A friend of mine explained to me why she felt called to open her catering business. She is the mother of a special needs child and said she didn’t want to be defined in that way. She didn’t want her identity to be wrapped up in her role as a mother to her special needs child. I totally understood her – and I told her that lots of moms open businesses or get jobs to avoid that same identity crisis. They don’t want to be labeled as “just” a mom. Or they feel like they “need something more” in their lives.
I get it. I’m not judging anyone, here. I’m admitting that this need to have an identity outside motherhood is a huge motivator for me – and for a lot of moms I work with in the International Christian Mompreneur Network. I KNOW that being a mother is my most important job. And it’s my calling during this season of life. So, I don’t take that responsibility lightly. And maybe motherhood should be “enough” for me… I envy women who are confident enough to dedicate 100% to motherhood. But for some reason…maybe it’s ego…maybe it’s money…maybe it’s fear of failure…or entrepreneurial genes…or lack of patience…but I have always felt the need for an identity that isn’t tied to the little people I love.
The Mompreneur Identity Crisis
But what happens when we start a business to fill that need? Sometimes we simply replace our identity crisis. We are no longer known as “Luke’s mom” but we become “the photography lady.” And that’s fine… except when it consumes us.
Somewhere along the mompreneur journey, we find ourselves so wrapped up in the success or failure of our business, that we allow it to define us. You can tell this has happened if you notice your mood with family is entirely dependent on your success or failure at work. In other words, if you’re taking your work home with you (yes – this is a thing, even for people who work from home!). And you can also tell you have an identity crisis if you notice that you are spending more time working, and less time with family…and you’re still not satisfied. You keep working because you keep wanting more…more money…more recognition…the next level of success.
There’s something about the entrepreneurial culture that keeps us reaching for that next level. It’s especially prevalent in the direct sales industry. And it’s not a bad thing. That’s what motivates us to grow and learn and serve more people in a bigger way. But it becomes a bad thing if we let ourselves get caught up in the challenge and competition – to the extent that we equate our business success with our personal worth.
Confessions of a Workaholic Mompreneur
I remember getting to this point several years ago. I had so much work to do that I was hiring a babysitter to take my kids to their Saturday activities. I was missing out on their lives because I thought my work was so very important. I was officially a workaholic. And I couldn’t even enjoy my time with the kids because I was thinking about work. I thought if I failed at the business, it meant I was a failure as a person.
But I was failing as a mom.
Here’s the thing I want you to know – God may have called you to this business or ministry and he may have BIG plans for you! But he wouldn’t call you to do something – anything – that would consume you so entirely that you are not able to fulfill your role as a mom and a wife and anything else he has in store for you.
Your Identity is Not in Motherhood or Business
So whether your business is struggling to get off the ground, or it’s wildly successful, I want to remind and encourage you that our Heavenly Father defines you not by the roles you play or the work you do. He created you as his beloved child and he set you apart before you were born. He delights in you and rejoices over you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are God’s masterpiece. And that…is more than enough.
I’m curious…what do you do when you find yourself too wrapped up in work? How do you dial down the need for achievement and remember your true identity in Christ? I’d love to hear your story!