Happy almost Mother's Day to you! Even if you are reading this after Mother’s Day, I want to wish you a happy day of being a mom!
I've never done a Mother's Day encouragement episode on the podcast before, but I've had a note on my phone for a while now filled with some random notes of encouragement and thoughts on being a mom. I know a lot of you might be farther along in your motherhood journey than me, or you might have multiple kids or a different perspective, and that’s absolutely fine.
Today, I’m sharing from the heart as a mom to a toddler and a business owner, and I hope it’s the encouragement you need today!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
1. The decision between your work and family isn’t an all-or-nothing, one-and-done thing.
In theory, I know we all know that nothing is “all or nothing”. We can be moms, and we can be business owners. We know decisions don’t have to be permanent. But maybe for you right now, you’ve paused your business to be a stay-at-home parent. Or, you’ve cut back your work hours drastically to be a partially stay-at-home parent. Hi, I’m raising my hands here too.
Maybe you've been wanting to start a business, and you have all these ideas, but you have no time for it because of your current season of life with your kids. Or maybe you had a career prior to having children, and now you're a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes you crave being back in the workforce.
My encouragement for you today is that nothing is forever, and seasons of life change, often more quickly and drastically than we expect. So when your kids are in school (or college and beyond), your work life might look completely different than it is right now when you're hustling during nap times or getting a little work in while your mom is in town visiting. Whatever your situation is right now, it's not permanent.
Mother's Day Encouragement: A Sound Clip from Wisdom from the Top, by Guy Raz
In this episode, I played a little audio from another podcast - Wisdom from the Top - which is one of my favorite podcasts lately. I highly encourage you tune into the episode where I took this clip, from an interview with Cheryl Bachelder (the CEO of Popeyes). She’s had a very interesting career, but she’s also a mom working in corporate. I highly recommend you listen to the clip (shared in this episode at 7:17), or listen to the entire interview here. In it she talks about how she took two major breaks in her 40 year career and it didn’t “topple over her career”. In fact, it may have just done the opposite.
When thinking about work and a family, she recommends, “I never thought those decisions were either or. I thought they were at a point in time. And I really encourage young families to think about it this way. Life and work is one whole equation. It is difficult to keep it all sorted out and working well, and so to not be so linear in your thinking that “I always must work” or “I always must stay home” or there's one answer for the next 10 years. I just always thought that was overblown thinking. We had more of a two or three year view of our life and family. That's about the timeframe you could even picture, right? Because you don't know what the next stage looks like, really. ”
My encouragement for you is to not feel despair because work looks different right now for you. Work doesn’t have to be the priority in EVERY season of our life. You just don't know what the next stage looks like yet.
The Average Age of a Startup Founder is 45
Ironically, another note of encouragement came from Guy Raz’ other podcast, “How I Built This”. Ellen Latham, who is the creator and founder of Orange Theory Fitness, did not start her business until she was 40 years old. AFTER her child was already completely out of the house and in college, she first started her business.
In the same episode, Guy Raz talks about how in our brains, we often think of founders as someone in their twenties and thirties, or even just as the “college dropout who's just so super smart”. In reality, there was a study done by Harvard Business Review in 2018, that found that the average age of a successful startup founder in the US is actually 45 years old.
My encouragement to you right now is this: You may be doing something completely different by the time you're in your forties. Maybe you've started another business by then, or maybe you're starting your business for the first time, and it's going to be super successful then as well. I hope that's the Mother's Day encouragement you need to not feel like you have to figure everything out right now.
2. Be in your season.
This is something I am CONSTANTLY reminding myself of. As much as possible, joyfully show up where you are right now, knowing that it’s a season and there’s beauty in it. Don’t compare yourself to moms in other seasons. Don’t wish away where you are, because you think that something in the future is better or something in the past was better.
With that in mind, I also want to remind you that you don’t always have to be growing your business. You can pause or scale back on the business things and dial into motherhood MORE if that’s where you’re at right now!
That’s me right now. While I am still trying to grow my business, I'm also trying to enjoy the fruits of my labor from the past seven years I've put into my business. Instead of feeling like I have to get at it five days a week, I’m asking myself, “what would it look like if I was working three days a week and then being home with my son while he's in these little precious years on the other days?”. If I put him in childcare for 40+ hours per week, I would probably make a lot more money, and my business would grow faster, but that’s not what I want right now.
We did not build our businesses so we could just stress out over hitting the next milestone. You can enjoy what you've built and be able to take breaks instead.
In Episode 187, I shared a quote by Nancy Ray from her podcast, the Work and Play podcast, where she says, “The key to abundant living is following God's lead for your life in the season you're in and knowing the season will change. When we can joyfully press into the season we're in, then joyfully step into the next assignment God has for us, we find abundance. We are right where we are supposed to be”.
3. God is using the quiet, mundane moments that no one sees.
God is using the quiet, mundane moments of your motherhood and business journey, that no one else sees, for your good always. He's using them to grow you as a mom, as a wife, as a business owner (or employee), as a friend, as a daughter, and is using them in ways you can't even see right now.
When I think about some of the really, really hard moments in the newborn phase with Colin and how that has impacted me now (even just a year and a half-ish later), I can see how moments like these change who we are and it can change us for the good.
Motherhood has so many moments that are Instagram-worthy and they're fun to post about, right? There are cute videos and photos to post on Instagram and have everyone say, “oh my gosh, your family's so cute”. or “Everything's so picture perfect”, but the truth is that there are so many moments, that are simply mundane. And sometimes, in addition to being mundane, they're also difficult, frustrating, and challenging.
In times when the minutes pass like hours, and you're just like, “oh my gosh, I cannot do this”, know that God uses it all and uses it for his good and glory in your life and in the world. That’s what I try to remember when I get into that mindset personally when I'm doing the mundane stuff (like sitting around folding laundry when I really wanted to shower) or struggling through random moments like temper tantrums.
An Excerpt from Risen Motherhood
I’ve mentioned this book, Risen Motherhood, on the podcast before, and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, let me just say this would make a great gift idea. Here is a short excerpt as I share some encouragement for moms today.
When I roll laundry bundles, bring in another week's worth of groceries, put the baby's toys in the living room basket, and wipe the table for the umpteenth time, I can remember that I image God as I bring order to my little corner of God's creation. I don't always know how the image communicates the character of God to those around me, but I trust that it does. I trust there is no mundane moment too small for God's glory to shine through it.
The part of us that wants to accomplish something extraordinary and be like God still exists. The part of our heart that longs for more than laundry piles, sitting in the car at the school pickup line, and dealing with the same issues with the same old coworkers still burns. I often want to find answers to those longings by manipulating my life to be fresher and more exciting, less normal, and run of the mill. I swipe through social media feeds on my phone, hoping to see something interesting to add to my own life. I try to make washing the dishes more interesting, by listening to podcasts while I scrub.
Being thoughtful with my time is a good thing. My deepest longing for glory and purpose is found in Christ. Because we're united to him, our identity is extraordinary, and our calling is magnificent. Remember, we are part of an epic story headed for a glorious ending. We're really not that special, but Christ in us is spectacular. He is our hope for glory. We can do all kinds of extraordinary things with a new nature bought and provided for by him through the Holy Spirit.
It might be mundane to fold laundry, but it's extraordinary to do it patiently and with a joy and heart of love. It might be mundane to sit on the couch and read another book to a whiny four-year-old, but it's extraordinary to show kindness and mercy to an undeserving center. It might be mundane to fill the fridge with groceries, but it's extraordinary to praise God for his provision.
Our everyday moments might be ordinary, but when we accomplish them while displaying the fruits of the spirit, they reflect our extraordinary savior. So the laundry piles will keep coming and coming and coming, but we can pursue excellence in our hidden everyday moments knowing that to live is Christ. Even folding laundry is from him and through him and to him and that isn't mundane at all.
In motherhood, you give so much of yourself. I hope you can take some time to replenish and take care of yourself this Mother’s Day.
Sending you all the Mother's Day encouragement you need! We need to take time to fill up our cups too. One final note of encouragement for moms: Know that you are an amazing mom, you are an incredible woman, and your kids are blessed to have you. Have grace on yourself. We are all just figuring it out as we go, and you’re doing amazing!
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May 9, 2023