If you ever use your kids (or pregnancy, or postpartum) as an ‘excuse’ as to why you’re not working harder, or doing more…
… then you’re doing it right.
I once read a post by someone who said that you should never use your children as an excuse as to why you’re not working harder or succeeding. That’s it not fair to blame them.
And while I (kind of) get the sentiment—like, don’t blame them so you don’t feel resentful maybe? Have more personal autonomy maybe?—it also knocked the wind out of me a little.
It compartmentalises your humanity from your business, and for a truly aligned and congruent biz, we need to bring more of our humanity to the table.
It’s also an incredibly privileged thing to say, that you must never say your children are getting in the way of your work (maybe the person who wrote that has a ton of help that allows for as much time away from mum life as desired, to work on their biz, but of course I don’t know that).
For the majority of birthing women around the world, having children changes your capacity to work and earn money, in some capacity, and for some period of time.
It changes your energy, your body, your mind, and pretty much, your entire life, and a lot of this isn’t just limited to the immediate postpartum period. (There are obviously so many factors to these changes, and of course they might not apply to you.)
Growing, birthing and looking after little humans requires an enormous amount of energy, and time, and other inner and outer resources.
When you try to bypass this truth, and pretend that your kid/s shouldn’t get in the way of your postpartum life, and that you should just be able to continue on like you did before having children, it’s just so unrealistic, idealistic, pressurising, and unfair.
So I would, in fact, say the exact opposite.
THEY ARE AN AMAZING EXCUSE.
If you’re a working mum (or parent, especially if, like mine, your spouse does literally as much as possible to help at home)… and you never use your kids as an ‘excuse’ then YOU ARE WORKING TOO HARD. You are bypassing your own new truth and reality. You are due some self-kindness, some self-compassion, and likely, a nap.
To the mum-to-be who’s feeling sick, bone-tired, brain foggy, and who’s already trying to work out how she’ll manage her biz and her baby, let alone her morning sickness and her work load… YES, your pregnancy is an amazing ‘excuse’ as to why you haven’t finished that massive new project you started last month.
To the new mum who’s sleep deprived, and who’s trying to figure out how to balance running her biz with being the best mum she can be, feeling the first tendrils of mum guilt curling around her heart as she takes time away from her baby to work (which also feels fun and empowering, which is confusing, which is… more mum guilt!), YES, your baby is an amazing ‘excuse’ as to why you are only working a few hours a week as you find your (new) feet again.
To the mum with a sick toddler who was up all night, and who now can’t send their little one to daycare, and who now has to reschedule client calls because there’s no one else around to help, YES, you can use your sick toddler as an ‘excuse’ as to why you’re not available today.
To the mum who’s been at her desk all day, hasn’t had a break, and has no bandwidth left for the afternoon pick-up and playtime and dinner-bath-bed marathon, YES, you can use your children as an excuse as to why you’re pushing a few things off the to-do list today.
To the mum who’s trying to get work done during nap time, but also wants to rest and also has laundry to do and also needs to eat and also could really do with a nap because you were up so early or you could also watch that new episode but maybe some exercise would be good too and oh god that form is due and you really have to call that friend back and oops, there’s a voicemail you just missed and gah now your little one is awake and it feels like LITERALLY NOTHING got done… YES, you can use your child and mum life as an ‘excuse’ as to why you haven’t finished mapping out that new workshop.
To the mum who just dropped her first child off at school for their first day, and who is now bawling in the car because where did they time go? And are they ready? And how has life changed so much, so fast? And will they be okay? YES, you can use your child as an ‘excuse’ as to you’re feeling so off-kilter and emotional this week, and that’s why you haven’t replied to emails.
(*TW* infertility and baby loss.) And to the mum who’s trying so desperately to hold her baby in her arms, or who’s lost her precious baby, and she can’t see straight, or think straight, or breathe, YES, THEY ARE THE BEST EXCUSE.
So YES you can use your children as an ‘excuse’ as to why you aren’t working more, or harder, or all day.
And to anyone who tells you otherwise… well, they probably won’t even look up from their desks long enough to realise you’re not at yours.