Welcome! My guest today is Liz O’Donnell, a wannabe mogul, busy working mom, and (sometimes) maid. She is the founder of Hello Ladies, an award-winning website for smart, busy women. It was named one of the Top 100 Websites for Women by Forbes. She has written the book, Mogul, Mom, and Maid, which looks at the choices, options, and the impact of women’s decisions on them, their families, and their careers.
Let’s explore the following questions with Liz:
- What brought you where you are today, and what was your first job?
I signed up with a temp agency, thinking I would be doing office work. They stuck me at an Adult Day Health Center, which was NOT what I expected. I was so intimidated, working with the elderly people, but I ended up LOVING it!
- What made you write your book?
My girlfriends and I get together occasionally for “Wine and Whine” sessions. A good friend was sharing about her busy mom schedule and her husband’s involvement and irritation when the house was messy. It occurred to me that women face these challenges with gender roles, juggling so many aspects of their lives. Even though, in my case, my husband stays home while I’m the breadwinner, I know that many women face the same struggles.
- What do you see as the mindblocks that women have about the balance we are striving for?
The key is that we all strive for something different and define success differently. The biggest mindblock to success is understanding that women have different ideals. Women do 67% more of the housework and childcare than men in the average home. Don’t compare yourself to others. Women also fall into the “We do it BEST” trap and don’t allow their husbands to do certain tasks. Also, women tend to assign superlatives to every action. We forget something and think, “Oh, I’m the WORST mom ever!” A dad can forget the same thing and thinks, “Oh, I forgot.”
- Is it a mindblock when women question why their husband is taking on a specific task, like “Does he think I can’t do it?”
Yes, that is absolutely a mindblock. We have to remember that the whole gender role shift is a relatively new thing that has occurred in recent years. Gender norms are ingrained in our heads based on how we grew up. We now have different roles than our parents did, but still feel the guilt and the pull when we aren’t the mothers that we grew up with.
- Do you have any tips for busy, working moms who want to be entrepreneurs and “do it all”?
I use the metaphor, “Put down the mop!” I mean that we should prioritize our lives over our laundry. We all want to be good wives, good moms, and good employees. What are the things that we do because we feel like we “should” be doing them? If we stop doing all those things, then it creates space to do other things that we WANT to do. Don’t compare yourself to others; get off social media!
- Do you think shutting down social media is the BEST thing to do?
Sometimes. Social media is a powerful tool that can lead to great business connections, relationships, and networking opportunities. It’s not all bad, but there are times to shut it down. A strategy I recommend is to define 3-5 non-negotiables that absolutely matter to me:
*Being home at least 3 nights/week with my family
*Finding time to write every week
*Making sure I do a great job at my PR firm
*Finding time to exercise enough to maintain my sanity
If I do these four things, then that’s a WIN. It’s my definition of success.
- Do you think we can connect our non-negotiables to our overall goals?
Absolutely. I have goals around my writing and career goals. My job has to be something that I say YES to.
- What are the Top Three Beliefs of Successful Women?
Being a working mother means never having to say you’re sorry.
Never feeling guilty about providing for my family
Never feeling guilty for putting my family first
- What would you say to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out and not able to provide for their families yet?
- Don’t try to justify what you do. Reframe your thoughts around what you’re modeling for your children. Hopefully I’m teaching them to pursue goals and dreams and see the long-term potential until the dollars start rolling in.
- Build a power network of women who support you. Cultivate the network BEFORE you actually need it.
- From Robert Frost: “The only way through is through.” So many working mothers are also “working daughters” who are caring for aging parents. Face the challenges and DIVE IN!
- The trophy you want on your mantel? “Best Mom”
- Your guilty pleasure? Really, really BAD television. It’s so bad that I won’t even share!
- Currently reading? Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter
- Your favorite productivity hack? “I set a timer to work on small tasks.”
- Your personal motto? “The only way through is through.”
- What would you do differently? “Start my own business sooner.”