A Conversation with Joseph Warren and Atara Malach
Early on in her therapy business, Atara Malach was asked to speak to a group of working parents. As a parenting expert with six kids of her own, she was the perfect speaker for the event, and she was looking forward to it.
On the night of the event, Atara was prepared. She had written her lecture days in advance. She had her notes ready to go. She looked the part of successful, professional woman.
And as a loving mother, she had found a babysitter. She made sure the kids were fed. She even set out the kids’ clothes for the next day.
But as soon as she was about to leave for the lecture, her son curled up by the door and said, “Mommy, don’t leave.”
IT BROKE HER HEART.
Atara hugged him and told him things would be alright. She tried bribing him. The minutes ticked by. Eventually, she had to peel the little boy off her leg, hand him to the babysitter, and head to her talk.
When she finally stepped on stage, she couldn’t start her speech. She could only think of her son and how sad he had been as he watched his mom leave him. The guilt paralyzed her.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” she said. “I do know that I did not sign up for this, and I think that part of being stuck in my business life is feeling torn… When I am home, I’m thinking about business and when I’m at my business I’m feeling guilty that I’m not where I should be.”
Do you feel guilty at home or at work?
Be aware of how you are sabotaging yourself
Like a good therapist, Atara begins with self-reflection.
“We need to allow ourselves to accept the blessings that are in the world,” she says. “If we punish ourselves, it’s going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
I talk a lot about how entrepreneurs are THE WORST at negative self-talk. We punish ourselves as we build our businesses and say things like, “You don’t deserve success” or “If you only make another million then you can relax” or “Your father worked hard to provide for you, so you think you can slack off?”
But all of these thoughts are self-sabotaging. Take time to reflect, pray, and realize what’s true and what’s false about your self-image.
When you’re at work, be at work 100%. When you’re at home, be home 100%.
Atara explains, “I felt guilty because I was trying to do the impossible: be in two places at once. So, when I was at work, I didn’t answer the phone or think of what was going on at home.”
Being present comes down to control issues. You CANNOT be responsible for everything that affects your family and business. You might have to delegate tasks to employees. You might have to set up automated systems to run payroll or process inventory. You might have to trust your kids to do their homework on their own.
You can’t be present if you’re constantly worried..
Give yourself permission to enjoy wherever you are
Entrepreneurs build businesses. We’re naturally focused on the future’s potential. But this can lead to unhealthy thought patterns if we’re always looking forward to the next thing. When the present isn’t good enough, we become stressed, anxious, and depressed.
Enjoy the present. Then build toward the future.
Here’s a tip for parents. You can’t be 100% present if you can’t enjoy where you are. Always stressed around your kids? They are going to notice. And I’m not saying every moment with your kids needs to be enjoyable. But your kids don’t need you 24 hours a day either.
Find one free hour in the evening to spend with your kids. Make it the best hour possible. Play a boardgame with your kids. Make dinner together. Read a story. They’ll appreciate that one hour much more than if you spend three hours annoyed and distracted.
You can’t be two places at once. Avoid parenting guilt by being at peace with where you are and living in the present.
Do you feel stressed and anxious because you think you have to choose between being a good parent and a good business owner? Get clarity on your priorities with a Spiritual Clarity Call. Click the button below for a free conversation with me, Joseph Warren.
Atarah Malach is a renowned therapist, author of A Working Mother’s GPS, and owner of TheMommyGuiltExpert.com. To hear her First 100k Podcast episode, click the link here.
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