Apart from the internalized misogyny, the straight up sexist comments, and everyone constantly assuming that a man owns our business instead of us, apart from those irritating things, today I really want to talk about the things that have surprised me. The ways I didn’t realize I would suffer as a woman business owner that men don’t seem to suffer with. Of course I know everything varies for everybody, but these are just my experience.
I’ve recently learned there are weights that hold me back as a female business owner that I don’t think affect my male counterparts. They seem to be only internal, and I think must go back to the way our culture develops young boys and young girls differently.
I SHOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW
Before I had a child, I spent all of my time thinking of my business, how to help it grow, how to help my clients, writing books, blogs, manuals, etc. My primary passion was Lambert Home and it consumed the bulk of my thoughts, energy, passion. Then baby Ruth happened! Since having Ruth I’ve noticed an extreme disparity between the male and female mindset at work. While I became severely anxious that I was at work, not with my child, my male counterparts felt none of that. My anxiety and the NEED to be with my child could feel nearly crippling at times. I felt, to my core, that I SHOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW. The animal-like instinct made it very hard to work, and sometimes even does! Finding the right Ruthie-work balance has been a difficult uphill climb.
I’ve been told by men 2 dozen times since opening Lambert Home, in very encouraging and empowering tones, “You’ll know what to do. You’ll stay until 10pm and you’ll do great.” I am primarily thankful for the encouragement and that these men believed in me. But as I’ve grown, I realize now the privilege spoken in these words. These are men who built strong businesses because they stayed themselves until 10PM which only begs the question “Who was feeding your children?” I’ve learned that these men became successful, put in their extra hours, worked their tails off, because they had the space and time to do so. Why is that? Because they had strong and committed wives at home who cooked the dinner, played on the floor, walked the dogs, bathed the babies, read the books, kissed the cheeks, sang the songs, snuggled, finally turned the lights off, and THEN did the laundry, the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, before falling into bed. I’ve learned that the staying late, that mindset, the “do whatever it takes, whenever it takes” mindset, while it is imbedded into my natural character, it’s an impossibility for me.
MONEY IS CRINGEY
I’ve spoken to my favorite business mentor several times about this topic and have yet to learn the hard lesson that is very difficult for me. (Maybe because I’m a woman? Because it doesn’t seem to be difficult for him.) Money is cringey to me!! Often times I’ll review our business model and go “wait ew. We just charge more for something?” Lol. And I have to sit down with Sarah and she’ll re-explain the incredible value that we offer our customers and clients. On the other side of that, when it comes to paying my team members, I’m constantly thinking of how I can take on more of their burdens, ease more of their difficulty in life, pay everyone more! Forever! Amen!!! I’m learning that this may be a distinctly female thought-issue. Even dad has said things like “wait what? Of course we mark it up, that’s how we do this!” It’s so natural and instinctual for a man to receive his value that it’s not a question! To be honest, I haven’t fully fleshed this one out because it’s THAT confusing for me. Do you have any thoughts, experience, or guidance here?
MAKING EXCUSES FOR SUCCESS
I’ve realized for years I’ve side-stepped anyone accusing me of being successful by sharing a back-door route. For example, I’ll explain that how I was able to accomplish our beautiful kitchen remodel was via a complicated home equity process, yada, yada, yada. I’ll explain that the beautiful Yukon was an incredible discount, and the trade in value of our previous car, yada, yada, yada. These explanations and excuses make me feel better. As if making money, seeing business success, and spending money is shameful or immoral. What is this about?! Why do I do this?! Lol I need my female business owners to step up here and help me!
These are just my current thought on the inner-difficulties female professionals deal with! I’m sure y’all have so many more ideas and have thought through them more thoroughly and we’d love to hear!