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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Asked hubby for help – Once my husband knew what I needed, he was able to help me.
- Switched some household roles with my husband – My husband picked up grocery shopping and cooking because they were time-consuming. I paid the bills.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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%.
- Cooked larger meals – We cooked larger meals and froze portions of them. This saved us from having to cook a lot during the week.
- 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”.
- 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.