Episode #78 “I’m crazy for even thinking this!”
I’ve been thinking and am curious about starting my own business but I’m nervous. It would be a service based business like yours, but it seems impossible with all that is going on. I’ve been a stay-home mom for the last few years, but I find I’m a little burned out on it. I have no idea what’s happening with the kids school next year or how I would find the time to work on something new. I don’t know who would do all the things I currently do around the house! It’s not like I sit around all day with loads of free time. I’m crazy for even thinking this!
Extra money would be nice, but I can’t say I NEED to earn income. There is no logical reason to start my own business but this nagging voice in the back of my head hasn’t gone away. Is it a good or bad idea to start a business as a transition out of being a stay-home mom? How can I know if this is an idea I should move forward with or not?
Life Coaching Answer
This has been a surprisingly common topic lately, and so exciting! I love to hear women thinking bigger, putting themselves out there, believing in themselves just enough to dip their toes into the world of entrepreneurship.
You ask, “How can I know if this is an idea I should move forward with or not?” I can tell by the way you wrote the question that you are not a serial entrepreneur. You are not the kind of person who throws money at every “get-rich-quick” scheme that comes your way.
We can never know if our idea is the “right” thing. Nor can we know if this is the perfect time. Plenty of bad ideas have been tremendously successful and many great ideas never got off the ground. The thing to focus on isn’t if it will be successful, because there are no guarantees.
You need to focus on what you already know:
You know you are getting bored and burned out on life as a stay-home mom.
You have an idea that hasn’t gone away, despite you trying to talk yourself out of it.
You feel nervous when you think about it.
I don’t know if you can hear it in your question, but I sure can! This fear is a sign that you are on the right track. If I was going to start my own business painting houses, it wouldn’t scare me because it’s not aligned with my soul’s calling. If I fail at a house painting business, who cares? Not me. If I tell people I paint houses, I don’t fear social rejection or weird looks. The business can fail or succeed but it doesn’t affect ME.
If, however, I am starting a business that is very aligned with who I’m meant to be on this planet, it feels TERRIFYING. To say out loud, to the world, “THIS IS ME! THIS IS WHO I AM!” feels ridiculously vulnerable. If my business fails, it feels like I have failed. If someone thinks it’s lame, I make it mean that I am unworthy. To stake your claim, to stand up and tell the world that this is the value I have to offer please tell me I’m worthy by paying me money, is HORRIFYING!
When you feel “called” to a profession, it doesn’t feel like sunshine and roses. It feels like throwing up and hiding. Most people deny this call at first. Doing everything else they can think of to avoid it. “Shadow careers” that bear a close resemblance but aren’t quite as vulnerable as what you really want to be doing. Investing time and energy into raising children is a socially acceptable way to avoid answering the call. The way you know it’s a calling and not just a fun idea is that it won’t go away. It keeps nagging at you. All your attempts to dance around and avoid it don’t last.
The purpose in you pursuing your calling isn’t about creating a perfectly successful business, it’s about the person you get to become in the process of following your dream.
It sounds like you are at a crossroads. One path is the one you’ve been taking, raising great kids, taking care of your family. Nothing wrong with continuing along this path. You will get lots of support from our culture who admires a self-sacrificing mom. This path may get boring and tedious. It may drain your energy and you may even resent your family someday for consuming so much of your time, energy, and spirit. But it’s easy and familiar.
The other path is not easy or familiar. It is scary as hell. You don’t know where it’s going to lead. It feels exciting, interesting, compelling, and very vulnerable. You don’t know how you are going to find the time. You don’t know whether it will be successful or not, but it will get you hopping out of bed in the morning! It’s energizing and exciting, but uncertain.
If you imagine yourself eighty years old, sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch, looking back on your life, which path will you be glad you took? If you took the scary path, what would be your reason? If you took the safe path, what would be your reason? Right now, both paths sound uncomfortable, so you might as well take the path you won’t regret with a reason that is in line with your values.
Being a stay-at-home mom is the perfect place from which to start your own business. You aren’t trying to replace an income, so it eliminates that pressure. Your body is busy, but stay-home mom’s often have some mental space and creative bandwidth. It’s really hard to imagine the logistics of how your schedule will look, but you’ve got time.
Once you start pursuing your calling, you will be AMAZED at how much energy you have! IGNORING a calling is a huge drain so once you commit to moving forward, the excitement and enthusiasm for your new pursuit will make child care issues and household chores seem easy to overcome.
Supermom Kryptonite – Obeying sexist cultural programming
Even in 2020, women get a lot of messages about sacrificing themselves for their kids. When we stay home to cook, clean, and take care of the kids, we get approval from our culture. Obeying this expectation feels safe. Putting our dreams and ambitions on the back burner while raising our kids feels like a good and noble thing to do.
There is a cost to blindly obeying this unspoken sexism: unfulfilled moms and stressed out kids.
Ignoring ourselves is one of the reasons today’s kids feel so much pressure coming from their mothers. If we are going to put our lives on hold, it better be for a damn good reason! We judge OUR success as a mom based on our children’s successes. Deep down, we know we aren’t living up to our potential but it’s more comfortable to focus on helping our kids live up to their potential.
It’s hard enough being a kid without the scrutiny, pressure, and never quite being good enough to make mom’s sacrifices worthwhile.
The solution is to commit to your VALUES. Would you tell your daughter not to pursue her dreams because her husband didn’t support them? Do you want to believe that it is more important to support men’s and children’s ambitions than women’s? Is it ok for a man to take time by himself, to golf and travel, but a woman should be available to the kids 24/7? Is having a clean home really more important than living your best life?
Playing small in our lives is obeying some very old sexist programming. Yes it feels scary to go after our dreams and pursue our ambitions, but living a small life of regret is pretty scary, too.
Supermom Power Boost – Do one thing that scares you every day
I remembered the day I decided I would conquer my anxiety. I was in Yosemite, one of my favorite places in the world, and I couldn’t enjoy it because my thoughts and fears that something bad was about to happen had taken over my brain. Not being able to enjoy climbing boulders in beautiful yosemite valley made me determined to stop avoiding and start living.
I checked out every book my library had on overcoming anxiety and I learned a lot. But the mantra that helped me the most came from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing, everyday, that scares you.” From that day on, I incorporated this philosophy and it completely transformed my life from small and fearful to exciting and adventurous.
Today’s Supermom Powerboost is to do one thing every day which scares you. It doesn’t have to be anything big.l Maybe it’s trying a new drink at Starbucks, switching to almond milk, doing a Bollywood dance video, attempting a Tik Tok, asking a neighbor to go for a walk with you, going camping someplace new, or going for a long bike ride without your phone.
Doing small, scary things every day expands your comfort zone making you feel more comfortable with changes. This will help tremendously as you try to make bigger changes that are aligned with your essence, but might feel very vulnerable and open to cultural backlash.