Life as a WAHM
Hi! Heeey! I'm Keneena, and I'm a Work At Home mum. A WAHM. It's taken me a little while to say that out loud. With confidence. To proudly say that my little biz is real and thriving. And it's not going anywhere.
But, ooooh man, life is busy. Hectic, full to the brim. I know you know the feels. Work. Kids. Family.
For me right now, life is all about the early years – of kids, school, a small home run business. Washing uniforms, packing lunches, helping with homework. And those incredibly boring home readers. Urgh.
Working out how to build websites and funnels and hashtag lists. Baking mediocre cupcakes for fetes. Cutting and sewing for hours. Drooling over fabric. Racking up the miles driving kids to sport, music lessons and swim squad. And I'll bet you can add more things to the list – it can feel endless and relentless.
I run my business solo. I do everything. And I love it! But I'm always and forever trying to squeeze out more time for planning, testing new concepts, applying new ideas. While still getting adequate sleep. Or any sleep at all. Ha. And I'm sure I speak for all of us when I occasionally scream internally ‘THERE’S JUST NO TIME, THERE’S NEVER ANY TIME!!!’
What is Balance, Anyway?
We're constantly fed this story of a woman who can have it all. A fulfilled work life, intense ambitions and the capacity to fulfill them, a loving and vibrant family life, and time to take it all in while still feeling content and rested. Aha yep. Nup. Not happening!
Achieving perfect balance, the juggling act, having it all. These buzzwords seem to have been around a long time. But I think we all need to realise that they're false promises. That – just like the glossy pages of some popular magazines, they depict a lifestyle that’s impossible to achieve. It's time to call it for what it is.
From where I'm standing, there is no such thing as achieving perfect balance for the WAHM. It's a myth. You can't ‘have it all’ without losing something else far more precious. And what is ALL anyway? Who decides that? (those same glossy mags?)
We Need a New Perspective
Here's what I think. Balance? There's no such thing. Not the way we've thought of it before. It's both idealistic and just a little crazy to think we can kick goals in every area of our lives without failing anywhere. Ever.
it's just not true. Something's gotta give. Constant juggling as a life choice IS ridiculous. I mean, how stressful does it sound to keep multiple balls in the air ALL the time?! Seriously? It's time to get real, girl. And accept that we can't do all of the things all the time. And how do we do that?
Learn to Embrace Failure
We need to stop being so afraid to fail. More than that, we need to learn how to actively and deliberately fail. And I don't say that lightly. Cos I'm terrified of failure. But sometimes, active failure is the only answer.
Before we go further, I should clarify what I mean by failure. I really mean learning to let something go. Shifting it to the ‘less important’ column. And to let go – we need to know what we're holding onto. We need to understand what – expectations we are working so hard to achieve, at the cost of so many other things. And are they really the things we want to prioritise above all others?
(Not) The Perfect Housewife
Here's something I've learnt to let go. The pressure to have a perfect house, all of the time. Life with three kids can be crazy, even without running a business. Sometimes you have to put a whole heap of things before making sure the silver gets cleaned every Sunday.
When my business got busy, the biggest thing I had to let go of was my housework standards. For reals. I just do less, more often. Some things wait. Some things don't get done. The kids are bigger now, so they do more. My husband and I chat about what's needed, what's realistic and make sure we're on the same page.
I dropped my standards and I realised I'm happy with that. I still clean. I still wash, iron and cook. Sometimes I even knock myself out and mop the floor. But I don't hold myself to the same standards as I did pre business. And I have to say, the idea of getting a Cleaner in every once in awhile to catch me up is sounding better and better.
I had to see the expectations I had of myself before and accept that I wouldn't be meeting them anymore. I had to learn to fail. And it feels great!!
Social media FOMO
Here's another example – social media. I used to worry constantly that I should be on every platform known to man. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Twitter. LinkedIn. I even signed up to snapchat. Yep – 8 months later, haven't been back on since. Oops.
Eventually, I learned to stop reacting based on FOMO. And learnt to get comfortable in just one space. Everyone has a social media or marketing platform they feel more comfortable in, that you connect with easily. I love Instagram! For me, it's fun, easy and super effective for building a tribe and connecting with customers. I'm slowing learning Facebook too….we're kind of in that ‘third date, just starting to relax with each other’ phase.
And my rule now is no more than two main platforms. Any more than that and I'm just giving in to FOMO. I don’t want to be on so many platforms that I spend all day scheduling content and reading notifications. That's crazy town. Being present on every platform, everyday is not going to grow my business. Neither is being on platforms where my customers don't hang out.
I'll end up burnt out, exhausted, and hating the interaction I should thrive on. Figure out where your conversion is working best and focus on that. Sure – try new things. Test them out, experiment. But don't give in to the pressure to be everywhere. Withdraw, and focus your efforts where your people are.
And if social media just isn't your thing, consider using a scheduling tool or outsourcing to a virtual assistant.
Where will you choose to fail?
So – where will you choose to embrace failure? Are there things you've been needlessly clutching onto – like a drowning woman trying to swim with a rock in each hand? What will you learn to let go of, so you can give more time and focus to other things? Successfully failing – it's totally a thing now! I promise.
I'd love to hear how this article impacted you. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment here on the blog!
Lover of colour, words, puns, pattern clash and donuts. Definitely not a perfectionist. Keneena Fanning is the sole creator, maker and doer at Kablooie Store, her micro fashion label full of big bold happy pieces. Kablooie Store’s vision? To create fun fashion pieces for you and your child that look fabulous, and make you feel deep-down happy!
A wife and mum of three, Keneena has worked previously in economics, strategic financing, and project management, and holds a business degree in economics and resources management. True story.
Now, in between dreaming up new colour clashes, sewing and packing orders, and snapping flatlays, Keneena finds joy in the happy chaos of family and church life, loves to exercise and dreams of one day doing one handed pushups. Followed by a pepperoni pizza.
As the founder and CEO of Mums With Hustle, I have the best day job in the world: teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their beautiful businesses online. When I started the business, that was everything I wanted, but since then, it has grown into something much bigger. Now, I get my joy from helping women find their zones of genius within a community that truly celebrates their success. I truly believe that when women choose to band together, we can do anything - and if you feel the same, there’s a place in the MWH community for you.
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