How to Be a Mom and an Entrepreneur without Failing at Both

BY: - 17 May '17 | inspiration

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When I began this entrepreneurship journey several years ago, I knew one thing and one thing only: I did not want to work for anyone ever again in my life. I had been fired twice from jobs because I put my kids’ health first. The last full-time job I had was with the federal government. I quit that job when I heard God say, “Pack your things. It’s time to go.”

Before and after leaving my final full-time job, I had various side hustles to help my husband pay the bills. Some of my entrepreneurial jobs were: owning a home daycare for years (including weekend and overnight care for military families), tutoring, selling Mary Kay, Avon, and real estate (I did well until the bubble burst.)

Honestly, I did not understand how much time and commitment it would take. After numerous instances of forgetting to pick my kids up, to drop them off or to go grocery shopping, I had to find a way to manage all of this and stay engaged with my kids and husband. I had bouts where I was so overwhelmed that I would snap at everyone or eat excessively to cope.


Eventually, I ballooned to almost 200lbs. I had to make a change for my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health. Hearing my doctor say the words, “You have diabetes” before my 39th birthday was my wake up call. I was not only failing myself, I was failing my kids too. I was fatigued all the time, which caused my husband and children to suffer. And, I was even too exhausted to give 100% to my businesses.

In January 2011, I decided I could do both (be a mom and an entrepreneur) but I had to be smart about it. I started walking while my daughter was at cheer practice. On days she didn’t have practice, she would go to the track with me. This gave us time to spend together.

I decided I could do both (be a mom and an entrepreneur) but I had to be smart about it.

By November that same year, I lost 53lbs and was diabetes-free before my 40th birthday. I became a better mother and entrepreneur because I put me first. I even started my nonprofit, Forever Free Books and my current purpose-filled mission, The Real Wife Movement. I know this was a direct result of implementing ways to take care of myself and my family.

Check out my series, Celebrating Mompreneuers

Some other tools and methods I incorporated were:

  1. Purchased and used a planner –  I had the Whose Shoes Are You Wearing Planner. This helped me organize my goals and plan my month. It also has features women entrepreneurs at the beginning of each month who share their inspiring stories.
  2. Put my kids to work – Through my nonprofit, we give free books to at-risk kids. My kids were tasked with counting, stamping, labeling and eventually passing out books to the other kids.
  3. Asked hubby for help – Once my husband knew what I needed, he was able to help me.
  4. Switched some household roles with my husband – My husband picked up grocery shopping and cooking because they were time-consuming. I paid the bills.
  5. Gave my kids more age-appropriate responsibilities – Since my daughter loves to cook, she helped my husband in the kitchen on the weekends. Now, she can make potato salad almost as well as mine now.
  6. Hired a cleaning service – At first, I felt guilty but I got over that quickly. We get our house deep cleaned twice a year. This helps me manage during the in between months.
  7. Said “NO” to others – I had to tell folks that I could not hit happy hour or Ladies Night Out every pay day. I stopped going to lots of social events that I really did not want to go to in the first place. This freed me up to focus on my businesses.
  8. Said “NO” to my family – I had to tell my mom, dad, hubby and even my precious kids “no” when they asked me to do stuff at the last minute. My daughter had a black dress emergency at 7 pm the day before her school event. I struggled with telling her we were not going to the mall because she hit me with a million reasons why she was going to die if she didn’t get a new dress. She survived.
  9. Resigned from too many community groups – I stepped down from being a Girl Scout Troop leader, football team mom, cheerleading coach and program director, and YES, even church leadership positions, etc. These are great organizations and serve a bigger cause, but I no longer had the time to serve them 100%.
  10. Cooked larger meals – We cooked larger meals and froze portions of them. This saved us from having to cook a lot during the week.
  11. Car-pooled with other families to my kids’ events – We had to set these up or our kids would not be able to do their after-school activities. I am known as the “drop-off queen”.
  12. Took time alone for myself – Last but certainly not least, I learned to pamper myself. Whether it was a pedicure, binging on Netflix documentaries or going for an ice cream cone, I learned to take time for me. That was the best investment ever.

Being a “MOM”preneur can be stressful if you do not have systems in place. Find things that work for you and implement them. I promise, your business will thrive and you kids will thank you for giving them 100% of their mom.

Check out my series, Celebrating Mompreneuers – During the month of MAY, women will share their unique stories of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Allow yourself to be inspired by these women who are creating products and services for women just like you.

About the author

Tanya Barnett wrote 15 articles on this blog.

Tanya Barnett is a relationship strategist, speaker and the “Real” Wife Coach. She is the author of Being a Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew, Before I Said, I Do”. She founded the Real Wife Movement™, where she equips single and married women with tools to create strong marriages and families. She is also the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile literacy nonprofit, which delivers free books and story time to low income children in their neighborhoods and communities. She is a marathoner, triathlete and a serious book lover. She and her husband, Don, have 3 awesome kids.


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Here’s Why It’s Okay to Take Time for Yourself

BY: - 5 Jun '17 | inspiration

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We are all busy people and this is a busy world.  We are mothers, fathers, parents, sisters, brothers, cousins, grandchildren, professionals, friends, and so many other roles.  We make time for the people and things that matter most to us and often at the expense of ourselves and our personal priorities.

Now in an era where self-care is critical to your peace of mind, sanity, and ability to function, how do you take care of yourself?  Do you carve out time for yourself? If you don’t, what’s stopping you?  These and other questions I will attempt to answer here, where I explain why it is okay to take time for yourself in a world of constantly competing priorities.

Give Yourself Permission

Many of us want to say no to something, or in my case many things, but then we feel guilty about it and we end up saying yes. We say yes because we don’t want to appear selfish, or are concerned the other party will get upset or be disappointed with us.

I ask you, what’s the better scenario: to say yes and feel resentful – because you don’t want to be doing something or taking on another activity – or, being honest and taking care of your needs and feeling happier and more in control of your time and energy?

Give yourself permission to make guilt-free choices that benefit you.

Clearly the better answer is the latter.  A cheesy but effective way to deal with the guilt is to write a permission slip to yourself.  The permission slips can be modeled after the ones we write for our children excusing them from school or an activity and/or like the ones our parents used to write for us.

Give yourself permission to make guilt-free choices that benefit you.  You don’t have to be everything to everybody, and you certainly shouldn’t do it at the expense of yourself. You will be surprised how much better you feel once you give yourself permission to opt-out of things you don’t want or need to do and I encourage to undertake this exercise immediately.

 Learn to Say No!

The key to creating more time for yourself and your individual needs is learning to say “no” to requests and obligations that you don’t want to do.  In this case, saying no is like carrying out a “spring cleaning” of the house.

At first, you think everything is necessary and you want to hold on to it. But once you begin getting rid of these unwanted and unused items, you create more space, lighten your load and feel freer.  These positive feelings help you gain momentum and so you keep going, with each step feeling better than the last. By the time you’ve finished, the house looks great and you feel great!  And saying no can also make you feel this way,

Step Back

Figure out why you want more free time and what is going on in your life that is making you feel this way.  Once you’ve made time to figure out the root cause(s) of your feelings, then you can start on a path toward changing the environment around you and how you respond to it.  You will also be able to determine what you need and able to execute a plan that will help you find a path to greater happiness and equilibrium in the roles you inhabit in your life.

Limit and/or Eliminate Distractions

Find ways to carve out time for yourself every day, even if it is only for 15 minutes.  Shut the door and make it clear you need a few moments of uninterrupted you time.

When you are at home, unplug.  Turn off your cell phone and mobile devices and make yourself unreachable for a few moments.  Instead of watching TV for hours on end of mindless programming after work, pick one or two of your favorite shows watch them, and then turn the TV off.

The average American spends 2.4 hours a day in front of the TV, but that investment yields little to no rewards. Studies show that watching TV doesn’t make people nearly as happy as activities that really engage them, like playing tennis, taking a walk, and eating with family or friends.  Therefore, find your alternate and more fulfilling hobbies and activities and do them instead of wasting your time in front of the television.

For whatever reason, society dictates that if we are not actively putting our time and energy into something or someone, it is wasted time.  The truth is that making time for yourself is just as important as making time for other elements of your life. Your mental health and well-being depend on it, and there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first and foremost sometimes. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone (or anything) else, so always make yourself a priority by taking time for yourself.

About the author

Lia Miller wrote 23 articles on this blog.

Lia Miller is an every woman, in that she does and is interested in a lot of things. Lia is a wife and mother, ambitious/career focused individual, writer and award winning blogger, do-it-yourself loc’d naturalista, foodie, avid reader, movie buff, sports enthusiast, passionate about music, dance, and the arts, news junkie, advocate for the underdog/under-represented, with an incurable bug for traveling and exploring the world. Lia is also a clinical social worker with a concentration in children, relationships, and family dynamics. Lia’s focus is to find and share how to get the best out of life by living fully, loving hard, and always learning.


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