I have written about relationship struggles over the festive period. It got picked up by Mumsnet. A lot of people could relate to it. My favourite line:
“He suggested we take the Christmas decorations down on the 27th!!! (I almost cried)! Does he even know me at all?”
Lately I have been thinking entrepreneurship and relationships. If you work for yourself then the chances are that you are pretty damn passionate about what you do. It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve enjoyed jobs before, but at 35 this one is by far my favourite. I absolutely adore creating content, I have been writing my book for over a year and I can’t even tell you how fine the champagne will taste once it’s launched.
I get to choose the clients I work with, I have freedom to say no. I meet amazing people, I have a lot of fun. I get to drink great coffee, I can choose where I go. Recently, before a photo shoot in town, I was at Burr and Co.
It’s like walking into a designer handbag store. The classiest coffee joint in the city. They kindly picked up the tab for my breakfast which was very much appreciated. You can’t put a price on good service.
I work with some great brands that I really respect and I get to put my own spin on the content. That feels awesome. Most importantly, I know that the work I am doing is making a difference to people. I get a lot of people writing to me and I cherish every single message. This one last week made my stomach flip a little with joy.
Time for the BUT. BUT: working for yourself is pure hardcore graft that I have never experienced before. I’ve been in high pressured jobs in the past. Blue chip clients would be texting me at 11pm. But still, nothing comes close. Working for yourself is a lifestyle commitment. The hours are LONG. Switching off from it can feel impossible. It will at some point put a strain on your relationship. Everyone I know who works for themselves feels this way. My husband has been an incredible support but there are times he can feel neglected, exhausted, frustrated. With two young kids, it’s even harder.
There is always work to be done. There are always emails waiting, new exciting projects and clients to get back to. Then there is the mind field that is social media. Every company needs to be there, love it or find it all a bit cringe (I love it ovbs, I’m a blogger wa*nker).
There is often guilt. Guilt from the diva voice I write about “Perfect Mum”.
Granted, some weeks will be more mental than others. For me, last week was one of those weeks. My Mum was banging in my ear, “that hubs of yours needs a break too”. His work colleagues were banging in his ear “Your wife needs to give you a break too”. Childcare was banging in my ear (love you Grandparents) “we are shattered”. Go figure. Kids are an exhausting blessing. They need constant attention, love and snack top ups.
On top of this, I felt like I was letting friends down. I cried for the first time in weeks (gushy tv aside). Work was going amazingly well though. But I realised I needed to take a break. I needed more moments to be present. Present with my family. Present with my friends. Present with myself.
When you work for yourself it will often be a 7 day week, especially in the first few years. A sacrifice has to be made if you want it enough. The mental wellness levels of an entrepreneur can fluctuate like the stock market.
Try and take time to talk it through. Last week I made sure I left my phone AND my camera at home when we went for a family walk. I thanked my husband for working hard and then coming home to let me do more work. I thanked him for being so amazing and hands on with the kids. I offered him the chance to go out and do something nice for him, all alone. I sent him off to the steam room and sauna when we went for the kids swimming session (Ok I had a shot too). I let him go off for an hours nap while I cooked one night. There were moments I had no energy to talk to him though and any moaning just made we want to switch off. Especially moaning about me putting my work before housework. Go figure. Something has to give. Anyone know any good cleaners?
I still forced myself to go out running, to go to a yoga class and mediate. To hit the gym for a couple of sessions. Even though it was hard to find the time. I did it just like I brush my teeth and have a wash. Because taking this time helps me to be happier and it gives me more energy. Which means I will snap less. Moaning at people just adds SO much more stress. In the words of Sweaty Betty:
“I got 99 problems but I’m going to the gym to ignore them all”.
Granted, I had one night I didn’t sleep much due to the kids jumping on my head. I felt pretty deflated the next day. I forced myself to get into bed earlier a couple of nights.
This is hard for me, little Miss people pleaser. I had a good chat with my brother about a stressful situation. He reminded me that I can’t please everyone and to stop being so hard on myself. He reminded me to be confident in the choices and decisions I make, even when it feels hard. It can take strength to stand by our choices. I liked his advice and will take it moving forward.
Sit by a happy place and be still
I love sitting by the fire. We don’t have one in our house but I often enjoy a moment to be still with a coffee by the fire when I visit my parents.
Turn it up louder and dance through the rain.
We all need a toolkit. Find it, use it and if it is all getting too much, be honest. Take the break you need. Whatever that may be.