Earthy Day is this month. Our store is hosting a site for the Great Cloth Diaper Change http://greatclothdiaperchange.com I figured what is more perfect than writing about modern cloth diapering? Then life as a mom and a business owner took over. So I decided instead to talk about the intricate and delicate juggling act being a mom with a start up business can be.
The chaos all started with my 5 year old son flying to Florida for 10 days with my parents. Not only do I have to deal with the HOLY CRAP anxiety because my baby is going away without me! I had to get the permission to treat and travel paper work drawn up. I call the allergist to see how the beach and shell collecting etc is supposed to be handled with his severe shellfish allergy. And search every pharmacy in town for a travel container for his single dose of Benadryl in case he has an issue on the plane. Then I realize that between the 2 epi-pens and the Benadryl the allergist recommends him travel with he has reached the limit for fluids that he and my parents can carry combined. Not to mention making sure he had the “right” underwear for his scoliosis brace so he doesn’t get a wedgie.
Then to add on to that we have had 2 major business opportunities presented to me. Both are fairly large ventures and both will require a bit of a financial leap of faith and a ton of time. So what do I do? I do the insane and say yes to moving forward on both fronts!!! On top of all that my store is hosting a location of the Great Cloth Diaper Change for a Guinness world record which requires tons of red tape and officialness.
It is difficult balance of working and juggling kids. Doing both things is probably like a 50 hour a day job that I cram into my 16 waking hours around home schooling and being a mom and making sure the house doesn’t become a fire hazard. But who doesn’t enjoy a good challenge? Because I work for myself and there is always work I could do to further my business there is always pressure to peek at email on my smart phone or email that mom back really quickly about her diapering question. There are times where I am SO stressed out at the kids because they can’t give me 5 minutes to check in at work. Last year we decided to move the business out of our home and into a retail location and it was the best decision we ever made for our family. It gave me a much better division of work and home. When I’m home I’m mom. When I’m at work I’m a business owner. My smart phone is still a challenge. I need to learn to turn it off between 4:30 and bed. I check it too much and am often afraid the kids will think work is more important than what they are doing.
My biggest downfall is I LOVE what I do. I love the challenge of staying in business (retail is brutal). I love the challenge of troubleshooting with moms. And I love the time to be my own person and not Mom. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE being a mom and spending time with my kids. Sometimes there is the illusion that work is more pressing or can’t wait and the kids can. Well let me tell you, watching your 5 year old climb on a plane and go on vacation by himself reminded me just how fast they grow up. The time with them is pressing, because I can call that customer back tomorrow but tomorrow my kids will be one day older. I have learned that its ok to sneak out early sometimes, and to let staff run things or even on a VERY slow day in the summer I have occasionally been known to put the closed sign up with a note saying Gone Swimming with my Boys. Come visit again Tomorrow OR closing a few hours early to make it to that martial arts test my kid is having and YES every now and then one will have to come to the store with me. I wear it on my sleeve that we are a small FAMILY business which means that as often as business creeps into family life, sometimes a bit of family life creeps into business as well. I find it makes us have a more human face, and that when we put it out there people respect the delicate balance that we have to strike. So if you are juggling kids and your own business make sure to set yourself some good work / family boundaries and then don’t be afraid to bring a bit of family into work and let people know that sometimes you just need to be a parent. So what tips to you have for families trying to juggle running businesses and raising your little ones?
Here is my 5 year old hanging out at the store waiting for a Dr. appointment. with me.
About The Author: Jenn Leggett is the Chief Executive Mama at Earthy Crunchy Mama