The Piano Teacher/Mom Guilt
A couple of hours ago, I was sitting here at my desk (my husband jokingly refers to it as "command central") trying to work. Of course, attempting to multi-task. I was returning a colleague's FB message, updating my website, designing a social media ad for my preschool class, and listening to a podcast.
The podcast was by a business coach, who was addressing the tension women feel as they try to balance building a business with motherhood.
While I was doing the multi-tasking, while listening to the podcast (did I mention it was about balancing business and motherhood?), one of my daughters came up to where I was working and expressed the need for my attention. We talked and cuddled and then I explained that I had to finish because this was my "work time" and she headed back downstairs.
A few minutes later, (yep, resumed listening to the balancing business and motherhood podcast), my son came upstairs to me and revealed a bloody knee. Like, really bloody. Apparently, a mini-jump on his bicycle over a rock in the road didn't quite turn out as planned.
After doctoring up his knee, I gave some more cuddles. He asked if I would please play Monopoly again. And it was definitely AGAIN, because already today, he and I played a 4 1/2 hour game of Monopoly -- true story. I explained that I had to finish my work because this was my "work time" and he headed downstairs.
I resumed listening to the podcast (seriously, this was about balancing business and motherhood!) and the painful irony was not lost on me. And with that irony was a heaping dose of Mom guilt, that I felt way down to my tippy toes.
Parents, this is hard. I know it is.
You too are trying to balance your business and your parenting responsibilities. You are trying to do it all and do it as close to perfectly as possible. You are trying to advertise for more clients and trying to care for your current clients. You are trying to prepare for lessons and research new ideas.
And if you are on this website, you know you are going to be growing in your business skills. So, then you will be streamlining your business practices, giving a closer accounting of your finances, and improving your policies and programs.
So. Much. Work.
Here's the thing, though, and I think you might know this, deep, deep down.
You can't do it perfectly.
But you can do it good enough.
Here's the thing: when you are working on or in your business, you are not giving full attention to your family. It is impossible to give piano lessons and teach your 1st grader how to read during the exact same half hour. (Don't ask me how I know that).
And when you are with your kids, playing Monopoly for 4 1/2 hours (sheesh!), you are not giving full attention, or even partial attention to your business. It is pretty much impossible to be cutting out those new game pieces for your quarter note race at the same time you are trying to build houses on St. James Place. (Again, don't ask)
So, stop trying. Stop trying to do both.
Instead, do one, be with one, give attention to one, and then the other. Not at the same time. That is a recipe for crazy making, both for you and your family.
Instead, really be deliberate with your time. Like, really, really deliberate.
See, I made a mistake earlier. I know (seriously, I know this!) that my kids, when it hits 8:00 pm, suddenly morph in to little fuzzy things that need snuggles and attention. They just do, like every night. And the truth is, I like snuggles too, so its not like this is a chore.
However, at 2:00 p.m., they really don't want much to do with me -- they'd rather be riding bikes, or watching a movie, or doing some sort of project. And the truth is, I like that they have those interests.
So, naturally, I should be leaning toward working around 2:00 p.m. NOT 8:00 p.m. Now, before you call Captain Obvious, I do know this, but sometimes I forget.
Just like you do too.
So, if you need to, my dear Piano Teaching Parent, make a small course correction. Think through your schedule. Think through your family's natural rhythm.
When you are piano teacher, be piano teacher. Schedule that time and stick to it.
When you are parent snuggle-fish, be parent snuggle-fish. Create space for that time and stick to it.
And, most importantly, don't give in to Mom (or Dad) guilt. You aren't doing this perfectly, because what you are doing is a HUGE undertaking.
But you are doing it well. Or maybe even just good enough.
Rest in that, abandon the guilt, and make course corrections when you need to. You'll be glad you did.
And if you're on this website, you know that you are going to