Success as a mom in business is a cyclical relationship. In order to keep one’s sanity she must understand that the two relationships must be in total balance so that the notorious mother’s guilt doesn’t take over. Allow your children to be your inspiration, as you are theirs. Know that writing your own ticket empowers you and will empower your family to live the lifestyle of your choice. Nothing comes without sacrifice, commitment and balance. I am living proof that it can be done.
As many of you have, I had toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur for a long time. However, something about life becomes more real when a mother looks into her child’s doting eyes and realizes that she is responsible for the molding of her precious love. Our children inspire us to take better care of ourselves in many ways. We quickly learn how strong we are to endure pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the first few weeks at home with baby.
I started my first business in 2005 when my eldest daughter was eleven months old. That period was literally the busiest and craziest time of my life. My husband I purchased our first home a few years prior and were making major repairs. I was in grad school conquering two programs simultaneously and working full time as the Director of a dropout prevention program at a large urban high school, while attempting to balance life as a new mommy. It was this journey that inspired and best prepared me to live as a mom in business as I have done for the past eleven years.
A woman can definitely realize success as both mother and entrepreneur. Both “jobs” require the same skill set: extraordinary tenacity, exceptional organization the ability to maneuver through sleepless nights, which will prove to be unbelievable intrinsically rewarding. I can remember the exact moment that I realized that enough was enough and I wanted to create something of my own. I wanted to make my family and myself proud while securing the financial future of my family for generations to come. Sitting at my desk at my home office in the middle of the night, I was breastfeeding my then six month old daughter I was brainstorming how I could spend as much time with her as possible without affecting my family’s finances. At that very moment, she inspired me to go after my dreams of entrepreneurship.
Whether it’s about shopping on a budget, sneaking veggies into the kid’s meals or getting rid of those pesky love handles, as women, we are “queens of figuring it out.” All successful business owners work daily to solve problems, all be it making payroll, hiring the right staff or reinventing the business’ product/service.
As a mom in business, I’ve empowered myself in immeasurable ways. I am constantly growing and learning, which enables me to be a better mom, wife and businesswoman. Entrepreneurship has enabled me to help provide financially for my family, afforded the flexibility to be an active parent at my daughters’ school and the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve created a growing business of my own that has inspired my now 9 and 11 year old daughters to want to be future entrepreneurs.
If you’re on the front end of facing similar challenges, here’s what I want you to know:
- Your hard work will pay off. It may not seem like it now but you will live a “more free” life defined by no one other than you. If you find this possibility exciting or even intriguing…keep pushing.
- You will get to know your own strengths and challenges in ways that others have never pushed themselves to understand. It’s like training for a marathon (or so I’ve heard). I’ve only run as far as a 5k. I don’t know what it is like to run a full marathon; therefore, I cannot even fathom how far my body can be pushed. I don’t know my full strength. There’s probably something that you’ve done/accomplished that others haven’t. That makes you understand your strength in that area of your life that your friends, family or co-workers can’t understand. It’s the same when you join the world of the parent entrepreneur.
- It gets much, much better. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s the insanity needed to run a successful business or what but most of the people I regularly associate with are executives or business owners too. We all have a little touch of crazy (in a good way). Who else would be responding to emails at 4 a.m.? You end up falling into a routine. Your family ends up falling into a routine. What seems unnatural now becomes the new normal. Just make sure that you include you time and/or meditation to keep you centered amidst the chaos. It does and will get much, much better.
- Enjoy your family whenever possible. Time flies. Steal little moments and make memories when you can. Some of my fondest moments of my childhood were of my father bringing me to his corporate offices as a child. He worked hard and a lot. It taught me to value hard work. I bring my daughters to work when I can. All memories don’t have to be created on a playground. Stopping off at the playground on the way home from bringing your children to the office isn’t a bad idea either.