“Forcing function” is a technical term used to describe “an aspect of a design that prevents the user from taking an action without consciously considering information relevant to that action.” So for instance, when you’re trying to exit a screen and your computer pops up a warning to let you know you haven’t saved your information; this is a helpful pause that forces you to reconsider your action. Motherhood has been my forcing function in creating and building this little business; while I want to move faster, my little guy (and now my growing belly) force me to slow my roll which ultimately enables “sleeping on it” and most importantly, patience. This is a very different pace than my pre-mommyhood days.
Historically, it has been looked at as a barrier. The forcing function of motherhood slowed many women to a halt, feeling as if they can’t continue their career or couldn’t possibly start their own endeavor because of it. I’m on a mission to flip that script (for myself, for the values of the Mother Butter Company). Still, yes, I do get anxiety when my work gets back burnered because of a needy little one. The feeling of “losing time” and seeing others seemingly whizz past can knock you down. So what I recall to lift me up and to press forward is the belief that: I am being forced to slow down for a reason; grow slow and strong mama, not fast.
I am using this space as a way to continue to reflect on entrepreneurship, motherhood and building a purpose driven company. I can’t prove any of my philosophies but they’ve been inspired from the success and failure stories I know (including my own). My choices in how I build this little company are always led by what is good and joyful; I’m not here to make myself a gazillionaire, I’m here because I have the experience and wherewithal to be an active contributor in my community and entrepreneurship allows me to follow the paths I believe in.
Well before knowing it would be “Mother Butter,” I was facing my unpaid maternity leave and dreaming of how a company could be more supportive of mothers and parents. Parenthood is a huge internal shift—one that changes a person’s time, energy and competency. For me, I believe competency grows exponentially while time and energy are more limited. I also believe that “work” provides an important space for growing or maintaining self esteem and independence. So a simple equation in dreaming up a “parent friendly workplace” is flexibility and reducing time dependency; instead of a standard 8 hour slog, how about concentrated 2-4 hour stints? Instead of committing someone to your company, how about giving them the flexibility to come and go as they please, and allow them to feel ownership in their contributions? What if a company offered a safe space and caretaker so children could join their parents at work; allowing the parent to not have the burden of the childcare scramble and nonsensical cost?
Why share this? All to say, mama, don’t limit yourself or believe problems are impossible to resolve. Don’t allow the reduction of your time and energy make you think you don’t have anything left to give, and not for anyone else but for yourself—for your self esteem—your freedom—your purpose. Grow slow and strong, not fast.
I write this with Sesame Street on in the background; Elmo is singing his dance song which gives me the warning that I have about 3 minutes left to myself. In my next post, I share how Mother Butter formed over time and how my current pregnancy brain has led to some silly mistakes recently. Another forcing function reminding me to slow, rewind, and most importantly, to ask for help.
I’d love to hear from you! Any ideas for how to build a “parent friendly” workplace? Or feedback on what I’ve shared? Please comment below!