Five years ago, if someone had uttered the word “mompreneur” to me, I would have looked at them with, what I would imagine to be, a pretty comical expression. I had no idea how much that word would end up depicting everything about my life. In 2014, my husband and I both decided to quit our comfy corporate jobs to venture out into the world of self-employment. So, with a breastfeeding seven-month-old attached at the teat, I became a mompreneur without any knowledge of how hard that job would be. Now with a seond child on the way, I’m just crazy enough to do it again.
Mompreneur. Today I am the living definition of that portmanteau (word-combo). For the first year and a half of this new lifestyle, I struggled to find any balance between running a business and being a mom. Doing my job while at the same time I’m yelling at a toddler to get off of the [insert something he shouldn’t be standing on here] It’s a good thing my ‘boss’ puts up with it. At times I’d envy the stay-at-home mom who could focus all of her attention on her babies. At other times I would find myself longing to be the typical working-mom who got a break from the constant diaper changes and cries for ‘mama.’ It didn’t really hit me how lucky I was until the day my husband and I got to watch our son take his first steps in our office. We get to do what we love while spending time with who we love.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, I still struggle to find balance on a daily basis. My days tend to consist of way too much take-out food at the office. I spend my time paying bills and invoicing customers and not nearly enough time vacuuming dog hair and doing laundry. Some days I long to be ‘anywhere but here’— even if just for a long lunch break with a margarita— but there are so many more days that I know I ended up just where I am supposed to be.
In order to be a successful Mompreneur (let’s pretend for just one moment that I hold that title), I think there are two crucial qualities that you need to possess.
- Patience is numero uno. Without exercising patience in a big way, someone or something is going to pay dearly; whether it is your customers, your employees, or your toddlers feelings, most likely the latter, something’s going to pay.
- Realization of who you are and what you’re capable of. Realize that you are NOT Superwoman. Though I sometimes joke that I am. Accept that you may need help to get through your day. There may be some tears shed along the way, but that is okay.
I’m talking about you, mama. So when you hear those blocks dumped all over your office floor or an important work order gets colored on (both of which happened to me today), just breathe. Breathe it all in, because you are not alone. You are one of the lucky ones who gets to live in both worlds. You’re that wonderfully beautiful imaginary creature that gets to spend all day with your babies and still have adult interaction. Kudos to you for figuring it out!
Beth Calvin is a mom and co-founder of a sign and graphics company called Insignia Graphics. She lives in Adrian, Michigan with her husband Rick and two year old son Grayson.