Lori May (follow her on twitter, @lmayinteriors) wrote to me this week in response to my post on the seduction of Busyness. I think her feelings are shared by many of you, so I asked if I could reproduce her words & my response.
Lori is having difficulty starting her business. She’s trying to move forward but Busyness gets in the way. But Busyness isn’t the underlying problem, it’s the two sets of fears that create her need for constant doing & participation:
1) I am actually afraid of this new business and its possible success. What would I do then? How would I handle the work load? Who would volunteer at my girls’ school? What would people think if it seemed like I enjoyed working more than mothering?! (I am secretly afraid that I might!)
2) I have been a stay at home mom for 3 1/2 years. It really wasn’t by choice, but I don’t regret it. In this time, though, it seems that my identity has developed into the busier I am, the better mom I am. When in actuality I have less time for my husband and my children because of my busyness. Now that I am beginning to understand this, I am terrified of changing. I am the room mom, the volunteer, the holiday market chairperson. How do I stop doing all of these things to start my dream business?
Lori’s fears are my guilt.
I struggle everyday with the guilt of no longer being a full-time mom. I struggle with that fact that I love working and do it a lot. I feel guilt about being successful when so many talented people have not found their own success.
I was a full-time mom. Lola was my life. I had the opportunity few others have. Who was I to “give up” on that? Who was I to spend less time with her? Who was I to make the choice not to be a full time mom anymore?
But, intellectually, I know that I’ve provided something very different, and equally valid, for all three of us. For myself, I’ve provided the opportunity to do exactly what I have always wanted to do. For my husband, I’ve provided a much needed rest and an opportunity to make his own “something.”
And for my daughter, I’m providing a quite unusual example of entrepreneurship & the power of a determined woman. I’m showing her that art can pay. That doing what you love is possible & profitable.
I put on a good show here. I love to talk about the power of shedding your fears & moving past your personal barriers. And I’m not going to stop. But at the same time, I struggle with my own demons, fears, and sense of guilt.
In the end, I can either keep working on my life’s work or I can succumb to those feelings. At this point, my decision is fairly easy. But it may not be for you. And your life’s work may not be starting a business. Your life’s work may be raising a family or teaching art or being a scientist. We all have fears that surround pursuing our own life’s work of art. We all have guilt.
We’re all struggling with something. You’re not alone. I’m not alone. And together we can move forward.