Published on November 1st, 2019 | by Nancy F. Clark0
Don’t Fall For These 3 Myths Of Mothers In Business
By Lauren Marie–
While the issues of being a working mom have long been a minefield of debate, criticism and divided opinion, it’s no secret that we’ve progressed in our perspectives and support for mothers who do business. However, there are still lingering remnants of outdated thinking in our psyche that oftentimes has even the most forward thinking of us unwittingly perpetuating ideals, standards and myths that undermine the very thing we are dedicated to changing.
Here are 3 myths you may still be falling for when it comes to mothers in business, and how you can catch and eliminate obsolete assumptions that may still be limiting your choices as a mom in business:
The Myth of Perfection
The quest of many working mothers seems to be finding the right way to combine raising kids and doing business. But ‘right’ is based on the idea that there is an ultimate ideal, a perfection of the art of being a mother in business that can and should be attained, when there is not.
Perfection is a big myth that contracts our lives. Let’s cut to the chase right here – if you are trying to get it perfect, you are judging rather than innovating. You are limiting and controlling you, and in doing so, maintaining outdated status quo’s and ideals – possibly the very ones you desire to challenge and change for yourself and future generations – rather than pursuing unlimited opportunities that can be created and enjoyed.
Here’s how to catch yourself from falling into the trap of perfection:
- When guilt, doubt, or other judgments surface, ask, “is this truly my own belief, or something I’ve learned from others?” So much of our thinking is based on taught assumptions we’ve never considered questioning. If those beliefs are not congruent with what you want yourself, your kids and colleagues to live by, ditch them.
- Instead of wondering if your business or parenting choices are the right ones, ask, “Will doing this create the future I desire?” Go for what choices you know will create more, even if others do not agree.
People will judge no matter what you choose. Choosing what works for you rather than what aligns with images of good, perfect and right will create more in your life and business. It also demonstrates to those around you that they, too, can choose beyond standards and expectations that would otherwise hold them back, and have a life that works for them.
The Myth of Professionalism
What is “professional” supposed to look like? Composed? Under control? Serious and focused? Are you concerned that exposing the parenting side of your life may appear unprofessional, or detract from your image in business?
In March 2018, Professor Robert Kelly’s chaotic family life was broadcast around the globe when his children burst into the room during a live interview with the BBC. The video went viral and highlights how much people are intrigued when the structures and images we create are exposed and real-life shines through.
Rather than be apologetic or wary of allowing the messy, real and unpredictable elements of parenting life to filter into your business, what if you could enjoy them and even realize how to use them to your advantage?
For example, being a parent changes how people relate to you – they may find you more approachable or easy to connect with. Why not use that? Kids themselves are great ice-breakers. Kids are also creative – engaging with them at play can turn off your brain off the mundane business activities of the day, and allow creativity and inspiration to flow back in.
What contribution is being a mother to your business that you’ve been hiding to maintain an acceptable image of professionalism? What contribution are your kids to your work life that you’ve not allowed yourself to recognize or share?
Drop the irrelevant notions of “professionalism” and realize that if you have kids and you are good at your job, you are a professional.
The Myth of Opposing Priorities
It is time we once and for all gave up all notions of motherhood versus career, or any variation of that theme.
The idea that priorities of parenting and business are inherently competitive rather than complementary are completely false. It’s not true that when you prioritize business, your children will automatically lose out or vice versa, but this is exactly how we often function when looking at our business and parenting choices: “If I take this business trip and miss my kid’s birthday, will that mess them up for life? If I go to my daughter’s school event instead of seeing this client, will my business lose money?” This is the pointless mindset we need to abolish!
Giving something priority is not making it more valuable than another. It is taking care of what needs to be taken care of in that moment so that the outcome is generative and contributes to all things you are building in life. Use these questions to prioritize without preconceived judgments or doubts:
- Am I prioritizing this because I think I am supposed to, or because it’s what I truly desire?
- What elements require my attention now and which can I attend to later?
- Does this choice feel artificial and forced or does it feel contributive (even if it’s uncomfortable)?
Being fulfilled and successful as a mother and businesswoman is far easier when you’re functioning totally free from any limiting perspectives that undermine what you are capable of. Keep questioning the critics without and within. Don’t buy into ideals or standards that constrain creativity and opportunity or keep you stuck or conflicted. It’s your time to re-invent what mothers in business can do – let’s take the limits off and see what is truly possible.