An Honest Conversation On Mental Health and Entrepreneurship
There were two comments this week that stopped me in my track, both of which were geared toward my entrepreneurship and motherhood balance. One comment was that it was amazing how I was able to accomplish so much with both of my boys in tow. The other was over tacos with a long time friend/mentor who mentioned that it appeared as if everything was going perfectly based on my social media accounts. If I am being honest, I get these comments often. People say, “Wow, how do you do it all?”, “You are a super mom!”, “You have it all together!”. And if I’m being more honest, I am internally flailing.
Last week someone asked me what the secret was. At the time I sorta laughed and gave a little shrug and thought to myself “if you only knew what things looked like”. Secretly, I have NO idea what I am doing in either aspect- entrepreneurship OR motherhood. I just show up and give it my all. Some days my all begins with homemade pancakes and a trip to the park and ends with bedtime stories and tickle fights, and others it begins with popcorn and chocolate chips for breakfast, lots of spankings and timeouts and tears at my computer. For the past two years as I have simultaneously built my family and my business. I have been burning my candle at both ends. I was hustling to build this brand and attract clients while also trying to teach my son and keep my family fed and happy. The hustle I threw myself into became the unhealthy version, and I slowly began to despise even hearing the word “hustle”.
July has brought a lot of my struggles and fears into the light.
July began with a trip to the hospital. With both boys “in tow” I found myself in the ER feeling like someone just shot an arrow through my heart and no ability to catch my breath. Anxiety is crippling.
Over the past several months I have unwillingly and unintentionally lost over 30 pounds (pre-pregnancy weight). And although some would kill to have a weight loss experience like that, I have felt confused, frustrated, and even embarrassed at how thin I have become weighing in at under 95 pounds. Anxiety is crippling.
I have woken up at night sweating, hear racing, and unable to catch my breath. Anxiety is crippling.
I have experienced days where all I can do is sit and stare at a piece of paper with all that needs to be done while both my work and my boys call for my attention. Anxiety is crippling.
All the while I was taking care of two sweet little boys alone for the summer (while my husband gone for work all summer in camp ministry) and trying to run two businesses. Self-care didn’t seem like a priority.
Hearing those comments (and running a business in general) places a pressure for perfection on you. Growing a following and maintaining a brand puts an added weight on an entrepreneur. The fear of failing. Fear of disappointing people. Fear of detracting clients or losing followers. Fear for people to get the wrong impression of me. Fear that people wouldn’t see the best in me. Fear is crippling.
Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely place (especially as a mother). In my sphere of influence there are very few people like me. I have a great community of mom friends, but they don’t quite understand the business side of my life. And I have made some amazing entrepreneur friends, but they don’t all have the understanding of the motherhood balance act. Entrepreneurship can so easily be competitive and chatty and an overwhelming place to find yourself when you are drowning in a sea of anxiety and fear.
Truthfully I’m overwhelmed, both by excitement and wonder and insecurity, fear, and anxiety. I am simultaneously driven to grow my business and full of guilt for being an entrepreneur and a mother. BUT I am SO GRATEFUL for the opportunity to do both and to make an impact in both areas of this life.
I have wrestled with these thoughts for the whole month of July. I’ve wrestled about if I should share, what I should share, when I should share, etc. I’m still not 100% sure of those answers. BUT, What I am sure of is that every entrepreneur and mother goes though some of these feeling as some point. The pressure for perfection is SO real.
August is coming. A new month. A fresh season. A brand new start. My goal is self-care. Setting a schedule and sticking to it. Being open and honest with myself with what I can take on and handle. Spending time as a family now that camp season is coming to a close, and trying my darnedest to put aside my perfectionism. Working towards finding a healthy lifestyle (physically, mentally, and spiritually). Gaining some darn weight, and pouring into relationships that are meaningful. Realizing that being prescribed an “anti-depressant” doesn’t make me any less of a wife, mother, or kick-butt business owner. And relying on the Lord more than ever to use this month to continue to teach me to rely on Him more and more each day.