How to Ditch the Guilt as a Working Mum

I’m a single mum juggling an international business with my 10-year-old son Jaxon who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. I’m not a perfect mother. I do not do perfect lunchboxes. Or perfect home-cooked meals. I do not look over Jax’s shoulder every five minutes to see what he’s watching on YouTube. No helicopter parenting here!

In fact, when I set up my flagship store in Melbourne, I took Jax with me, which meant he basically spent his holidays watching me work. I even had a gaming set-up installed in the back office so that he could play Fortnite. (Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, right?)

Did I feel guilty? You bet.

I was guilt-ridden because I’d dragged my son across the country so I could work, when we could clearly see on social media that all his classmates were off camping and fishing.  I beat myself up because they were out there in nature and my boy wasn’t.

So, I apologised to Jax.

He just laughed and told me he hated camping and couldn’t think of anything worse!

Turns out Jax loves my work trips because we stay in hotels, watch movies and order room service.

Go figure.

Jax was four when I set up Regency Distribution, the parent company of James Said, and eight when I separated from his father. I won’t lie, juggling motherhood and developing a business was difficult, but I always knew long-term I was doing the right thing. It’s allowed me to have my independence as a single mum.

In the early years, Jaxon seemed to see my working as a choice; as if it was a hobby or a guilty pleasure. But as he has matured, he understands it’s our livelihood, our lifestyle and future.  I see that he is proud of me and that feels great.

And when it comes to the guilts, it seems I’ve learnt a few valuable lessons along the way.

Bethany James & son

Here’s wow to ditch the guilt as a working Mum!

Do what works for you

Hotels, movies and room service? Camping, fishing and nature? Every family is different. And that’s cool.

 

Cut yourself some slack

If we find ourselves looking back at a situation and feeling we could have done better, then we need to realise that on that particular day, at that particular moment, we were doing the best we could.  We’re simply better on some days than others.

 

Don’t worry what other people think

The best advice I’ve been given as a working mum! As a new mum, I was always worried about how other mothers would judge me.  It still happens, but I don’t let it affect me as much, which is incredibly liberating.

 

Be present, wherever you are. 

When I’m at work I need to make the most of every minute, so you’ll always find me fully immersed in the task at hand. It’s the same when I’m in mum mode. I try to stay off my phone so I’m fully present. Nowadays I’m not needed so much at home, so it’s usually me trying to get some attention from Jaxon!

Jaxon’s only 10, but I make a point of including him in the business and I’m caught off guard at his grasp of the basics. I can bounce ideas off him and he bounces them back with value added. I think I became an entrepreneur from watching my Dad and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jaxon is an entrepreneur in waiting.

I also like that I have set an example when it comes to the amount of grit and hard work it takes to be successful. Parent or entrepreneur, the values I try to set are the same.

This week I’ve been talking to Jax a lot about the ‘glass half full’. Last month it was about his school grades and helping him to understand that success is about what you do in each little moment.

Don’t worry about what anybody else is doing. Just do YOUR best. When you do your best, consistently, in the small moments, they compound, and this is how real success is built.

It’s time for you to ditch the guilt as a working Mum!

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