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

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