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Mothering Your Business

Ready for some controversy? Here it is: I propose that all women are mothers, regardless of whether they will ever pop a human out from between their legs or experience midnight feedings.

We nurture, tend and defend. We teach, comfort and heal. We discipline. We sacrifice. We love. And, sometime, we have a hard time letting our babies out the door.

Creating and growing a business through infancy, into adolescence and, hopefully, on to adulthood is a monumental task. And just as any pregnant woman hopes their child develops into a happy and healthy adult, every nascent entrepreneur dreams the same outcome for their business idea.

What’s the best school for your kid?
What are the best tools for your business?

When is your child old enough to date?
When is your business mature enough to add team members?

How do you discipline your kid when he screws up?
How do you fix your business when something’s broken?

When do you know your child is ready for her own set of car keys?
When do you know your project is ready to launch?

How do you know you’re giving everything you can to your child to ensure their health and wellbeing while maintaining your own sense of self outside of motherhood?
How do you know you’re giving everything you can to your business while maintaining your own sense of self outside of your business?

Few mothers wake up in the morning excited about all the dirty diapers they’re gonna have to change. Just as few entrepreneurs leap out of bed because they love bookkeeping.

Motherhood is in our DNA. So is entrepreneurship. But you’re gonna be a hell of a lot better off if you bring clear intention into the role.

The thirteen-year-old who gets pregnant because she wants someone to love her is in for a steep climb; she can become a great mom but the odds are stacked against her. The person who becomes an entrepreneur because she just doesn’t like being told what to do is in for some sleepless nights; she can become a kick-ass business woman but not without some rude awakenings.

If your business is your baby, what kind of mother are you?

Go with me on this…Do me a favor and mentally replace “kid” with your business baby, in all the below questions, okay?

Do you shake your kid out of frustration, or do you show up in a calm, open and loving state of mind, no matter what?

Do you compare your kid’s developmental skills to those of your friends’ kids, or do you let her learn at her own pace?

Do you give your kid every opportunity to learn and grow and be exposed to the world, or do you hide her away for fear she’ll be hurt and rejected?

Are you afraid to leave the room because your kid might fall or swallow something or otherwise DIE if you’re not watching her every second of the day, or do you trust that you can step away to address other things for a bit without tragedy striking?

Do you respond to your kid’s accidental destruction of your favorite memento with a hug of forgiveness and empathy or a scream of anger and judgement?

I could go on, and on, and on. And then you’d want to kill me. But you get the picture.

Think about what kind of mother you want to be.

And then treat yourself to a lovely brunch and a few mimosas. You’re birthing and nurturing something that’s going to change the world, after all. You deserve a little celebration and thanks. Stretch marks are optional.

with pleasure,

Emily Lewis

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Daniela May 14, 2015, 10:20

    Hi Emily! I love this metaphor. I’m not a mom yet (unless you count doga as children), but your comparison of businesses and kids helps me better understand how to really take care of my business! Thanks!

    • Emily Lewis May 14, 2015, 12:19

      I absolutely count dogs as children, Daniela! And I’m so glad you like this analogy. I’d love to hear how you incorporate this idea into taking care of your business. In fact, I’d love to see you pop into the Play+Ground and share your growth and development in that area with our lovely w/e community. Think about it. 🙂

  • Nela May 14, 2015, 10:37

    Interesting take on female entrepreneurship 🙂
    I cannot imagine myself as a mother of a human being, but I feel very overprotective of my creations (art & writing), however I haven’t looked at my business that way.
    I suppose I looked at my business as an extension of myself, and if something is wrong, it’s not my business, it’s “me” (which is I suppose another female stereotype of taking everything personally).

    I might try this on for size and see if I will have more patience with my business if I see it as a separate entity that requires nurturing.

    • Emily Lewis May 14, 2015, 12:56

      Ooohhh, I love this insight, Nela! I completely get the impulse to identify our businesses as extensions of our selves, particularly in the arts space. Having had my own successes and failures as a creative writer and actor, I’m also very aware of the emotionally fragile place that can put us in. Envisioning your business as a separate entity may bring an unexpected channel of incredible freedom and insight — let me know how it goes!

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