I don’t know your situation and I know moms these days are all over the map as far as working, working part time, consulting, working from home, staying at home fulltime, and so on. But we all have SuperMomItis. We want to do it all, be it all, and do it all great. Me, too. And it was driving me slowly crazy.
I had spent a lot of time building up a new blog when my first born son came along. It is a website for parents in the Triangle area with trips and tips on local resources (it’s Notes from a Mom in Chapel Hill, if you want to take a peek). I loved doing it. But it got big faster than I anticipated. While I loved the wild and crazy ride that the success was creating, it was taking up a lot of time. I found I was spending less and less time writing (which is the part I really love) and more and more time answering reader emails, managing spam, updating and promoting events, and trying to stay on top of the social media accounts. Not to mention that, especially for a localized reference, blogs make zippo money on their own. Well, if not “zippo” then not exactly enough to take a ski vacation on.
And, of course, while doing this I was a stay-at-home-mom, managing the local Mothers’ Club newsletter and sitting on the Board there, teaching classes at the gym 3 times a week, part of a weekly playgroup that I loved, trying to get more active in church, looking at doing my Preschool’s newsletter and being on the Board there, involved in my Mothers of Preschoolers (“M.O.P.S.”) group at the church, writing for a few local media outlets free of charge, and still trying to do the real meat of living like get to the grocery store and wash my toddler’s underwear in a timely manner. Sound familiar?
Then I had child 2. Things got even nuttier and I found myself sitting on the playground with my children while glued to my phone texting or emailing or Tweeting. Time to actually spend with my kids? Forget it. Hello Mom-guilt.
So I took a deep breath and took a step back. I asked myself some important questions: what sort of mom did I want to be and what sort of woman did I want to be (note, these are separate questions!). I made a list of all the things I was doing, assessed them and talked with my spouse about how they made me feel, looked at where potential revenue was for time on the computer/phone, and started crossing things off the list.
I realized I was a Mompreneur at heart and while Mom in Chapel Hill wasn’t making me any money it was such a sense of identity and, also, an investment in my future for when it was time for me to reenter the workforce. Yet I changed the direction of the website a little. After talking about the monetizing dilemma with Melissa of Momcomm I decided to start a direct-to-(e)mail newsletter. It turns out that businesses are much more interested in buying a spot in a newsletter that goes directly to people’s inboxes as these days few people read websites or blogs from the actual homepage. They read them through their RSS Feeds, phones, or other readers like Google Reader.
I contacted the people who needed to know about the things I decided to cross off the list and just did it. No more Mothers’ Club newsletter, 1 class a week at the gym only, no more free writing for media outlets, and I removed myself from the Preschool newsletter consideration. I stayed involved in some of my organizations since they provide me a lot of positive mental health and are good for my children (such as M.O.P.S. and my playgroup). But when 2 days after this whole exercise my will was tested, I politely and respectfully declined an opportunity to get even more involved in M.O.P.S. by leading up a Christmas drive.
You know what? It turned out that the folks in charge were appropriately sad to see me go but none were devastated or angry. Even more, there were other talented people waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Me leaving gave them a chance.
Further, new doors opened for me that were surprising and even an option for me as I had made my life manageable. Kristen Bagwell over at Triangle Moms on Main posted in the Raleigh Mompreneurs Facebook group that her site was growing faster than she could manage, she was selling great spots and ads, and she needed partner in crime, with the potential for earnings. Sign me up! Writing + money + an awesome new partner?! Fantastic! The big announcement went out on Monday.
My SuperMomItis still rears its head a lot. I want to do it all. I want to help with my first born’s school fall festival, I want to be at the music class every week for my infant, I want to volunteer for my church’s Christmas Pageant. But I simply can’t. I determined what is most important to me, what makes me happiest, what makes sense, and the rest must go. I am sticking to it. The community surely survives without me. I also figure that one day, when my children are older, I will happily and can more easily serve.
What’s also nice: I close my computer during the day when my children are awake and my cell phone obsession has lessened (although it’s not gone, baby steps!). I hope my kids remember the times we sat on the floor playing blocks, not the times I sat on my phone saying “just a minute, let me answer this email.” I consider knocking my SuperMomItis down a few rungs a gift to them and myself.
Notes for a Mom in Chapel Hill