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Koleya’s balancing act

I was working in Mexico when my son said his first big word. The first time he said “Waffle”, a wave of sheer guilt crashed over me. “He is growing up without me!” I thought, “I’m missing everything!” But these natural thoughts didn’t last long.

It took a brief period of self-awareness to realize this wasn’t the case. The reality was I was doing all this for my family and that I’m taking care of them the best way I know how; dwelling on it will not serve a purpose.

The stigma remains, if I were the man this would be understandable and acceptable, but because I’m a woman, I’m supposed to be at home and that I’m neglecting my duties as a mother; here’s the thing that needs to be understood – other mothers have no right to make you feel bad or guilty about being a working mom.

The fact is, when raising kids AND working, the mindset can be archaic… 

In our society, I’ve found that many women just don’t relate to the entrepreneur mom juggling the duties of raising her children. Instead, I have consistently come across women who exclaim “I couldn’t imagine having a child and letting a stranger raise them while I was away at work.”

However, there is an element of truth here…

Yes, we are providers. Yes, we are nurturers. But the fact is, we are able to provide and nurture in many other ways. Just because I’m not at home with my children 24/7 doesn’t mean I am any less involved in their lives or that I am in any way a neglectful mother.

I’ve made some keen observations as I’ve worked to balance my life as a motivational speaker, and a momprenuer:

Number 1

Find support

“They,” say you can’t have it all when it comes to kids, but the fact is – I DO! I have a vibrant and thriving career. I have a wonderful, loving, and caring support system. And I have taken the time to carefully plan, consider, and execute my days in a way that supports this lifestyle. I’ll have more on that below.

Some background, I had my first child at the age of 21. Yep, it’s true, I became that young, single, broke mom, a situation that scares a lot of younger women. But, here’s the thing, my parents were incredibly supportive, (and I humbly understand how this may not be an option for many) but the fact remains, their energy and support of my son Darien and I invigorated me; they gave me the option to raise Darien AND follow my career goals. And it allowed me to realize my shared passion with my father Darsell for cleaner, more advanced technology solutions. That said, I believe my son was the one that drove my career to what it is; after my second child was born it lit an even brighter fire in me, a strong desire to keep our environment intact for my children, and for future generations.

Number 2

Me time… Should it be a guilty pleasure?

I’ll answer this one plainly. No.

Burnout and exhaustion are common. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t deserve some time to yourself. Take it from me, we all need some time to unwind and recharge. When all is said and done, you just need that little bit of “you” time before you can give yourself 100% to someone else. It’s like that in a relationship, it’s like that at work, and it’s definitely like that with your kids. Why should I feel in the wrong when I book a massage every now and then? Why should I feel wrong giving myself twenty minutes or an hour to just relax with a glass of wine?

The guilt we often feel is entirely unfounded, and we need to take our “me” time more seriously. Is it really a guilty pleasure? or is it more of a necessity? Giving myself time to take care of me provides the strength and patience needed to be a better mother and better businesswoman. I feel like I really need to stress this… It’s okay to put you first sometimes!

Number 3

Balancing family time and work

This one is, and always will be difficult. It’s about finding strategies to manage your time effectively. My role as a momrepreneur is not always equal to that of a mom, but I keep striving for the ever elusive work-life balance.

I remember a time when I was on a plane with my newborn just 9 weeks after giving birth. People looked shocked, and couldn’t believe I wasn’t taking the time to rest and recuperate, and that I was going to work with a child – the simple fact is, I HAD obligations to work! I literally worked until I went into labour and I got right back at it when he was 3 days old. When you’re a mompreneur you don’t have the luxury of maternity leave if you want your company to exist in a years time.

However, as I mentioned earlier, I keep making efforts to carefully consider and execute my days in a way that supports the ever elusive balancing act of a work-life balance. I have been so lucky in finding an amazingly understanding husband who has supported me as I grow my career further. And we’ve worked together to effectively manage our time, compromise, and take the time to listen. Now don’t get me wrong, my husband doesn’t always love my 16 hour work days (to be honest he NEVER really does) or my two-week trips across the country, but it works for us because we communicate effectively and we make sure to schedule time for a week alone together. My Husband always tells me “teamwork makes the dream work” and I like to think we make a pretty good team.

However, as I mentioned earlier, I have taken the time to carefully consider and execute my days in a way that supports this balancing act of a lifestyle. I have also found an amazing and understanding husband who has supported me as I grow my career further. And we’ve worked together to effectively manage our time, compromise, and take the time to listen. 

Number 4

What fulfills me most

A burning desire to become a successful entrepreneur was something that my father instilled in me from an early age. He began mentoring me at 3 years old, and he shared his experience whilst having me attend weekend business coaching sessions from people like Jim Rohn by the age of 11. Thanks to my dad I started my first business by the time I was 14. My father also led me to achieve my goals in the tech industry by the age of 22, and he provided me with the experience and knowledge necessary to produce revenue-generating business models and the confidence to become a successful motivational speaker.

In the 14 years I’ve been in the technology industry, I’ve immensely enjoyed supporting and empowering women to get involved in tech. For me, It’s all about realizing my capabilities; taking chances, having kids AND knowing I can have the successful career path that I have always wanted. I love being a mompreneur, a motivational speaker and a business coach, especially here in the flourishing tech-hub of Calgary.

Looking for a motivational speaker or business coach here in Calgary? Koleya Karringten is a local gal with a successful track record of entrepreneurial experience. She has a particular interest in helping women in tech reach their dreams and entrepreneurial goals. And she hopes to build a community of innovation and technology adoption. Read more about Koleya’s areas of expertise and experience here.