A Special Mothers Day Post By Jeanne Bracken
After I graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, I served five years on active duty first as a maritime law enforcement officer and then as an intelligence analyst. Among my duties were locating and stopping drug smugglers as they worked their way through the seas to our shores and dealing with the crises of desperate immigrants struggling to reach safe shores aboard small, unseaworthy vessels. Those stressful situations, I believe, gave me the wherewithal to manage my current jobs: overseeing the active lifestyle of a 13-year-old son, catering to the needs of 11-year-old triplets, two of whom have autism, and running a business with my husband.
As crazy and as stressful as our lives can be at times, I’ve managed to operate our CertaPro Painters Rochester West and Northeast business with my husband while still managing to keep my wits about me—most of them, at least. It would be impossible to articulate all that can be said about maintaining the precipitous balancing act that is being both a mom and a successful business owner, but the tips below represent a few of the more general philosophies I have followed both as a mom and as an entrepreneur.
1. You have a support system—use it. Moms everywhere are notorious for feeling compelled to do it all themselves. It’s an unfortunate truth that far too many mothers believe that taking advantage of any support they’re offered is a sign of weakness, maternal incompetence, or both. But I speak from experience when I say that nothing could be farther from the truth. My husband Gary has been an indispensible pillar of support for me, both as a parent and as a business partner. Realizing that it’s perfectly OK to let others shoulder some of the burden of parenting is paramount to successfully balancing being a mom and a business owner.
2. Realize that sometimes balance is impossible. This may sound counter-intuitive, but once you dismiss the notion that you can always maintain a perfect balance between the two full-time jobs of motherhood and business ownership you will be better able to accept those days when nothing seems to go right. A refrain that should be well familiar to moms with Frozen-obsessed kids everywhere can be helpful in such times: “Let it go.”
3. Look for the light in dark times. Rough spots are inevitable during both motherhood and business operations. Before we opened our CertaPro Painters, I was receiving treatment for breast cancer and Gary had lost his job. As difficult as life might get during trying times, I truly believe that there is something to learn from every bad situation. During my struggle with cancer, I grew as a mother and as a wife and then transitioned into my role as a business owner.
Being a good mom while being a good business owner as well rests on the idea of rejecting the idea of perfection. It’s easy to take a look at your friends’ Facebook walls adorned with pictures of beaming children and question your own role as a mother. It is important to remember, however, that maintaining the balance between being a mom and running a business is all about looking inward for validation and trusting yourself. If you do that, you will find the confidence to succeed as I did.