Thursday, April 4, 2013

For the Mommas who are trying to run a business....I know you.

First and foremost, this is a blog post to encourage mothers......all mothers.  Working mothers. Stay at home mothers. Part time working mothers.  Let's build each other up ladies.  There is just no time for judgement and criticism from other moms whose journeys are different than ours.  Aren't we all trying to do the very best we can? Grace, grace, grace....

So with that being said......

Right after I started my painting business 12 years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I continued to paint every day until I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant and then begged my sister in law to come help me before my belly exploded or I got hurt....one of the two. That sister in law has been painting for me now for almost 12 years. I am blessed beyond measure for her loyalty!

In the beginning, I painted with her a few hours every week. But, then we got busier and busier and I just kept getting pregnant. So, I have hired more women over the years and currently have 3 women who paint for me every day.

Because I have almost always had people working for/with me, I have.... at no planning or doing of my own.... been able to set up my business in such a way that I would do all of the appointments, all of the samples, all of the bids, order the supplies, deliver the supplies and ladders, deal with the customers and the girls would be the ones at our job sites all day every day.....  painting their little hearts out.

It's been the American dream and yet it's been emotionally depleting all at the same time. The pressure of being a business owner in today's world means you have to be up on trends and up on marketing and up on taxes and up on insurance and up on new products. And it's OVERWHELMING. It.just.never.ends. 

It has been REALLLLLLY important to me to have my kids home with me as much as we can until they go to elementary school.  We have made many sacrifices to keep our kids out of childcare.   By the grace of God, we have only had to put each of our kids in a Mom's Day Out for no more than 12-15 hours a week. They have been with me the rest of the time. 

People always ask me....how do you do that??   Well, the first year of each of their little lives, the kids would just go to job sites and appointments and paint stores with me. They were still little enough to be contained in their car seats, so it was never an issue. After they were mobile and talking, we began each of our kids in the Mom's Day Out program at a nearby church.

Eventually each of our kids went to preschool for 12-15 hours a week.  But the rest of the time, they were home with me.....and often...."home with me" means...  home with mom and mom is working.

There have been few things I have found as challenging as running a business while trying to be a good mom. A "present" mom. An attentive mom. An involved mom.  My heart is first and foremost..... fiercely committed to my husband and children.  And yet, God has given me a talent, a way to make income and a passion for painting.  In a perfect world, money would grow on trees and I would paint for free for the people I love. But until that day comes, I will have to work just a little.

I had no business plan by which to set up The Magic Brush. I have just day-by-day, for 12 years, juggled the hats of "mommy" and "business owner".  And somehow, God keeps blessing it.

I KNOW in my knower there are more business owning moms like me out there.  And I am writing this for someone in particular today.  I don't know who she is...but I hope it blesses her.

So......To the mom who is emailing and faxing and returning phone calls right up to the very last second until the school bus pulls down the street to a stop..... I know you.  I have been there.

To the mom who is reading devotions and stories to her babies before bedtime tonight and dreading the pile of paperwork she has sitting on her desk that still needs addressed before bed…..I know you. I have been there.
To the mom sending that fax as she plays a matching game with her toddler on her office floor... I know you.  I have been there.
To the mom ducking out of her son’s field trip for 2 minutes to take a quick call from a client and hoping your son doesn't see it….I know you.  I have been there.
To the mom who gets up early to get a “head start” before the kids get up and who was already up way too late working the night before..... I know you.  I have been there.
To the mom who has a stomach ache when she asks her client if its ok for her kiddo to come along to a consultation….I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who has been present for every.single.one of her kid's field trips and school parties, but has found herself working on Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving evening and days the "rest of the world seems to be off".....I know you. I have been there.

To the mom who clears her work calendar and prays her clients understand whenever there is a sick kiddo at home.... I know you. I have been there.

To the mom who knows that when people hear she is working from home they assume she is napping and watching daytime tv and working on Pinterest projects. Ha! I know better.  I know you and I have been there.

To the mom whose friends tell her to stop working so much, turn off the computer after dinner at night, quit taking phone calls.....I understand that if you do that, you will be even further behind tomorrow. I see you nodding your head in agreement to those people and yet deep inside you are knowing that you just.dont.know.how.to.turn.it.off.  I know you and I have been there.

To the mom who wonders if her kids will ever appreciate the career sacrifices she has made in order to put the priority on raising her babies….I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who is cooking dinner, quizzing her grade schooler on spelling words and texting work instructions to her employees for the next day all at the same time….I know you. I have been there.

To the mom who makes sure she is home every day to get the kids on the bus and to get the kids off the bus.....I know your workday rushes by. You are trying to get done in 6 hours what most people do in 9 hours. I know you don't stop for lunch. I know you find yourself running and running and running out of control.  I know you.....I have been there.

To the mom who is so used to multitasking that she can no longer watch a movie without knitting or sorting pictures or painting her nails…..I know you. I have been there.

To the mom who feels like she will seriously loose it if one.more.person.adds.one.more.thing.to.her.plate….I know you.  I have been there.
To the mom who looks at her 9-5 friends and is envious of their PDO’s but wouldn’t trade her business for a desk job for anything in the world.  I know you. I have been there.

To the mom who asks her hubby to come home early to cover the kids while she meets with a client….I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who lets her kids play in her paint supplies just so she feel less guilty about needing to work on samples for a client.....  I know you.  I have been there.

To the momma who can't believe her toddler just fell asleep in the backseat with only one more work errand to run.....I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who asks her kids to go to the paint store with her and dulls the complaints by a promise to get them a Sonic Slushee….I know you.  I have been there.

To the mom who looks at  her full-time working mother friends and a part of her wishes she could devote more of her time to her dreams. Yet ,she knows those dreams will have to wait a bit longer.....  I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who looks at her stay at home mom friends and would give her left leg to be in their shoes, but yet needs to make some money for the family…..I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who wonders if anyone understands the pressure she is under because the reality is we probably weren't designed to effectively run a home and a run business at the same time anyway?????  Yes dear momma....I know you.  I have been there. 
We are a breed of our own.  Trying to work.  Trying to raise our babies.  Trying to be the best at both and feeling like we are cheating, failing, giving less than 100% to either one at either given time.  I know you. I have lived here for almost 12 years.

And now finally….my last baby is enrolled in fall kindergarten and I wonder if I played enough?  Went to the park enough? Read books enough? Studied nature enough? Found treasures on the walking trail enough? Arranged play dates enough? Did I short change her?  Did I cheat her out of the best of me while I worked and raised her at the same time????
Surely, I could have put away that bid. I could have delayed that sample board. I could have silenced that client call.  And yet I didn't.  Because when you are self employed you understand that if you don't work....you don't eat.  It's that simple.  And most people just can't relate to that....and that's ok. 

But I get it business-owner momma.   I am still living it.   And I applaud you!

I am just so, so grateful that I have been allowed to work in an industry that I love and be at home with my kiddos the majority of the time.
Even if they have watched Dora a little too much.
Even if they have the Ipad mastered at way too young of an age.
In my heart of hearts, I believe the Lord has seen me trying to juggle it all. And He sees you too.  And He sees the desires of each of our Momma hearts.  And He sees the sacrifices and the hair that has gone unwashed for 3 days and the "driving like a maniac to pull in so we are waiting at the door when my babies get off the bus each day".      

He sees our conflictions and our convictions and our feeble attempts to make it all work. And He honors that.  I believe it.

14 comments:

Marie @ Chocolate-Covered Chaos said...

Oh, Jennifer...I know you wrote this for many & many will relate. But right now, I feel like it was written for me. So thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I'm there right now. I started a sewing business a year ago, and I homeschool my 3 kids. Most days, I worry I don't give them enough of me. I kiss my 5 year old when she's asleep at night and promise myself I'll give her more tomorrow. I'll be more for them tomorrow...
My word this year is "present".
I can't thank you enough for writing this...and reminding me that God sees me and everything that's going on in this chaotic house and this scatter-brained mama.
Hugs to you & many blessings!

Cindy * Daisies and Crazies said...

I think God told you to write this to me. xo

Alison Martin said...

Thank you for this post. I am a freelance graphic designer and mom of three boys. You described my life perfectly. It's nice to know someone else is out there who gets it. : )

Dana Tucker said...

Jennifer, what a great heart felt post. I think I live each of those things every day. In addition to having two special needs kiddos and running two businesses. I totally feel like you wrote this for me. Especially the part about trying to cram a work day into 6 hours so you can put the kids on the bus and get them off the bus. And.... the working late after they go to bed. And... getting up before they do to sneak in some work. I feel you girl. :) Thanks for encouraging all of us working moms this morning. :)

dana

Kasia Dymnicki said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this post! Reading it felt just like my own life was depicted! I'm a mom of 3 kids under 6 and for the past 3 years have painting furniture at home in our basement family room , that somehow got converted into my painting studio!
HAPPY early MOTHER'S DAY!

Jill of all Trades said...

I'm actually one of those 9-5, work outside the home Mamas. And every worrry you work-from-home Mamas have, we have, too - the "maybe I'm not good enough" worries, I mean.

And, believe me, sometimes we look at you all with the same level of envy that you sometimes look at us with! But isn't that sad that we all do that?!?

Jennifer, you said it best at the beginning of this post: We need to build each other up and stop comparing. We're all good mama's just trying to do our best!

Allan Murray said...

It's a magic reading your wonderful blog. Thanks.
Magician for Graduation Parties

Emily Wierenga said...

It's wonderful to meet you Jennifer! Thank you for your encouraging message. I love your post and your heart. If you feel like helping me spread word about my upcoming book, I'd be so grateful: www.mominthemirrorbook.com. Otherwise I look forward to getting to know you! Blessings, e.

thegypsymama said...

Yup, I know this life and this juggle and this balance. Love knowing other moms who are in the midst of it all too.

Warmest of wishes
Lisa-Jo

Catmull's said...

I just ran across your words tonight. I love them. I feel evey bit of them. I run a preschool and sometimes I feel like I'm barely hanging on to my business and my two daughters. Thank you for validating my feelings. The world feels so much better when we share each others burdens.

The Pink Peony said...

These words are so true! I can relate to every single one of them. Balance doesn't exist in my life at all...getting it done exists, laundry is done not folded exists, dishes are done laundry is not, emails are sent...but work hasn't been sent out, kids are read to but not bathed, bathed but not read too. Snuggles are squeezed in while trying to tune out my office and computer are taunting me to come back to work! Yet..it all gets done...I get to go eat with my kids at school today...and go to the Art Fair tonite...even if someone else has to take my daughter to recital practice tomorrow...and I will miss my sons football game next week because I am working. We do our best...and our kiddos know that!

Shell said...

It frustrates me that people think we are home working on pinterest projects or watching tv. Another one I get A LOT when I tell someone I work from home is "Oh, that must be so fun!"

Fun??? Like, isn't it cute that I have some little hobby. No, it's full-time, crazy hours, bust my butt getting everything done WORK.

Brittany Boone said...

My mentor was a single mom trying to start up her own business. She is now a multimillionaire and a wonderful success story filled with inspiration that we all can have the life we desire. She's accepting new female entrepreneurs to mentor and releasing a new program on business models. If you're interested you can check her out here bit.ly/14RlyE1

Brittany Boone said...

My mentor was a single mom trying to start up her own business. She is now a multimillionaire and a wonderful success story filled with inspiration that we all can have the life we desire. She's accepting new female entrepreneurs to mentor and releasing a new program on business models. If you're interested you can check her out here bit.ly/14RlyE1

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