1) My children might suffer
Hands up if you have honestly never ever looked at your mum and thought ‘Its YOUR fault that XXX happened to me’ or ‘Its because of YOU that I haven’t XXXX.’
And do you remember how, as a teenager, nothing your mum ever did was right? If she spoke, what she said was wrong, if she worked, you wanted her at home, if she was at home, you just wished she wasn’t hanging around the whole bloody time.
So the school of thought that I subscribe to is that at some point, no matter what you do, your children will blame you for it. That is a fact of life. But against this backdrop, just as you most likely ‘got over’ the things you blamed your mum for and at some point realised she was just trying to do her best, your children will in turn ‘get over’ their gripes with you.
Perhaps most importantly, experts say that happy mums make for happy children, so it follows that if you have a burning ambition to do something, to create something, to be someone, but you don’t go for it because you’re worried that your children will suffer, then you won’t be happy. And that is ultimately what might cause them to suffer.
2) Noone takes me seriously now I’m a mum
I’m at a parenthood stage now where the ‘me’ before parenthood seems like a different person to the ‘me’ now. I can’t remember how I used to spend my time when I didn’t have the constant demand of two little ones.
So the idea of putting yourself out there with a new business, a new product or a service at the same time as coming to terms with what can feel like a new identity is nerve racking. Add in the worry of what to do if you have to cancel a meeting because your child is sick and how unprofessional you’ll look when you open up your handbag in front of colleagues and a dummy falls out (happens to me all the time) and it’s easy to understand why many people give up before they even start.
But this is more about your beliefs, than about anyone else’s. Because the circle of life dictates that once you get past a certain age, most people will be parents. There’s actually nothing new or that interesting about the fact you’re a mum. And in fact, being a fellow parent, even in business, can be a great platform to bond on, or open up conversation about.
Obviously if you’re at a professional meeting, keep things brief, and don’t witter on about your children for long, but everyone likes to see a ‘human’ side to people they meet professionally and so there’s no need to pretend you haven’t got children. You are a mum, but you’ve also got a business proposition to talk about. You can be taken seriously at both.
3) My kids have fried my brain
A couple of years ago, a study found that baby brain is actually real – and apparently an evolutionary development aimed at forcing mums to focus on the needs to their baby.
But that said, other research says we only ever use 10 per cent of our brains’ capacity. Even taking baby brain into consideration, that means you still actually have more, not less, brain power at your disposal. So use it.
4) I’m too tired
We all know the relentless, indescribable type of tiredness that comes with being a parent and tediously, doesn’t seem to ease with sleep. It’s caused by relentless broken nights and early mornings, plus the endless juggling of the minutiae of small people’s lives (when are the jabs due, must remember to take school book back tomorrow, must synch Leapfrog Learn to Read pen with laptop, handwriting practise – aaarrrgggghh). Sometimes I think it would be less tiring to run a marathon.
But equally, people without kids are tired too. Tiredness has become a bit of a national pleasure, a competition of who is a ‘bit more tired’ than who. And the bottom line is, no one ever died of tiredness. It can’t kill you.
Using tiredness as an excuse is just, well, boring. You do feel tired. You will feel tired. So do I! So does everyone else. Change your diet, do a bit more exercise if you want. Otherwise, accept it.
You’re alive, that’s what matters. Imagine how you’ll feel on your deathbed when you witter ‘I could have done more with my business but I was too tired.’ In the shadow of eternal sleep, that might seem not such a stumbling block after all.