A guest post by Ali Boehm
The Massage Business Mama
I am honored that Ali Boehm has written this guest post exclusively for TSMT community. Ali is a leader not only in the massage therapy world, but an expert in guiding massage therapists that are moms first. So without further ado… enjoy!
“Mom Guilt” is real, especially for those of us who work, even in a career as flexible as massage. You feel guilty when your kiddos are at daycare, or with their grandparents, or watching tv in a separate room while you get some things done. You feel guilty that you don’t feed them properly, or bathe them every night, or brush their teeth long enough. Guilt around feeling frustrated or upset with them. Guilt that you aren’t teaching them enough, or are exposing them to too much or too little.
“Mom Guilt” Is Real
10 Ways to Combat Working Mom Guilt As Massage Therapists
1) Get Clear on Your “Why”
2) Dedicate Time to Connect
3) Integrate Networking with Child Activities
4) Establish an Evening Routine
5) Meal Plan
6) You are not Superwoman
7) Be Picky About Clients
8) Establish Clear Boundaries with Clients
9) Raise Your Rates
10) Utilize You Time Between Appointments
Whether you work full or part-time, you are bound to have moments when you feel just awful about leaving your kid(s). The times when they cling to you desperately as you try to walk out the door. Snot pouring out of their noses, red eyes, and pleas, “Mama, don’t leave me!”… OUCH!
The truth is, all moms, even those who don’t work experience “Mom Guilt.” It’s a universal thing. Doesn’t it make you feel a little better knowing that the Pinterest Perfect Mom, the one who throws the most amazingly coordinated birthday parties also feels guilt at times? I know kind of sick, but it eases my mind to know these crust cutting, outfit coordinating, song singing moms struggle too.
So how do we ease that “Working Mom Guilt”?
1) Get Clear on Your “Why” – When you have distinct clarity on why you choose to work, moments of uncertainty will be minimized. Take some time to really sit with this one, it’s important and will be revisited often. Write out your reasons. Maybe you work because you LOVE massaging, and this type of work feeds your soul. Or is it because you are saving to move to a more desirable home? Possibly, you need to have a purpose greater than just being a “mom,” that getting out of the house helps you feel balanced and whole. What about the biggie, you have to support the family????
Once you have spent some time journaling, condense your reasons into one sentence that you can display. Make it pretty so you enjoy looking at it, then display it in a prominent area where you and your children will see it daily. Not only will this be a constant reminder to help you cope when the chaos of life seems more than you can handle, it will also help your children understand your reasons for working.
2) Dedicate Time to Connect – Find an activity you can do on a weekly bases where you and your kid(s) truly connect. Music class was it for me, for three years my son and I relished our Thursday mornings. We would dance, play instruments, and sing (you caught me, I’m one of those song singing moms). By having intentional time with your children, you will feel less guilty about the times you are away from them.
3) Integrate Networking with Child Activities – This idea was a huge lightbulb moment for me! Pre-children, I used to look at marketing very differently. I was all about networking groups, chamber mixers, and knocking on doors. Who has time for that now? These days, I’d WAY rather be hanging at the pool, teaching my kiddo to swim, than awkwardly passing out business cards at a speed networking event. Not only that but also this type of marketing never truly resonated with me. You see, just as so many massage therapists, I’m an introvert, and this type of blatant promotion felt inauthentic.
But you know what? Networking doesn’t have to be that hard and time-consuming. If we stay open and engaged, marketing opportunities are all around us. Think about the parents at daycare drop off, sporting events, birthday parties, and yes music class. By simply talking about the work we do with these individuals, we are opening ourselves up to a whole new nexus of potential clients, and hanging with our kids when doing so. Also, it feels way less gimmicky than traditional networking methods.
4) Establish an Evening Routine – Evening routines set us up for successful mornings. Pick out outfits for the next day, pack lunches, and load the car. Determine a place where everything goes, a spot for the things that will be taken in the morning, a hook for keys. This will help your mornings go more smoothly, instead of searching for your missing shoe, you can spend that 5 minutes refining your t-rex roaring skills.
5) Meal Plan – One thing that really sets my mom guilt off is in regards to food. When I first had my son, he was NEVER going to have added sugar, ALWAYS eat organic, and LOVE vegetables. Well, fast-forward to now, and it isn’t so easy!
I WANT to make sure we are eating healthy, balanced meals, but I don’t always have the time or energy to be creative.
One of my favorite hacks has become spending a few days a month prepping crockpot meals and freezing them. In the morning, I can easily throw a healthy balanced meal into the pot, and it will be ready when we get home. Not only does this save time, it also saves money. More money to buy all the plastic dinosaurs, (or more wisely, save for college).
6) You are not Superwoman – Conserve your energy, whether at home or in the office, know that you simply cannot do it all! Maybe you could before you had kids, but those days are long gone. This means slowing down and not taking on all.the.things. You don’t have to volunteer for every school activity or donate to every fundraiser. You don’t have to say “yes” to every client or do the dishes every night.
Be gentle with yourself and practice genuine self-care. Know that if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else, including your kiddos or clients.
Some days I’m scrambling from the time I open my eyes until I close them at night. It’s times like these that I HAVE to remind myself that I am doing a good job, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
The best self-care for me in times like these is to call a friend or family member and have them remind me of how awesome I truly am, even if I drop a few balls every once in a while.
Self-care could mean calling that friend who will reassure you, or taking a bubble bath and eating chocolate. Or, it could mean building a life that you don’t regularly need to escape from — creating a grace-filled schedule that allows room for sick kids and mental health breaks.
Which leads me to…
7) Be Picky About Clients – Choose to only work with clients who appreciate your situation. Clients who understand that you are a working MOM and that while you respect them and their time, that your duty as MOM comes first.
You might be surprised how many people fit this description. Of course, you don’t want to abuse your client’s empathic nature, but having these type of clients is one of the first steps towards having that grace-filled schedule I mentioned earlier. This also may mean weeding out some clients who don’t quite fit the bill.
Firing clients is never an easy task, but a worthy one when you aren’t aligned! Having clients that drain our energy diminishes our life-force, and are totally not worth the revenue. I promise you can find more clients, ones who respect your stage of life.
It is also a good idea to have a disclaimer on your website and intake form that states your policies around child-related emergencies. This way, any new clients know where you stand before they book their first appointment with you.
8) Establish Clear Boundaries with Clients – Clear boundaries are always a good idea in massage, but especially as a mom when you are spread a little thinner than your foot-loose counterpart.
Boundaries allow us to leave work at work and home at home.
Make it clear that you start your massages on time, and don’t go over on time. Don’t allow no-shows to happen in your practice. It’s okay to have friendly rapport with clients, but you don’t have to share everything with them, nor do you have to hear it all. In fact, you shouldn’t.
Having these boundaries and remembering that these are professional relationships will help your tanks remain full so that you can use your resources for the important stuff at home!
9) Raise Your Rates – This may sound scary, but there is a simple concept at play here – the more you charge, the fewer hours you will need to work. And that means more time for t-ball, helping with homework, and volunteering in the classroom.
Too often as massage therapists, we come from a place of compassion and empathy, it’s just our nature. We got into massage to fix the world. Which is all well and good, but we can’t fix anything when we are neglecting our own well-being.
Obviously, you don’t want to price yourself out of the market, but I am willing to bet you could bump up your rates a notch or two. When was the last time you gave yourself a raise? And how come other occupations are allowed to get periodic raises, but we are not? Just food for thought.
Also, it is important to remember that if you lose a few clients in the transition of raising your rates, it is okay. The point was you wanted to work fewer hours to have more time for your family.
10) Utilize You Time Between Appointments – Instead of chatting with friends or surfing the web, get busy with business-related tasks. Clean your office space, return phone calls and emails, fill out SOAP notes, and wash linens. This way, when you go home, you can truly be present!
Working Mom, don’t be filled with guilt. Instead, think about the lessons you are teaching your children. How to reach for their goals, the importance of hard work, efficient time management, they are worthy of being a high priority, and that women can provide. I know it is hard not to feel some remorse that you aren’t there for every stubbed toe, class picnic, or broken shoelace, but remember that your love for your child is carried with them in their heart and that your reasons for working are TRUE and VALID! You are kicking butt!
Ali Boehm lives and works in the mountains of Colorado, where she has
been practicing massage since 2008. She also runs, The Massage
Business Mama, a blog where she shares advice for fellow massage
therapists on how to grow their massage business while maintaining a
happy, healthy home. The single greatest day of her life was the day
her son was born. She wishes she could go back and relive that day
Website – www.themassagebusinessmama.com
Instagram – @themassagebusinessmama.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/themassagebusinessmama
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/company/40783864