Thank you again for tuning into another episode of the Profitable Practice Podcast. Today’s podcast episode is really important to me. As I join groups on Facebook, entrepreneurial groups, even our naturopathic groups, I find that at least once a month I see a woman post about GUILT #momguilt and work-life balance.
The struggles that I see with women in our profession between being a good mom and running a practice comes up so often that I knew I needed to address it. Now to the men out there listening… I am not trying to make this podcast one sided. I love that there are more dads out there who are stepping up and taking a huge role at raising their children while working full time. BUT, I can’t talk about this struggle from your stand point nearly as well as I can as a woman. So to those men who struggle with #dadguilt, I would LOVE to hear your take on this work-life balance topic.
So here’s the thing… Women make babies… women are supposed to raise said babies and take care of a home. That is our evolutionary role on this planet. It has really only been in the past decade that women are taking a dominant role in the work place.
The people that I see paving the way for entrepreneurship, more than often, are WOMEN. And that’s great, but what is the one thing that is always nagging at us, the one thing that we can be so easily judged on… are we exchanging success for being a good mom?
How many pictures on social media have you seen images of working women with a newborn infant on their lap or in a sling or on the breast getting HUGE media traction…because it shows us women, “We can do it all!” “It is possible to be a good mom and still work hard.”
To that I say, sure! It is possible… but you will sacrifice one to become great at the other.
So I’m going to take a moment and read you a passage from Shonda Rhimes (you know, the women who has taken over Thursday nights. The creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal) commencement speech she gave to her alma mater university, Dartmouth, a few years ago.
What inspired me the most about this speech is how she clearly lays out a HUGE LIE that people have been feeding us… that is, Work-Life Balance.
“Shonda, how do you do it all?
Like I’m full of magical magic and special wisdom-ness or something.How do you do it all? And I usually just smile and say like, “I’m really organized.” Or if I’m feeling slightly kindly, I say, “I have a lot of help.” And those things are true. But they also are not true. And this is the thing that I really want to say. To all of you. Not just to the women out there. Although this will matter to you women a great deal as you enter the work force and try to figure out how to juggle work and family. But it will also matter to the men, who I think increasingly are also trying to figure out how to juggle work and family. And frankly, if you aren’t trying to figure it out, men of Dartmouth, you should be. Fatherhood is being redefined at a lightning-fast rate. You do not want to be a dinosaur.
So women and men of Dartmouth: As you try to figure out the impossible task of juggling work and family and you hear over and over and over again that you just need a lot of help or you just need to be organized or you just need to try just a little bit harder … as a very successful woman, a single mother of three, who constantly gets asked the question “How do you do it all?” For once I am going to answer that question with 100 percent honesty here for you now. Because it’s just us. Because it’s our fireside chat. Because somebody has to tell you the truth.
Shonda, how do you do it all?
The answer is this: I don’t.
Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life. If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kid’s Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the trade off. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost. Something is always missing.
And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland. There is a land and it is named after their mother. In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights. In their world, mothers work. And I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person—and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who didn’t get to do this all day long. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who wasn’t doing.”
That is how I balance my work-life and my personal-life. I understand that there are days where Aria is going to watch 3 hours of Peppa Pig in a row so I can get my e-mails created, edit my YouTube videos and learn about how to be a better ND and a better business owner.
I have my life set up in such a way that I don’t need to apologize for wanting to get what I want out of MY life. Because I am still living MY life, I just so happen to be a mother and a wife, and proud to be!
I promised myself a very long time ago that I would not fall into a title of “wife”, “mother”, “maid”, “cook”, “grocery shopper.” That I will share my roles equally with my family and make sure that I prioritize MY time when I need to. And there are times boy where I can feel myself slipping. Where I can feel myself falling into “maid/mother” role and I start to become a version of myself that I do not want to be. I start to feel resentful. I have become so in-tuned to that feeling that I can catch myself within a few days and have a calm, gentle but firm talk with my husband about stepping up and being an EQUAL parent.
I have heard so many women in this profession ask questions just like this one,
“Would anyone be willing to share how they block their weekly schedules to accommodate seeing patients, research, CE/professional development, practice management/building, family time, personal time/fitness, meal planning etc. Right now life feels far more chaotic than I think it should. I have a 3yo now and would love to have another in the next couple years but it’s hard to even entertain that possibly with all the business ambitions I have as well. I just try to fit in business and patient research into random times during my week and I find I’m never fully present as an entrepreneur or as a mother. I’m sure there’s a easier way to make this work.”
Here’s how I responded: “The most important thing that I did was make sure that when I’m at work, I work. I am completely focused, because when I get home everyone wants a piece of “mom.” I also am never afraid to ask for time away from my family. If I need to get away and get work done, or stay later and get work done, then I ask for it and almost always get it.”
The take home statement from that is… I ASKED FOR IT. How many patients have you seen that are struggling to keep it all together and one of your solutions to them was, “Well, have you asked your kids to put away their clothes or do the laundry? Have you asked your husband if he can take the kids to soccer practice and make dinner before hand?”
As women, we are commonly afraid to talk to our spouses about what our true desires are. What we still want out of our lives as well as be a great mom. We are afraid to ask for help because as women, we were raised to believe that it’s our “duty” to take care of everyone before ourselves.
To that I say, cut that shit out! I am NOT a born mother. I love Aria more than anything and I am so pumped to meet this new little girl in a few weeks. What I love even more than that, is exactly what Shonda said in her speech… I can’t wait for them to see their mom in action – kicking ass and taking names in the in-office and online space. I can’t wait to show them what a strong, independent woman looks like but most importantly what hard work looks like and what it looks like to not give up on your goals/dreams/aspirations just because you have a family.
So to all of those women in our field, married or not, mothers or not, I really hope that this episode gave you a little more strength to keep doing you. Keep being that badass mamma jamma that you are and don’t like old evolutionary thoughts start to invade your head.
Build a business that allows you more time at home, but do NOT stop building that business.
Understand that amount of work and effort it takes to build a 7-figure practice, and consider that maybe taking home $50K every year, if it allows you to sleep 8-9 hours per night, take weekends off and enjoy being a health-preneur and a parent, is just fine.
We often get so caught up in the hustle, in the race, in the money, that we forget what we really want out of our lives. So to you, I encourage you to write down 3 hard limits. 3 things that you do not want to give up on the road to your success and DO NOT waiver.
The more successful you are in business, the less successful you are as a mother, and vice versa… and that’s ok. That’s why I have created this podcast, and the free webinars that I host every couple of weeks, and the MAXIMize Your Clinic course.
My goal for you is to make your life as an ND a little less time consuming. A little less stressful and a LOT more fulfilling.
If you’re not already a part of the newsletter to find out about these resources that I just discussed, I strongly encourage you to go to www.MAXIMizedBusiness.ca/resources and sign up!
Let me take care of you while you take care of everyone and everything else in your life!
So with that, I’m signing off on this episode, and I strongly encourage you to share this one with anyone you know struggling with #momguilt, #dadguilt or #worklifebalance.
This is Andrea Maxim, and I’m out.