Stay at Home Mompreneur
Since college, I have had the opportunity to work for some amazing companies and to do some pretty amazing things. Each and every position I held helped me grow as a designer in ways that would not become apparent until much later. Working under one of the best high end designers in the Memphis area helped me refine my professionalism and opened my eyes to being bold and unconventional in design. Working for an incredibly successful furniture retailer allowed me to perfect my staging techniques and to improve upon my multi-tasking capabilities. It even provided me the opportunity to be in front of the camera for several design projects.
However, the most important job I have ever held has to be, by far, being a Momma. It was necessary for me to work full-time while our first baby was little. By the time we were expecting No. 2, we had figured out how I could stay at home. I was going to be a Full-Time stay at home Mom, and I could not have been more excited. I had all of these grand plans. I was going to cloth-diaper, only eat vegetables grown out of our own garden and spend all day wrapped up in my babes.
Let me say this right here Mommas: things don’t always go as planned. And that does NOT mean that you are a failure.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” After sweet girl number 2 arrived, I found myself at home, alone with a newborn and a 2 year old, battling some post-partum depression, as well as my ever increasing OCD/anxiety. I was miserable. From the time my eyes opened to the minute my head hit the pillow, I felt like I was running in circles trying to keep both babies happy and the house clean. Looking back now, there are key things that I feel like I could have changed that would have improved my outlook significantly, but I will come back to that…
My husband and I both decided that the best thing for my sanity, was to go back to work. I started looking for a position and landed a great gig as a Visual Merchandiser for a well known, International furniture retailer. That position turned into an Interior Design position for the same company, space planning their stores. When I first began with this company, I felt certain that is where God wanted me to be at that time in my life, and I still maintain that. I loved working there. I was able to think in ways I hadn’t before in regards to decorating, retail and staging. Then, I was able to go back to my design background and improve my AutoCAD skills and strategic thinking as I determined where furniture should be placed in these massive furniture showrooms. The pieces not only had to fit and create good flow, but the styles and colors needed to tell a story as they took the customer through the space.
I worked for that company for 2 years. By this point, our first child was ready to start Kindergarten and our second was 2 and going to our wonderful sitter. But the longer I worked a full work week, including 2 additional hours of drive time, I realized how much I missed my babies. And I don’t mean that I just kind of missed them every once in a while during the day. I mean that I had this deep down, hurt in my heart that I only saw them for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. The final straw for me came when my husband, like the wonderful Daddy that he is, had to take off work to take the girls to their dentist appointment. I am the Momma. I needed to be there with my babies while they got their teeth cleaned! (insert emotional breakdown over something simple here)
At this point, I knew from my previous attempt at being a stay at home mom what I needed to do so that I could be successful this time around. Now, I am not an expert, but having given this a shot (or 2), there are a handful of tips that I would offer for first time Stay at Home Mompreneurs:
- Have something for YOU. For me, that is my work. It gives me worth (monetarily), and allows me to focus on something for a little while other than baby food, sibling arguments and dirty diapers. Disclaimer: I do NOT feel like a SAHM must bring in money to have worth. It is a personal feeling since I was the bread winner for the beginning of our marriage while my husband was in school.
- Find something that you are passionate about. Doing something just to make a few bucks is not worth it. Your time, and the things you COULD be doing with it, is much more important!
- Take care of yourself. This is one that I struggle with daily. Real life: it is super easy to stay in sweats all day, hair in a bun and forget to shower… It happens… Take the time to take care of you. You take care of little ones all day, but if you are at your best, it will reflect in your daily life.
- Manage your time wisely. Time management is the key to working from home. It is also something that my husband would argue I should drastically work on. I try and tackle emails and lingering work things first thing in the morning before anyone else wakes up. Then I can get everyone ready and check it all again a little later in the day.
- Make Lists. I would literally loose my head if it weren’t on my shoulders. I am creative AND ADD, which means that there are about 1000 tabs open in my brain. A list helps me visualize what all I need to accomplish in a day as well as reminds me of that when I get off track.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. The house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean every day and the kiddos don’t have to be dressed to perfection. So long as you have enough clean clothes for today and the kids are still alive, you are doing a GREAT job!
- Enjoy every moment. I know it is super cliche, but the time really does fly and they are only little once. Balance is key, but don’t be afraid to stop and cuddle on the couch while you kiss their sweet little cheeks.
I was able to find that balance. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I always have been. And when God placed two great friends in my life, a husband and wife Real Estate team, I had my new trajectory. I work, every day, but it is all from the comfort of home. I can watch our third child play on the floor while I respond to emails and conduct searches to find the perfect home for my buyers. I can work on concepts for my design clients. I can contribute financially to my family, which was something I needed desperately, while spending more time with my babies, keeping a clean home and being present at school events. I make my own schedule, which is absolutely invaluable.
When I look back at the path that led me to where I am today, there is nothing I would change.. (except maybe that student loan I took out for a truck I no longer have..) God provided the opportunity to achieve that balance between motherhood and career that I thought wasn’t even possible and I am excited for where this path takes us.