Recently I have had the honor of filling out a couple interviews for upcoming features on blogs who speak to the heart of running a small creative business. At first I was shocked that someone would want to feature me (ha!) and then came this feeling of anxiety that I am really no model for the ultra #bosslady who is making those six figures and doing it big. Sure I have an active business. Sure I ran a successful wedding planning company for 5 years. Sure I like to teach other creatives what I learned along the way. But my boss world is vastly different than what I see other women pushing for.
For as long as I can remember my biggest heart’s desire was to be a stay at home mom. When I was in high school and everyone around me was dreaming of getting in the best college and then killing it in the corner office, I was envisioning a life of caring for wee ones, being a wife and building a home of joy. I guess you could call me an old soul.
But in the age of females making it happen, that dream just wasn’t good enough to the rest of the world. I was expected to go to college. I was expected to graduate and get a job and climb the ladder and support myself and make everyone proud. Now hear me out, those things are awesome and worth being proud of, but I just never quite fit into that equation. I think part of why I didn’t fit was due to that deep desire to live the life of being a mom and also partly because I didn’t know there was even an option of running my own business fueled by my love for being creative.
Fast forward 6 or so years of trying to fit the mold and make everyone happy, starting college, walking away from college, a slew of random jobs including being a licensed esthetician, medical assistant, waitress, and real estate agent, getting married, and having a miscarriage early on in our marriage, I decided life was WAY too short to keep trying to equal up to the expected equation. I quit my 9-5 and started my business from nothing.
I quickly found that I LOVED being an entrepreneur. Loved loved loved it. Loved earning money being creative. Best. Life. Ever. material. Let’s get real, I wasn’t making a lot money when I started out, but I found my fire. No dollar amount from any other job could ignite the passion that I found in my business. I got addicted to it. I would work all day and night, not because I was on a deadline, but because I seriously just loved it. I wanted to be the boss. I wanted to make the bucks. I wanted to build the empire.
Then I had Kennedy. And the battle for my heart began. I LOVE Kennedy. Obsessed. And I LOVE creating. Obsessed. But one had to be more important than the other. And though my my lips said it was Kennedy, my calendar and where I really spent my time showed it was my business. Gosh I am not not proud of that. I am not proud to say that for the first 2.5 years of Kennedy’s life and even into the first days and weeks of our second daughter, Esley’s, life, I put working on my business above pouring into these precious little girls.
My priorities fell apart. My marriage was on the brink of going under. My home was a mess… literally. And not once did I make time to sit and read God’s word and let it sink into my soul or light my path. My heart was hardened to the gift I had been given that I had desired for so long. You would think Jeremy would have
walked run away so fast from this mess I made. But bless his heart, he never stopped fighting the battle for putting our family first. He stepped out in faith last year and led me to make big changes. It wasn’t just one magic talk and we weren’t always nicely talking. There was yelling and resentment and periods of silence, but slowly I came to the realization that “making it happen” as a boss had become a big idol for me.
In the past six months I have been actively walking away from the hustle and learning to enjoy life just a little bit slower and with a lot of tea parties. I don’t have this balance thing all figured out to a tee at ALL, but in filling out those interviews I realized I needed to step into confidence for how I prioritize my roles. To accept that it is okay, no wonderful, that the #bosslady to my right is killing it in dollars earned while I am taking a step back. That doesn’t make me any less of a boss. It just means I am in a different season. One of working more for giggles and snuggles and that home of joy. And in case there is even one other mom out there who is struggling with the opposing pulls of entrepreneurship and stay-at-home-momship, I want to encourage you right where you are with what I’ve learned so far:
You are enough. You don’t need that extra dollar, that extra follower or that extra recognition to be validated of your worth.
It is okay to say no, a lot. Say no. Say it a million times before you say yes. Turn down any potential client, potential collaboration, potential opportunity for press or any potential work that gives you even the tiniest hint of not being a good fit. It is okay to spend that time instead eating sprinkled donuts and playing in the park!
Save your yes for the best. After a million no’s, rejoice when the best work comes your way and accept it with a resounding YES! There is sweet joy in creating work that lights you on fire.
It is okay if those yeses don’t equal six figures. Doing work that matters, that brings the most joy doesn’t always mean you will make it to the big leagues of money making. This doesn’t mean you aren’t a #bosslady. Money isn’t everything! In fact I know many women who are exclusively stay at home moms and are serious bosses. They just don’t earn dollars 😉
It is good and honorable to put your family and your home first. Be confident in your roles and hold your head high. You are doing good work, friend!
Let’s band together in encouragement for all the bosses. When your best biz gal pal earns that sixth figure, rejoice with her! When a fellow creative’s product launch is successfully profitable and she quickly grows in brand recognition, rejoice with her! Her success in business does not mean you are failing. Both journeys are beautifully being written.
If all else fails, there is wine. Some days you will not get anything done you really needed to in your business. Some days you will be covered in spit up and have to run to brush your teeth before your husband gets home at 5pm. Some days you will throw your hands up and accept that your kids are just not going to stop whining, will never use the big girl potty and will never sleep in their own bed. There is wine. There is always wine.
#mompreneur you are a gem. You matter. Your work matters. Your days of giggles and tears and my little pony matters. Your dreams matter.