I shall start by apologising to those women (and I know there will be some) who disagree with me on this subject, but I am willing to bet you have yet to sample motherhood. I am actually a little tired of hearing that we women can have everything we want in life, if we are only willing to put in the effort. It is simply not true.
Life, if you are trying to combine work and motherhood, is one long series of compromises and sacrifices. Women who choose to make business their priority will no doubt find they can fight their way to the top along with the men. But, for the vast majority of mothers, our families come first. That means, if you are trying to build a business, that you will undoubtedly feel like you are doing so with one hand tied behind your back. Maybe two.
The frustrations of balancing work and home life were brought home to me this morning as I sat at my desk, trying to work out whether I could dash to the lunchtime OBN network event for the last half hour, after I dropped my son at playgroup. I decided against and realised that was the fifth business event in the space of a week that I have had to turn down. Every one of those events would at the very least have been interesting and enjoyable, but may have been valuable to me in building my business.
This afternoon I have to decline a space on a very interesting training course this weekend. The reason? My daughter has been invited to a birthday party and so I need to be available to take her. I try to make a rule that my children do not miss out on things because of my business. After all, the reason I set up my business is so that I could work flexibly and be at home with my children.
If all this sounds like a great big moan, it isn't. Honestly. I consider myself fortunate to be in a position where I am available for my children and yet still doing something that I love and find immensely rewarding. But that is a long way away from 'having it all'. Some days, like today, it can all become that bit too frustrating and you can start to wonder why you bother.
But life always has a funny way of pulling you up by the boot straps. As I was wallowing this morning, up popped a post from Deborah Wroe, linking to a blog about how female entrepreneurs need different support to the... I read it, it struck so many chords with me that it made me cry (and there's something else we shouldn't pretend we don't do).
I had already been thinking about writing this blog, but a quick virtual hug from Deborah (yes, we do that too) and a few words of encouragement convinced me to stop wallowing and do something positive. So here is my something positive. This is me, admitting I find juggling business and motherhood a struggle. I hope it might, in its turn, strike a chord with others in my position and give you your own virtual hug.
If you want the support of other mums in business then join my Bizzy Mummies group. It has laid dormant for a long time because everyone was too busy juggling to devote any time to the group , but I will get it moving again if there is demand.
I am a woman, I am a mother and I am a businesswoman. I laugh, I cry and I need an occasional hug, I don't for a minute think that I can have it all, but do you know what? That's fine by me. How exhausting would it be to be constantly chasing perfection?