When mom’s happy, everyone’s happy.
An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child.
Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.
“Maman! Mamaaaaan! Maman! Where you at?” yelled my 3-year old son Noah. Despite being right next to dad, he wanted me. This happens all the time around here, as it does in most other households. Kids always want their moms, but when momma is not happy or present, it leads to disengagement and disconnection. Why? Because moms will sometimes just throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks when it comes to parenting, and it often doesn’t end well. She will be too quick to stop an argument, hush the whining, or dismiss emotions just to get some peace and quiet. And if you’re a working parent or busy entrepreneur, a calm and relaxed home environment is the most needed.
Completely Disconnected From my Own Kids
I was quickly starting to feel disconnected from my own boys. Work was all-consuming. I was losing sleep at night not just because I had a newborn, but because I was always so worried about work. Worried about clients, employees, plans, and travel. Worried about maintaining profit margins, my image, growth, my company’s reputation. It was 24 hours a day of worry ON TOP of typical mommy guilt and worrying about my kids. I needed to keep up with ‘the plan’. Grow it to $500k, then past a million. Plan to be world-class and a dominant force in the PR world. Keep a clean and tidy house. Make sure the kids are clean and happy and have all the things they needed, with NO help. No nanny, no extra cleaning lady, no on-call handyman to fix things.
It was k-i-l-l-i-n-g me.
I used to always be in front of my laptop, or on the phone or leaving the house on a Sunday afternoon to go to work, despite already having put in a 50-hour workweek. I thought that spending time with my kids meant time away from my business. Being present for them meant giving up what I thought I should be doing, working. Work work work!
Nothing ‘Fun’ Was Ever Planned
Christmases were always thrown together. Birthday parties never happened. Deep, connecting conversations and 1-1 time rarely occurred. As I watched my mommy friends raise their kids, travelling, hanging out, doing fun stuff, I started to feel as though I wasn’t ever cut out to fill the role as a mother. The boys were in daycare full time at 5-weeks old each. I never took extra days off with them and actually grew very annoyed when daycare was closed because of a holiday. It meant I had to juggle work and them being home. Anxiety was always so high.
Every day was a hustle — not to $1 Million, but just to find a glimmer of happiness and joy within me. Gosh, if someone would have handed me $1M back then, I would have taken it just to find a way to be alone. I wanted to shield myself from everything.
Prioritized the Stupid Sh*t
I was prioritizing the stupid sh*t because it looked good on me. Well, one day when the clock went flying across the room and smashed on the floor next to the boys, glass flying everywhere (someone attached to my arms threw that thing as hard as they could), it occurred to me that it wasn’t normal. And for those who believe these breakdowns are just “part of being a mom and entrepreneur”, you’re hanging out with the wrong people.
It was a time for some serious change. Deep work and self-realization. Time for ME. I needed to be happy. Really really happy. Not just for me, but for everyone around me, especially my boys and husband. But it was a tough start.
You see, mothers and great entrepreneurs are so selfless, they take their own health and well-being for granted. We put everyone else’s needs first because we want to see the people we care about thrive. We want them to be so deeply in tune with themselves and happy that we stop at nothing to help them achieve that. In turn, we deplete ourselves of energy, of focus, of passion and purpose because we aren’t putting US FIRST.
I Had the Wrong Things Labeled ‘Big Rocks’!
At the end of 2015, during my annual Couples Retreat with my husband, I jotted down a few things that helped me realize where I needed to be. I asked myself three things:
- What is the most important role or thing or goal I am committed to bringing to life this year?
- What are the three things that would have to be true for the goal to happen?
- What are the daily, weekly, and monthly actions that I need to do to contribute to the goal?
After writing down the list, it became very evident that I had labeled the wrong things with ‘Big Rocks’, when they should have been the pebbles.
All answers led to having a mom-first approach.
I needed to:
- Work less, but smarter, to have more quality time with my boys
- Be less anxious for my kids
- Be more present for my kids
- Worry less about work and my kids
- All to be more connected to me and my family.
Business Would Now Come Fourth in the Line of Priority.
My health and mental wellbeing was #1
A mom-first approach to my family was #2
My relationship with my husband was #3
Business = #4
With that realization, mega-huge changes had to occur. And they did.
- I started CrossFit. (Now I go 4-5 times/week)
- I started eating clean.
- I started sleeping without worry all the time.
- I started reading more.
- I became way more connected to the real me.
- I said yes to only the F*ck Yeah ideas and events.
- I spent way less time trying to prove myself.
- I started to love myself SO MUCH MORE!
Wow! All This because I moved a Couple Big Rocks Around
- All this because I knew I needed to be more present for my kids.
- All this because I wanted to set a better example for my boys.
- All this because I wanted my kids to grow up with great values.
- All this because I needed my boys to see the real me.
With this new mom-first approach to my life, it quickly put things into perspective and allowed me to take leaps in the right direction. Not what others expected of me, but what I wanted for myself. And the results are incredible — and still happening!
Today, I have upped my #momgame, downgraded my entrepreneur game (to ‘normal’ levels), and cranked up the self-care game (new workout pants, fancier face creams, infrared sauna dates with myself, working out, books I-want-to-read, bedtimes I used to envy, and a new company (We Wild Women) that I have been DREAMING about for years!)
This mom-first approach has made me a better mom, a better wife, a better entrepreneur, a better best friend, a better sister/daughter, and way-way-way more involved in community and charity work.
What are you doing to put yourself first? What are you doing to slow or stop the overwhelm and chaos in your life? What are you doing to be more present for yourself and your family?
Let me know in the Bra Bra Sisterhood Facebook community!
- Renée Warren is an award-winning entrepreneur, a 7-figure business starter, and the founder of We Wild Women, a business dedicated to helping women launch their dream business. She's a mom to Irish Twins, a published author, and host of the Into The Wild podcast.