In March last year, Professor Robert Kelly was in a live interview with the BBC when his children burst into the room, and his chaotic family life was broadcast around the globe. According to international business coach, Lauren Marie, the video reflects the messy reality of millions of parents who run a business from home – a messiness, sadly, that most Mumpreneurs feel pressured to hide from the world.
“Society has this point of view that you must always appear to be composed and in control,” says Lauren, an entrepreneur, global Joy of Business facilitator and mother of three-year-old twins. “The truth is that we Mumpreneurs spend our lives in varying degrees of chaos. It’s not perfect – it’s not even always organised. At times it’s very messy.”
Lauren’s main concern is that many Mumpreneurs ‘reduce’ what they think they can do, be or achieve, simply to keep up the appearance of being in control. “I always say to my clients, what if being a mum can allow you to create more, not less? Choose to create more with your business, and your life – especially if it doesn’t look perfect”, Lauren advises.
In order to help Mumpreneurs break free from the need to appear perfect – and help them choose more for themselves and their business – Lauren wants to shine a light on the many ways that life as a parent entrepreneur can appear less than ‘perfect’:
Home: Like most mums, Lauren enjoys having a tidy home but she has learned to make compromises in order to spend more time on her business. “My kids have a talent of destroying every room they walk into within minutes so my home can be, literally, very messy. I used to choose to constantly tidy and clean and pick up after my twins, until I realised I was getting nothing done with my day. Now, the toys all stay in one room in the house, and if I don’t have the time to clean up, I simply close the door.”
Kids’ social life: Due to Lauren’s thriving business and regular travel, her husband is the twin’s full-time caregiver. This arrangement means that her children don’t attend mothers’ groups and other regular activities. “These days, there’s an expectation that children will attend playgroups and other planned events, but my children don’t and I actually prefer it that way. Their social life is more unstructured than the average modern child – they have each other, they know the local postman and they meet all sorts of people, all the time. They learn how to be around other people ‘organically’ and they are incredibly friendly and social.”
Work calls: This can be every Mumpreneur’s nightmare – finding space to conduct those all-important telephone calls and online meetings. Lauren has learned to accept, and express, the inevitable. “I have installed a translator booth in my home – literally, a semi-soundproof room so I have somewhere to do my work calls. But my kids still make noise – they sing and scream and that’s perfectly okay. Stop pretending you’re not a mum; stop pretending you’re free to have some luxurious chat in a private space. What if it’s okay to let people know that you have kids and that they’ll hear childhood noise in the background?”
Travel: Lauren has clients and classes all over the world, and this can lead to confronting choices around building her business, or being there for her twins. “My kids are sad when I say goodbye, and there are times I have considered ‘should I not travel?’ But when I looked at what that would mean, when I saw that making them temporarily happy is not going to be the best for us in the long-term, I chose to keep creating the business I truly desire. There are trips that I cancel or turn down, but I only do so if it feels right – not because I’m coerced by the kids, or pressured by the judgement of others.”
Schedule: Sick children. Unreliable babysitters. Last minute emergencies. Trying to keep to a strict schedule with young children can be super stressful, but Lauren has another way of approaching her day. “My business life is chaotic, but I don’t try to put order where there’s chaos because chaos is where the creative energy is. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to achieve in my day, but if it’s not coming easily to me, I give up and try something else. I show up for my commitments, but otherwise I following the energy of my day.”
Importantly, Lauren encourages Mumpreneurs to think about what they’re teaching their children when they choose appearances over ambition. “I choose to create more for myself and my business, even though I may be judged as an ‘imperfect’ mother; even though my life sometimes appears chaotic. I want my children to know that they don’t ever have to give up any part of themselves to suit others, and I’m setting that example for them now.”
Lauren Marie is a Joy of Business facilitator, acupuncturist, entrepreneur and mother of twins. She travels worldwide, facilitating classes and changing her clients’ point of view about life, health and business. Born on the outskirts of Washington D.C., Lauren now lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. A passionate creator and conscious rule-breaker, Lauren seeks to inspire other mothers to see the possibilities others overlook and to embrace every challenge and choice that parenthood brings.