhood, it was accepted that sometimes we do things for ourselves. Then when motherhood set in, we put everything ahead of us. Moms, in general, don’t excel at self-care. We rarely take a break, do something to take care of ourselves, or find something fun to do on the weekends.
If we decide to go back to work or to start our own business, it will make us unavailable at times. It will put something before our children at times. This will definitely happen, and it can look selfish. Even if we are earning money to pay for trips for our family or for college, we can still feed those lovely feelings of mother guilt.
When I think back to my early days of coaching, I remember feeling like I was stealing all the time. I had two little kids, and if I spent time with them, I felt like I was stealing time from my business. If I was working, then I felt like I was stealing time from my children. I stayed in that mindset of stealing; I was always stealing from some other part of my life. And I always felt guilty. My most important priorities were in conflict. When I was stuck in that stealing mindset, I was not being productive.
What happens in that mindset is that we start unwittingly sabotaging our business and our happiness. I had one client who was blaming the lack of success of her business on her husband. She felt that he had too high of expectations on what she could deliver in her business and what she could handle in housekeeping and childcare. However, as we talked about it more, she realized that she was actually the one with the unreachable expectations. It was her judging herself.
Breaking through mindset busters
She realized that her work was important. It meant a level of fulfillment for her. It gave her family a financial cushion they wanted. It was beneficial to another community. During the times she felt guilty, she would actually choose to do housework instead of higher priorities for her business for the sole purpose of earning the “good mother” badge. In the end, when she talked with her husband, he was actually very supportive. He was committed to helping support her in her business and pick up some of the household and childcare duties.
So how do you avoid this mindset? The first step is always awareness. If this article is resonating with you, then maybe you have this mindset. If you’re not aware, this unconscious mindset will motivate you to behave a certain way and make certain decisions. However, once you have awareness, you are capable of deciding if you want to continue holding the mindset or to change it. If you decide to change the mindset, you can replace it with a positive affirmation. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with your priorities and find ways to support yourself as a wife, mother, and person.
Is a negative mindset holding you back? It may be, even if you can’t identify it. If you’re stuck and need some help, let’s talk. I’d love to see if coaching is a good fit for you. Get in touch!