Mamapreneur: Business Hustle and Anxiety
I'm about to get very real here. Being a mom is awesome. Being a mom is terrifying. Being a mom-boss is both awesome and terrifying. While Healing Sounds has been in business since 2009, it wasn't until 2017 we really hit our groove. Why? I'll tell you why. Postpartum Anxiety.
The year was 2013. I was pregnant. My business was really taking off. I had 2 great employees. We were doing things and going places. And then, I had my baby girl. I had her ripped from my abdomen, got stitched back together and was expected to get back to "normal". After 8 weeks, I went "back to work". (I say that in quotations because you can never just go back to work, it will never be the same) Before I had my daughter, I had just assumed I would get "back to work" and have the same drive as before. I thought I would lose no momentum. Before baby I wanted to conquer the world! After baby I wanted to hold my daughter and hide in a closet. I was anxious. I didn't know that was what was happening, but looking back now I can define it. And after my second child, it was much worse and I got help. This overwhelming sense of unease and wanting to cry when someone asked me what I wanted for dinner consumed me. It consumed me to the point that my business began to slip through my fingers.
After my daughter was born, the time I did spend at work was spent looking at my clock, counting down the minutes till I could be with her again. I was supposed to be growing my practice, but instead, I sat at my desk too anxious to even begin putting program proposals together. I was terrified. My email inbox had so many unread emails at one point, I simply didn't check it. My voicemail box was always full. New business knocked on my door and I was scared to death to open it. So, I began to contract my work out. That turned out to be a mistake in and of itself because I completely lost control of my brand, quality of services, and clients. It was a nightmare. I didn't know it was anxiety. I didn't think to get help. I simply thought I was a failure. Maybe I'm not cut out for private practice? (insert sobbing) Should I switch jobs? (sobs even more) And then I would cry because I have no idea how to be anything but a Music Therapist (full blown panic attack)... so then what?
By 2016, after my son was born, I hit a new low. My anxiety absolutely ran my life. I'm not going into the details of how bad it was. Just trust me. I got help this time. And I slowly climbed out of the darkness. Through medication, self-care, and counseling, I regained my passion for life. The biggest help came in the form of my best friend, and now business partner. A mom of two herself, she got me. Telling another mom, and music therapist, that I was letting my business fall to pieces because of my crippling anxiety was one of the hardest things I have done. I admitted I was a failing in many ways. I'm a verbal processor, so speaking it out loud makes it real. It makes it tangible. With her support, we built Healing Sounds back up together. There are still days I feel as if my anxiety will swallow me whole. But then she listens to me. Takes a few things off my plate. I can breathe again.
So why share all this? I'm talking to you, mama, you who stresses over so many moving parts of your business. You, who loves with such passion it brings you to tears on a daily basis. You, who cares so much for your family, your employees, your clients, your spouses, so much so that you can't think straight. You're awesome. You're killin' it. This is HARD. Give yourself some grace and find the help that works for you. This season of life is the most difficult one of all. I feel your pain and I stand with you (or curl up in a ball and cry with you). You, are enough.