Recently, the term “languishing” is being widely discussed. It is not one I have heard before, but the description of it feels eerily familiar.
An article that was published in The New York Times describes it as “the blah…the dominant emotion of 2021…It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness.”
I say, “eerily familiar” because what it triggered were memories of heaviness and blankness, the GUILT of even feeling a tad “languished”. Most of all, the persistence it took to get out of “languishing”. Persistence like the frog who, after accidentally falling into a pail of fresh cream, relentlessly paddled so hard just to stay afloat. Eventually, churning it into solid butter and hopped out safely.
No, I have not lived through another pandemic before this dreadful one. But I can tell you, this languish is not new. There is a group of people who have already lived through/ is living through/ will live through it, with or without this pandemic.
Who, you ask? Moms.
Moms who placed entire careers and personal goals on pause, to focus on motherhood for some years. The New York Times article calls it “the in-between of flourishing and depression”. They experience the feeling of bloom in mom life and yet found it startlingly sprinkled with moments of “is this really it?” When the moms start feeling the need to move forward for something more – an even better life for them and their family.
I love being a mother, and I will for the rest of my life. But at one point in time, I was also “grieving” the loss of my previous career and life. I used to think this “grief” was a “loss of identity”. But that isn’t the case! I haven’t changed who I am. I know who I am, and I know I want to live a fulfilled life, which includes being a mom and more. It is languishing – the sense of stagnation, mundane, need for more! Being able to put a name to that feeling helps dealing with it easier. I don’t think languishing is necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it is uncomfortable, but that is where strength, self-awareness, and confidence grow from. It is the recognition of this languish-ness, and the need to harness it, that leads to the becoming of a Mompreneur.
mom·pre·neur: a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children (Oxford Languages definition)
Now, I realize this can seem controversial. Please don’t get me wrong, this is not a judgment of right or wrong, team stay-home-mom or team working-mom. Absolutely not. And maybe there’s a bit of “how could you possibly not be enjoying your kids at the moment?!” Motherhood is one of the most wonderful, amazing, and life-bettering experiences in the world. So, hear me out, I am speaking as moms who chose to live this path because it is what was best for them and their family. Mompreneurs like myself. It is the path that I chose, and I would do it all over again.
I identify as a Mompreneur because the importance of thriving in BOTH mom life and my business is my ultimate life goal. To be a great mom and to run a successful biz, on my own terms. Yes, it can be possible. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It is not easy. There are many hard days. It doesn’t happen overnight, but lots of Mompreneurs do it. It is also why so many mompreneurs love supporting so other mompreneurs succeed. Because they get it. Because it’s better than staying languished. It is when you’ve stop languishing, when you’ve churned that fresh cream into solid butter, that you can “step off” to live your life to the fullest.
The writer, in the article, offers various antidotes and ways to break through languishing.
Here is what it means in the journey of becoming a Mompreneur…
Find a “flow”, a passion: This is our business. The why behind any Mompreneurs’ businesses is always 100% because of a heartfelt passion.
Give yourself uninterrupted time: Mompreneurs are aces at time management, time-blocking, balancing the scale from side to side like a seesaw. Because we have to. This is why we wake up early to complete our morning routine before anyone wakes up; our night routine after everyone goes to bed. Any other time of the day, interruptions are just part of the game.
Focus on small goals: We break down running our business and our family lives into small actionable tasks, checklists, reminders, etc. We join masterminds, form network groups – to learn more skills, to get more inspired, day by day. We build our very own tribe of like-minded women to support, hold each other accountable, and make sure we help each other succeed.
I am not a life or business coach. I’m just a fellow mompreneur, who found a purpose in serving other mompreneurs after breaking out of languishing.
By no means, am I diminishing or over-simplifying anyone else’s current “blah” caused by the pandemic. Not at all. I just want to give an added voice for Mompreneurs. Because we know this languishing. We’ve faced it before. So, even when that “blah” comes back, we have a system, a routine, resources, and a tribe to help us break out of it.
The world now truly understands why mompreneurs are made.