I was chatting to a lady this week about how easily we can let guilt get to us when we’re leading busy lives AND running a business. It reminded me of when my little girl, Chloe, was at nursery.
I used to get really upset because I could never find time to bake cakes for coffee mornings at her nursery and I could never remember to buy any to send in either (whereas I vividly remember my friend Kate baking chocolate muffins at 1am because she’d promised to send some to her son’s school).
Well I had a guilt complex the size of Mount Everest; I thought it made me a bad mum and I felt that if I spent less time on my business (those precious hours I had to carve out of my busy days) then I might be better at this sort of thing.
Until, one day Chloe said something that gave me a big reality check and snapped me out of it.
Yet again, the morning of the cake sale arrived and yet again I realised ON THE WAY to nursery that I’d forgotten to bake or buy any to send in. We didn’t have time to stop off anywhere. I was mortified, to the point where I was welling up with tears in my eyes. I felt TERRIBLE.
I confessed to 3 year old Chloe. “Chloe Bear I am SO sorry, I forgot to bake muffins again to put in the cake sale, will you be ok?” I looked in the rearview mirror to see her little face beaming back at me from her car seat. “It’s OK Mummy!” she piped up, “you don’t NEED to send any in. There are always LOADS of cakes, I can just BUY you some.”
Ah, the wisdom of a toddler.
I’d got so caught up in feeling bad about not baking that I’d overlooked the whole objective of the cake sale. Yes, they needed cakes, but there were loads of full-time mums who loved baking (and were really good at it) who could supply the cakes. The thing is, they ALSO needed people to BUY them.
THAT is where I could fit!
My guilt vanished in an instant. I had money in my purse. Yay!
I sent her in to nursery, proud as punch, with 50p clutched in her little hand and when I collected her a few hours later she was happy as can be, stuffed to the gills with cake and even had a sticky bun wrapped up for me in a slightly grubby napkin!
You see, I’d seen the situation through the eyes of a business mum, always on the lookout for ways to add to my guilt.
Chloe gave me a reality check and showed me how it looked to her. She just wanted to be able to buy cake. She didn’t care who made it. The nursery wanted to raise funds, they needed cake bakers AND cake buyers. That’s what makes it work.
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. You don’t have to be a baker, you can be a buyer. If you ditch the business-mum guilt that’s always ready to rear up and knock you down, there’s always a place where you can fit, guilt-free!
Where are YOU piling on the guilt unnecessarily? Where are YOU seeing a situation through guilt-ridden eyes? And how would a 3 year old see the situation? It’s a powerful filter!
Have a great week!
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.