Mum and Working: What’s in it for us really?

Whenever I have conversations with new and expecting mums about work, the first comment usually revolves around money. “I’d like to be at home with the kids but it’s whether we can afford that.”

But talk to a mum who is working, there’s often a lot more to it. “Yes, it’s nice having the extra money” and also “It’s my break! I get to use my brain, have my own lunch break (a whole hour to myself and actually eat my lunch!), interact with other adults, do something well and be appreciated for it…”

Being self-employed, running my own business, that resonates with me too – well maybe not so much the lunch breaks as I have a naughty habit of mixing business with pleasure on that side of things!

But that wasn’t how I felt when I first started thinking seriously about working from home – and that’s what it was then – it wasn’t an idea to start a business, simply finding something that I could do from home as well as being a full time mum and reluctant housewife.

I didn’t have big plans. I just wanted something small and manageable. Something I knew I could do, that was mine, and brought in some extra money. Nothing that would stretch my baby brain or challenge my diminished confidence too much. Something safe.

But something happened as I dipped my toes in the water. I realised I was really enjoying myself. I started to look ahead, getting curious about possibilities of what might be. And I began to dream bigger with a quiet voice inside my head thinking “What if I can…?”

Something sparks your imagination, whether it’s a first sale, first creation, a compliment, a testimonial or a simple thank you, or just a sudden realisation from within – something inside you comes alive, and this seed of self-belief starts to take root. And you find that you no longer just want safe. You want more, you want to step beyond safe. You want an adventure.

I love this video by Dan Pink, talking about the surprising truth about what motivates us. Especially the bit where he talks about taking the issue of money off the table.

Because when money is an issue, it can be both draining and paralysing. It can take us off course, or cause us to come across as desperate, which is often more off-putting than “client-attracting”.

Money’s just on the surface. When there isn’t enough, it’s a major issue. But once there is, even though more would be nice, it’s not what motivates us.

Dan’s got a point. There’s much more fuel and momentum when we have the autonomy of directing our own hands, feet and brain, doing something we enjoy and excel in, that we have fun getting better at. Much more power when there’s meaning, purpose and adventure in what we do, when we’re sharing a part of ourselves that makes a difference to something that’s bigger than us.

Now THAT I find motivating. How about you? What motivates you? What do you want most out of your business right now? Is it safety, adventure or something else?

PS. If you’re a mum and in business, and you’ve enjoyed reading this post check out my free report Yes You Can! Top Ten Ways to Grow a Successful Business without Compromising Your Family

  • Great post Grace. The adventure motivates me – the opening of doors and seeing whats behind them and the endless possibilities of taking a business forward.

  • Hi Grace! I think what’s motivating me at the moment, as I start out, is working out whether I can *do* this, challenging myself to work on my terms and not chase the pennies from other people. What I want is autonomy 🙂

  • Thanks Naomi. The adventure is what I love too. Scriveny – autonomy definitely. You are both talented and capable. I’d definitely like to encourage you to do life and business on your own terms. There’s nothing quite like dancing to your own tune.

  • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
    Henry David Thoreau
    When I gave up my well paid job to be a full time mum it was entirely different direction to my peers…but it was my path and it has been absolutely right for me. You have to listen to your own voice, drumbeat, hum or buzz. I think that is key

  • Becky I love that quote! And the beautiful thing as well is when you do follow your own path, you so often find new company, new peers and new friendships too.

  • What is motivating? Being surrounded by people who are totally behind me and in full support of me. It’s amazing as I’ve worked with a business coach the difference it’s made in my life and business. Working with other artistic individuals as well brings about an incredible transferance of energy — they’re the people I love working with.

  • Thanks for your comment Sarah. I absolutely agree that having the right people around you has a massive effect on your motivation. The best coaches and colleagues are ones who help you tap into your motivation, as the source has to come from within – it has to be yours, to be meaningful and lasting.

  • What motivates me is the independence it provides, nothing stopping me ever, the possibility to keep dreaming bigger and adapting plans whenever you want and need to. It is exhausting and at times it would be so much easier letting someone directing and controlling the situation, but I think that once you tasted freedom it is almost impossible to go back. 🙂

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