Do you remember a time when you had a terrible night sleep? What about a time when you slept terribly for a couple of night in a row? How did that affect your life?
Well, my terrible night sleep has been going on for about 5 years now! I was the girl who used to sleep 12+ hours every night but 5 years and 3 months ago, that all changed.
In 2014 my son was born, and in 2016 my daughter. If you saw me during these years, you may have seen a woman who appeared confident as a mother in the grocery store. If you stalked me on Facebook you would have seen only happy baby pictures. The pictures that looked so “perfect” you could almost feel their baby-soft skin, or smell the scent of baby powder.
But, behind the smiling and giggling baby photos, I didn’t feel like giggling much. I was hiding something that I didn’t want the world to see.
Learnings from the Rabbit Hole
Have you ever gone down the “Rabbit hole?” That’s when you start searching for one thing online, but that leads you to another, and that to another, then another. Eventually, you forgot how you got there or where you started.
Well, I was woken (as expected) for the billionth time one evening, by my daughter screaming bloody murder. I dragged my feet like an emotionless zombie to her room and sat down to cuddle her back to sleep.
To keep my exhausted body from falling asleep in her room, I took out my phone and quietly browsed Pinterest. I fell down the rabbit hole of mommy blogs and articles.
After about the 10th article, my sleep-deprived mind started to idolize these moms. I mean they appeared to have everything I wanted in life: raising kids, writing about it, and profiting from it. To me and my zombie brain, their lives seemed perfect.
In retrospect, I now know that probably they all faced many of the same struggles and self-doubt that I did…and many of them were hiding it like me.
I’ve always been a strong, determined woman who wanted to have a successful career (and the money that comes with it). I also wanted to raise my kids. But how could I possibly do both…on 3-4 broken hours of sleep (at best) every night?
The search for balance
Society made me believe that to succeed in life or my career, I needed to be a strong and independent woman. To shatter the glass ceiling. To cut down gender stereotypes.
So when I had kids, I tried to do everything myself believing that is what society demanded of me so I could be happy and successful. As my munchkins got older I started slowly reaching out, to family only, for help babysitting so I could work, but never because I wanted time mommy-time.
This brings me to my tips:
Career-Kid Balance Tip 1: Ask for help. I know how lucky I am to have family and friends to help care for my children so I can focus on my career for a little bit. But I need to remember to call on them occasionally when I want to go for a solo-bike ride, or go on a movie date with my husband. It helps me balance my “Ashley time.”
Career-Kid Balance Tip #2: Solopreneurs aren’t solo anymore: I’ve recently started to hate the word “solopreneur.” The word “solo” got into my subconsciousness and I believed I had to do everything in my business alone. Then this past year I hired someone to do my business taxes. I hired a Virtual Assistant. I’m working with a web development team to manage my website updates and back-end. This gives me more time to focus on revenue generating work, or to take a 25KM bike ride on a Sunday morning and not worry about client projects.
Career-Kid Balance Tip #3: Have tribe support: The biggest change in my life, aside from the 2 hyperactive munchkins I birthed, was to build the right tribes who I could call on when I needed to celebrate, or vent, or just drink wine with. So far I have built several tribes:
- one of local entrepreneurs and business owners,
- one of mom friends,
- one of my “online” business and mom acquaintances, and
- one with my girls-weekend-to-Vegas girlfriends.
So what was I hiding from my social media and the outside world when my children were younger? Disappointment!
I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t do it all like society made me believe I had to. I felt I had to do it alone, and it wasn’t until I started forming my own tribes and accepting help from others that I felt that constant disappointment start to fade, making room for more honest happiness and success.
I’m just glad I’m not trying to do this alone anymore. I have by tribes by my side so I don’t have to do this alone ever again. Maybe one day soon I can sleep a full 8-hours straight?
Ashley “WriterGal” Doan inspires entrepreneurs and women to action through humour and authenticity. As CEO and Caffeinated Copywriter of her business WriterGal Marketing Services, she helps businesses learn how to make content marketing easy, sustainable, profitable, and fun! Ashley is also a public speaker who speaks on various content marketing topics, and a motivational speaker for entrepreneurs and working mothers.
As a mother of toddlers, she has a passion for supporting mothers and female entrepreneurs. Ashley is the founder of the Caffeinated Working Mom Club, a Facebook peer group of working moms craving connection, comradery, and fun.
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