Confessions of a solopreneur: I’ve been judged as ‘a mom’ at work since I was pregnant
Ever heard of ‘Anything you can do, I can do with a baby on my hip’? I came across this years ago, and it made me laugh at the time at the endless battles of the sexes. I can’t remember where, and Google is no help today. Unfortunately, this kind of combative thinking won’t go away as long as the problem exists. And the problem is real.
For as long as I’ve been a mom, I’ve been judged for my ability to deliver work. Some of it is in your face judgment that only some parts of the world seem to be able to get away with 😡. I’ve told the tale of how inclusivity bled on the floor and died in one instance! When I was pushed out of a job I did about 3 times as well as my predecessor (male, and the right shade), at 9 months pregnant. Because I was ‘going to be pre-occupied and take lots of time off’ and because they didn’t like the fact that I had a set balls, to begin with, so why pretend to embrace the kid crap!?
Some of it was much less shockingly in your face. The assumptions around my availability, or the types of things I might enjoy doing come to mind. Often condescension disguised as care 🙄 I truly have seen many versions. And it’s unfortunate, but somewhere along the way, I picked peace of mind over the need to make my political position on these things known at all times. Sad, I know. Sometimes I think it’s where activism goes to die – the need for ‘peace of mind’ 🙈. But I digress.
Solopreneur perspective… which, swift aside, is what I’ve been for almost the entire time I’ve been a mom. And no accident that. I’ve had several interviews for ‘jobs’ in my life as mommy. None of which went very far 😴. I could sometimes almost see it in people’s faces. The near pity. ‘Oh! you’re a recent immigrant and female, with a young child. Shit! You’re screwed.’ And maybe I was; until I took matters into my hands and made my own job. I’m not screwed, my friend! I just had to learn how things worked and work around them. That’s pretty much all being a parent entails 😂
So as a solopreneur… I say don’t sweat the everyday ‘isms’ – the sexism, the racism, the elitism, the being dismissed as ‘small’. I’m probably going to get killed for that lukewarm sentiment, but hear me out. David didn’t get Goliath by lecturing in the marketplace or Tweeting his displeasure. He got him with a skilled, sure shot where it worked best.
As a solopreneur… a solopreneur mom (perhaps different than a mompreneur in that my offering has nothing to do with kids)… I learn from the petty minds that dismiss me. Show me your weaknesses, and I’ll build my strengths on them.
As a solopreneur mom, I learn from my child’s toys. Most parents I know are pretty committed to the ‘very now’ way to raise kids – build open-ended creativity, bring technology in in a meaningful way and teach kids to be closer to nature. All excellent ways to look at customer communication in a digital world. Which is what I do. And I am inspired every day by the stuff my child learns. She gives me fresh eyes. She makes me break things down to the very end of a long series of ‘why’s we’d all do well to ask ourselves. And that helps me bring my best work.
As a solopreneur mom, I learn every day where boundaries are. Where I must push and where I must let go. I can nourish relationships in a way that goes far beyond the task at hand. I can make you come back to me, even when you don’t need to, because you like me. Or, conversely, I can get you to come back to me even if you dislike me because my work is solid. Parenting 101 – when you strike the right balance (which isn’t every day) your audience is open to listening even if it’s uncomfortable. Being a mom has taught I just can’t pick every fucking battle. Life’s too short.
As a solopreneur mom, I know how to take you out of your comfort zone. Without you ever knowing it. I’m sure there’s a pun in there involving the words necessity, mother, and invention. Being a mom has taught me that overcoming initial resistance to things is a fine art; and one that must be learned well. Because, to my mind, change is the only way to innovation and evolution as a race.
As a solopreneur mom, I know that the journey is never easy. Every day is a surprise, and you’ve never completely got anything. All you can do is prepare like hell, bring your A-game and seize every opportunity. Fast! (And drink a lot 🍸). Because you have no choice. This is your life. And any every mom fights like hell to keep her babies well.
That’s the strong motherly shit that makes me tick. So go ahead and dismiss me because I’m a mom. I think we know whose loss that will be.
If this blog post made you go ‘yeah whatever’, I’m sorry you wasted your time. If it made you smile, maybe you’ll get in touch the next time you’re buying what I sell? Because it sounds like we’ll get along.