There is a giant mural in front of my assigned space at my community workspace that reads: “You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be”. This may be inspiring to some, but not to me – the person who painted that is clearly NOT a parent.
Because every time I look at that mural, I revisit the running tally in my head of all the other places I often feel I should be. This particular week it was –
- At Kindergarten orientation
- At preschool orientation
- Playing with my children
- At the neighborhood block party
- At the gym
- Cooking Dinner
- Helping my aging parent paint their porch
I’m an entrepreneur and working mom. Despite my experience creating three awesome little people out of a single cell (yeah yeah ok my husband helped), my experience creating something from a tiny idea seed here at work is way harder than birthing my three kids. And more painful.
I am home to make breakfast and dinner most days because I have decided that is what I need to do to stay sane and connected to my young family. That means I don’t work 80 hour weeks like many entrepreneurs seem to. So I make compromises and choices every day based on how little extra time I have. This makes me a better leader and more decisive. Being a mom has REALLY helped my entrepreneurial chops because I keep everything in perspective. I don’t freak out unless there is blood and unconsciousness. An effed up spreadsheet is a mistake, not an emergency. A forgotten investor appointment should be forgivable.
But oh. Oh the tears of exhaustion. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by sleep deprivation and the endless needs of 3 and 5- year olds and a mortgage and marriage and aging parents and lack of capital and in mid-conversation my eyes will randomly start leaking tears. It happened just last week (talkin’ to you, Jim) and I truly can’t control it. And I don’t apologize for it anymore. I’m raising two kids and buried one and I’m leveraging my life and the trust of people I love for this company. I’d rather shed tears than turn to cocaine or something. At least for now.
And about being a mom in tech? I’m outnumbered by dads in tech that’s for sure. But the moms in tech around me are major overachievers, willing to help, and incredibly supportive. We are a small sorority but we are formidable and growing and we are driving better work culture and better job creation.
The hardest part about all of it is realizing that at least for me, I see that I do not move as quickly as some other entrepreneurs. That’s my choice and sometimes it hurts me. But sometimes it slows me down just enough to avoid costly decisions that come from working fast not smart.
So to all the entrepreneurial moms in tech out there, I wish you a flu-free winter, reliable childcare, happy kids, supportive partners, killer term sheets, copious capital, and a few moments to let loose a few tears, if that’s your thing.