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Are You Experiencing Mum Guilt?

This was originally posted on my Seven Figure Consultant LinkedIn Newsletter. Subscribe today to get insights about how women are building powerful and impactful consulting businesses.

Whenever I talk to women who have kids, the topic of guilt will come up before very long.

Often I think we can enjoy time away from our kids more than we might feel we’re allowed to! Parenting is exhausting at times, and it can be a relief to just be an adult with your own identity and not being known to the world as someone’s mum. 

One of my favourite things is working relationships where people might not know I have kids, and I can choose to share that information if I want to, but it’s not something where people can just look at me and know everything there is to know about me.

We can also be hyper-aware of how much we’re working. I’ve had conversations with more than one client about the feeling that we’re not present enough for our kids and maybe it’s selfish or wrong somehow to work at all.

Until lockdown, my kids didn’t know I worked. They have no concept of me existing while they are at school and nursery. As far as they are concerned, I vanish into thin air at the school gate and then appear again when it’s home time.

But during the pandemic, they saw me at work for the first time, and they were pretty indignant about it. Their definition of the situation was something along the lines of ‘mummy can’t play with us this afternoon because she has to press buttons on her computer instead’. 

And that has led me to two conclusions: firstly, I think it’s a good thing to encourage my kids to see me as a person even at this young age. Yes I’m their mum 100% of the time, and it’s really important to me to show them affection throughout every day in all kinds of ways. But I’m allowed to have other things in my life, like my work but also seeing my friends or gardening, that I do while they’re out at school and occasionally when they’re at home.

And secondly, I want to prioritise quality time over quantity time. It’s so much better for them if I am emotionally present and ready to engage with them, rather than physically present and attached to my phone. So I need to set up life in a way which means I have capacity to engage with them. 

That’s a huge influence on the way I approach my work. It can’t take every ounce of my energy or interest. I have to have times where I switch off, days where I don’t work at all and I spend time with them. 

I always want to do my business in a way that frees me up to be a mum to my kids – however much or little they might need me to be present at the different stages they go through.

And the key thing is making the choices about your business that mean you can have the best of both worlds.

Let me know, what do you struggle with when it comes to balancing work and children?

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Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your feedback and future topics you’d like me to feature. You may also enjoy The Seven Figure Consultant Podcast, the show that takes you from booked up and burned out in your consulting business to THRIVING as the CEO of your 7 figure enterprise.