Working Moms Who Side Hustle Podcast Ep. 11: Five Essential Pieces of Advice for Working Moms That You Must Know
On today’s show, we’re going to explore five valuable pieces of advice for working moms, and especially for working moms with a side hustle. I truly believe these are foundational and absolutely critical to your success!
Let’s get right into it.
#1: Reframe your mindset surrounding time.
I realized that time management was an issue for me when I found myself responding automatically to “how are you?” with “super busy!” and “I have no time!” Somehow, after I had my kids, everything around me sped up, and busyness became a way of life.
But when we operate with the mindset of time being scarce or non-existent, the meaningful stuff we want to get done falls by the wayside. In other words, we respond to the stuff that’s urgent and pressing and never get around to the meaningful things in our lives.
The question becomes: how do we, as working moms, find the time to work on the passion project, the big goal, or the thing that’s been tugging at us?
We need to change our mindset about time and our relationship with time.
Here’s the thing—time expands to accommodate whatever we’ve got going on. For example, ever have an appliance break on you? Your ice maker line is leaking and there’s water everywhere in your kitchen. Or you get a call from your neighbor because your dog escaped from your yard and is running around loose and you need to leave work to corral him. On a normal day, you wouldn’t think that you had any extra time to fit in anything other than your 9-5 and family obligations. But what happened in those situations? You did what you had to do to deal with those issues in the 24 hours in the day that you had. Here’s how it happened: you shifted your priorities to deal with those unanticipated emergencies.
Sure, there’s a lot of stuff in your life that isn’t really negotiable. Like your full time job or your commute to work. But we need to recognize that the stuff we do to fill the rest of the time is a choice and is a result of our priorities.
The thing is, we can find time…but it’s not easy and we won’t have a lot of it. As Laura Vanderkam, a productivity researcher/expert and author said, “I came to see that using time well, so that you enjoy time, rather than battle it, is often not about being more organized in the running of a household. It is about changing your mind-set and recognizing that much of what fills our time is a choice.” (1)
ACTION ITEM: Begin to change your mindset about time. Be aware of the words that come out of your mouth. Catch yourself the next time you are about to say, “I don’t have time” and say to yourself instead, “I’m making a choice not to do this-or-that”.
#2. Get over the guilt of being a working mom.
I thought I’d always want to be a professional, working mom. But when my son was born, something shifted (perhaps you can relate?) and I wanted to stay home with him. But I couldn’t. When I went back to work after maternity leave, I was constantly struggling with the nasty internal dialogue in my head— that I was at work for many more hours than I would spend time with my son.
So I would take a few hours off from work to volunteer for every single activity at his preschool but then feel resentful at all of the stay at home moms for not having to take time off from work.
There was always that nagging inside my head that stay at home moms had it made. And that they had so much more time to work with their kids and that my kids were going to somehow be behind and not have as many opportunities because of my being at work.
Needless to say, I was happy to discover that research shows that kids of working moms don’t suffer any type of harm. Yay!
I read an article on TIME.com where the author stated, “the children of working mothers were just as happy, attended college just as often, were employed just as often and had families at the same rates as children whose mothers stayed at home.” (2)
That was good news!
And then I read an article in the New York Times. In it, the author cited a study by Kathleen McGinn, a professor at Harvard Business School. She said, “Part of this working mothers’ guilt has been, ‘Oh, my kids are going to be so much better off if I stay home,’ but what we’re finding in adult outcomes is kids will be so much better off if women spend some time at work. “ (3)
That made me feel better and I hope it helps you too. It’s a great feeling to know that there’s research and science that shows our kids aren’t negatively impacted by us working outside the home. Although I don’t think it’s possible to completely banish mommy guilt, but we can at least take comfort in what the science is telling us.
ACTION ITEM: Tell yourself, and revise the scripts in your head that you are failing as a mom because you work outside the home. For example, I tell myself that I’m proud to be an example to my boys as a Mom who is trying (sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing) at being the best Mom and professional at the same time.
3. Make a decision and stop waffling.
Decision fatigue is real. In case you don’t know what decision fatigue is, it’s the waffling in your head, the internal dialogue going back and forth, then making a poor decision.
“Decision fatigue is the deterioration of our ability to make good decisions after a long session of decision making. In other words, the more decisions you need to make, the worse you’re going to be at weighing all the options and making an educated, research-backed choice.” (4)
You’ve all heard about Mark Zuckerberg and the fact that he wears the same “uniform” daily. Instead of expending brain power on little minute decisions that have little impact, like what he’s going to wear, he can save his brain power for the more important decisions he’ll need to make throughout the day. I also read an article somewhere about Ivanka Trump, and how she eats the same thing for breakfast each day (I think it was greek yogurt with berries), which also helps to eliminate decision fatigue in the mornings.
ACTION ITEM: Streamline and simplify some of the decisions you make on the daily (like Mark Zuckerberg and Ivanka Trump).
And when you make an important decision, be good with it and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about what could have been.
4. Make some time for self-care.
Even though it’s easier said than done, you need to make time to do something for yourself. When I worked in a corporate office (you know the kind with rows and rows of gray steel cubicles) I would take my breaks by going outside and walking for 10 minutes. I would also take a small part of my lunch break to do a centering exercise. Go to your car or find an empty office or room (we had a “cot” room where nursing mothers could pump and people who weren’t feeling well could go). I would go into that room every day, put up the “occupied” sign, turn off the lights, and set my timer and do my breathing and centering exercises. It helped tremendously and I highly recommend it.
What can you do in short spurts of time?
ACTION ITEM: Look at your current week. Where will you be able to fit in a short 10-minute walk into your day? Can you use your lunch break this Tuesday and Thursday? Find the pocket of time to work this in, put it on your calendar, and just do it.
5. Develop the growth mindset.
This one is the most important of the important. Reading “Mindset” by Carol Dweck changed my life, and having the growth mindset can change yours too. I can’t recommend it enough.
A fixed mindset is the belief that your qualities and intelligence have been set in stone from birth. In other words, with the fixed mindset, you believe people are born geniuses or natural athletes. Since they’re born naturally gifted and talented, they don’t have to work for their accomplishments.
On the other hand, a growth mindset is the belief that your abilities and intelligence are malleable and can be shaped by your attitude and effort. You’ll work through obstacles because you aren’t hampered by the limiting fixed mindset that all traits are predetermined at birth.
Having a growth mindset requires a shift in thinking for most of us. How many times have you said to your kids: “Mike is a natural basketball player. He was born with a basketball in his hands.”. How many times have you said “Kate is a natural speaker and presenter. I wasn’t born with those skills. I suck at presenting.” These types of beliefs are ingrained in us. We say it without thinking! But what happens is that those fixed mindset beliefs shape our behavior and stop us from trying, from challenging ourself. I mean, in the fixed mindset, why work hard at something that you’re gonna automatically fail at because you weren’t gifted with those abilities at birth? BUT, with a growth mindset, you believe you can work at something and get better and improve, and therefore, you won’t limit yourself to tackling only those things that you’re instantly good at.
Here’s the good news. The growth mindset can be shaped by you, at any time. It’s completely within your control.
ACTION ITEM: Start by recognizing your own mindset. Listen to the messages we communicate to others and to ourselves. Once you’re aware of those ingrained thought patterns, you can begin to change it. And once you’re aware, work on shaping the messages and stories you tell yourself and others.
OK, so there you have it. Five foundational pieces of advice for working moms to have in their toolkits.
Enter our giveaway for a free Swagbag worth over $50!
In the Swagbag:
and other goodies!
To enter, simply tune in to our podcast and leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts before May 10, 2019. Two winners to be selected at random and will be announced on our podcast released the week of May 13, 2019. Open to U.S. Residents only.
Resources Mentioned On The Show:
Fringefinder Time Management 1-1 Coaching: www.momremix.com
I help working moms with this in my Fringefinder coaching program—I help working moms find time, a lot of it during the fringes, to work on their side hustles.
Listen to the Episode:
1. Vanderkam, Laura. “I Know How She Does It” p. 168
2. TIME.com. “I Surveyed More Than 1,000 People to Find Out How Having a Working Mom Really Affects Kids” Pamela F. Lenehan (March 1, 2016), Accessed 1 Sept 2018.
3. New York Times. “Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers” Claire Cain Miller (May 15, 2015). Accessed 1 Sept 2018.
4. Fast Company 2/21/18: 5 Ways To Prevent Decision Fatigue From Ruining Your Productivity. www. https://www.fastcompany.com/40533263/5-ways-to-prevent-decision-fatigue-from-ruining-your-productivity). Accessed 1 Sept 2018.