What is it about women and wee yins?
Or to be more maternally and entrepreneurially correct, why is that women in business tend to make so many apologies for being a mother?
Let’s set out my own stall right from the off – in my business I’m not in the business of saying sorry for the marvel that is motherhood. How I choose to manage mothering and my own self-employed status is no-one else’s bloody business. Or at least, that’s the theory.
Sadly, in practice my self-appointed strict stance – no apologies at any time EVER for attending to the needs of my offspring – easily slips into excuse mode.
I could kick myself for it, but since I started in sole trading, I’ve made more apologies than Ronnie Corbett in 80s BBC sitcom Sorry!
I’ve said sorry for missing meetings, turning down biz opps, and being dishevelled and stressed out after the school run.
I’ve said sorry as I’ve bolted to be in time for the bell, when the Word Up Wean was unwell, and even for turning up late when the wee blighter has had to be fed.
And I know I’m not alone. I know that combining commerce and kids is a can of worms, a great big seething mass of the slippery devils. This can of worms opened right up this week during meetings with other business owners-stroke-mothers. During these conversations it struck me strongly that female fear of judgement knows no bounds when it comes to business. And business battle lines are drawn even deeper when it comes to children.
But as far as I can see it, there is no right or wrong. There ain’t no rule book, nor tablets of stone. There is every single possible shade of grey. Because exactly how much of motherhood we put out there when it comes to enterprise is an (unenviable) individual choice.
Some mammies say if you want to be seen as a polished professional, keep schtum about the kids. That strict stance goes against my personal grain – it seems kinda harsh to deny the very existence of your wee yins simply to be taken seriously in enterprise. But if that’s what floats your business boat, missus, go for it.
At the other end of the special relationship spectrum are other mothers more in the “love me, love my kids” school of business thinking. But I can see that for some enterprise onlookers, boasting about the bairns, or bolting off to baby’s badminton class or ballet doesn’t necessarily seem very businesslike. But even that assumes a certain style of one-size-fits-all style of businesslike behaviour.
My own mothering is probably as muddled as my entrepreneurial apprenticeship. Yes, the Word Up Wean is the very centre of my existence, but business is right up there on the importance agenda too.
I’ve secretly agonised when meetings overrun, or strict scheduling turns childcare to chaos, and I’ve said sorry numerous times for nothing more than being a mum.
But I’m not apologising any more. No more bluffing about the bairns. What I offer instead is fair trade.
I’ll make a massive effort to do good business with you, despite the demands of motherhood. And in return, I hope you’ll accept that I’m really not sorry at all for balancing business with my boy.