Thank you for your response on my Parenting with Anxiety post. So many of you could relate to the mom struggle and the anxiety it brings. I should also note that high functioning anxiety is not a medical diagnosis, it’s simply the way that many with anxiety identify.
The trouble with anxiety is that it doesn’t always confine itself to one aspect of your life. For many, it spills over into every facet of day-to-day life. In part II of the anxiety series we’re going to look at living with high functioning anxiety as a mom boss.
Mom Boss Anxiety
As many of you know, I own my own territory of a small business. I absolutely LOVE what I do and am constantly working. Originally, I thought that I worked around the clock only because I really enjoyed it. What I’ve come to realize, that some of my compulsive behaviours are a result of my anxiety.
Anxiety can present itself in many different ways for the hard working mom boss and it may not be what you think. It’s not all tears and fears, there’s much more to anxiety than meets the eye.
I’m always on the job
That working around the clock thing? It gets things done but I have yet to learn how to draw a line between work and leading a normal life. I very much work ALL THE TIME. I’ve had a lot of people remark how fast my response time is but I worry that people will be disappointed if their inquiry isn’t responded to right away. I agree that customer service is important but I really think people can wait a few hours or even a day for a response. No one really needs a 2 minute response time.
I hate using the phone
This might be a millennial thing or might just be a sign of the times but I absolutely hate using the phone. I prep before I make a phone call and even still, sometimes the results can be disastrous. I’m normally a very confident speaker but something about the phone turns me into a bumbling fool. I trip over my words and mix things up. Oh, and don’t even get me started on trying to end a phone call “yep, great, awesome, so glad we connected, yep, okay, fantastic, thanks so much, mmm k, baa.” Baa? Yes, not bye, but baa because I’m slowly pulling the phone away from my face so I can just hang up whilst I say ciao.
I love a good email. It gives me time to formulate my thoughts and get all the details into one space without feeling like I’ve forgotten something.
I’m an overachiever
For me, things need to be 100% which in my rational mind is simply not possible. I do strange things like redesign documents that are already complete because I want them to look a certain way. I’ve stayed up for hours on end making personalized onesies for 16 babies because I wanted the moms in my program to feel special. The very thought of someone thinking that I didn’t put my all into a task terrifies me. I don’t ever want people to think I’m lazy or idle.
I think it’s important to note that not all overachievers have anxiety and not all people with anxiety are overachievers. However, typically someone with high functioning anxiety will manifest their fears with perfectionist traits.
I over compensate
I’m constantly trying to appease everyone and sometimes it goes too far. It’s great for my customers because they’re getting the best but it leaves me feeling a little depleted. If I have a class that doesn’t go well, I think of a million ways that I can make it up my moms when it reality things aren’t always perfect.
A couple of weeks ago we had a schedule change which resulted in a change of plans. I was basically willing to offer up my first born to make things right. It’s an exhausting trait that my logical mind is constantly battling against.
I take things personally
If someone is happy, I’m not happy. This is the symptom of anxiety I wish I could shake the most. The saying “It’s just business” never applies to me. Everything I do is personal and this has more to do with me being a mom than a boss. I’ve taken copious amounts of time away from my kids trying to grow a business. The hope is that all the time spent on my phone, or buried in my laptop are for the greater good.
The same goes for complaints about anything business related. Even if it’s something not directly related to me (or within my control), I feel terrible and will sit and stew about it for weeks. If someone tells me the weather was too hot, I’m on a call to mother nature to figure out how we can rectify the situation.
The mom guilt is real
Every article these days talks about how much we’re on our phones to the determent of our kids. I definitely am on my phone way too much. My daughter’s new phrase is not “can you play with me” but “are you going to be done your work soon?” and it guts me every time. The other day she asked that question and I immediately shut my laptop to go play, but then started feeling anxious about not getting work done.
I constantly remind myself that, it’s not a choice of working or not working. It’s a choice of owning my own business and being around for my kids more vs. being out of the home working and not home as much.
All or nothing
My anxiety sometimes puts me in all or nothing mode. Either I’m powering through everything with laser focus or I am so overwhelmed that I don’t want to do anything. Sometimes my laser focus has me stuck to my laptop banging out blog post after blog post. Other days I’m staring at a screen contemplating the meaning of life. This is fight or flight mode, business version.
While it sounds like anxiety might be bad for business, it makes me a compassionate boss constantly striving for better.