I gave birth to my daughter a year and a half ago, so to give you some semblance of time, this is how long it has taken me to actually find a moment purely for myself to sit down and write. I remember thinking when she was 6 months old that I would never have time for myself again, not ever; I couldn’t picture any way that the future would become any less busy or less complicated, or that I would ever have enough energy to do something besides sleep during my so-called “free time.” So I guess today is a bit of a milestone because here I am…Baby is sleeping, husband is at the gym, business is running smoothly, and I am taking this time for myself.
Before I had my daughter, I was doing a pretty good job at being a Boss Lady. I run a successful dance studio full-time, manage a staff of 10+ employees, teach some classes myself, and run several weekly rehearsals. The vast majority of our students are preschool through high-school kids, we have a performing company, competition team, and produce 2 huge productions each year – The Nutcracker in December and Recital in June. Owning a dance studio sounds like a really cute, dreamy job to most people, but it’s very overwhelming the majority of the time…and yet oh so rewarding (Wait! This also sounds a lot like motherhood!!). I’ve been a mother to well over 200 students a year, for the past 7 years, so adding the official title of “Mom” to “Boss Lady” didn’t seem like it would be that hard. I laugh now thinking about how clueless I was!
Being a Boss Lady Mom is 50 times harder than just being a Boss Lady. No salary offer at any corporate company would be enough for someone to take on my job description…and then add “Wife” to the title, and you might as well just take over the company as CEO! My husband is quite the Boss Man himself – also a dancer, he teaches dance classes on weekdays, hosts special workshops, performs in shows with his crew, judges competitions all around the world, and inspires kids to have a growth-mindset through school assemblies and a break-dancing league. Oh, and he’s also a 2-time world champion B-boy, co-founder of Seattle’s Massive Monkees Crew, and choreographer and dancer for Macklemore. So we have a totally normal lifestyle.
Becoming a mother was everything I never expected. I read every book, I took every class, I read every blog; heck, I grew up baby-sitting from age 10! I had changed dozens of poopy diapers already, I had watched all the documentaries before I even got pregnant, and I was going to kill this motherhood thing like the Boss Lady that I am!
It FLOORED me. All of the sudden I had so much love for this tiny creature we had created that I felt completely torn in half. How was I going to give all of my love and care and attention to my baby when I had been pouring myself into my business? If I had to choose, of course my daughter would win, and then what would become of all the years of hard work I had dedicated to building my passion into a career? After a couple months of no sleep, nursing and changing diapers around the clock, and crying most days, the guilt set in big time. I’m being a terrible boss. I’m neglecting my employees. Nothing’s getting done. No one can rely on me. I can’t possibly be as good as I was before. How does anyone have more than 1 kid? I’m a failure!!
It took a really long time to get out of that slump. Finally getting more sleep, after hiring a sleep doula to help us with our 10-month old (best investment ever!), helped me regain the clarity and confidence I needed to realize that I could still be, and more importantly feel, successful. If I had started my business at the same time I was also working 40 hours a week at a corporate job and balanced that for a year, then there was no reason why being the Boss Lady Mom I wanted to be wasn’t attainable.
The last 6 months have been a game-changer for me, and I’ve developed so many tools that help me on a daily basis. I work from home most of my days and go into the studio in the afternoons to teach 3 days a week. I’m also at the studio over most weekends, teaching and running rehearsals. On many days my husband works an opposite schedule from me, so we’re lucky in that we don’t have to rely on childcare for our daughter very much. We’re also extremely fortunate in that grandma and grandpa live close by and love spending time spoiling their granddaughter, so when our schedules don’t align so well, we have a reliable support system that we trust.
I’ve learned that feeling successful in anything, as a mother, boss, wife, etc., comes from having a sense of accomplishment. The difference now is that accomplishments no longer have to be defined as big projects being completed or lofty goals being met, but it’s smaller wins that can be celebrated daily that ultimately add up to success.
I’ve also had to let go of my obsession with perfectionism. As a Boss Lady Mom I have no time to be perfect (and who is anyways), and as just a Boss Lady I was really far from it, but I’ve stopped dwelling on how much better I could’ve done or questioning if what I’ve done is right and have instead found a new sense of confidence in being okay with just “doing my best.” There have been many moons before today that even stopped me from publishing my blog because I was too worried about having perfect punctuation and grammar, questioned if my opinions would be read the wrong way, or worried about exposing my true self and not everyone liking it. I’ve now found the power to tell myself who cares, it doesn’t matter, it’s my life, and life’s too short.
So for all you Boss Lady Moms out there who are coming up with yet another reason why you’re not good enough, or ready enough, or capable enough, enough is ENOUGH! Embrace your best, do your best, be your best, and life will take care of the rest.