- Win $100 in prizes!
The Joys and
Concerns of Entreprenurial Parenting
I contemplated starting
a business for a number of years. The lure of extra money and
the fulfillment of "working for pay" was tempting.
Let's face it, being a mother-at-home is wonderful but the financial
sacrifice slaps many of us in the face each time we sit down
to pay the bills!
by Ann Allen
I am writing this as my
three year old is watching a video -- a brief reprieve for me. I know that this assignment,
like all of my work, will be completed in dozens of fifteen minute
increments. I've put in a full day and it is only 9:30 am. I
took my older children to school, dropped off a donation at the
Goodwill, returned a business call, cut up an apple for my preschooler,
started my nine hundredth load of laundry, did a bit of web work,
answered some e-mail, began writing some ideas down, took my
youngest to the potty.
I live in a fragmented
world. Multi-tasking has taken on new meaning. I live by the
lesser woman would be dead." --
and I mean it!
I came to the world of "Entreprenurial Parenthood" reluctantly. I left an unfulfilling
job to stay at home over nine years ago. I intended to spend
only about six months with my daughter full time, but I knew
that I would have to love what I was doing in order to put my
child in the care of someone else.
I never understood when people
would talk about their passion for work or finding their niche.
Being a mother-at-home provided me the passion I had been missing...and
I was slowly realizing that this might be as close to a niche
as I was going to get! It has been a challenging roller coaster
ride that has provided me with more personal growth than ever
before. Still the question of "what do I want to be when
I grow up?" lingered in the back of my mind.
I contemplated starting a business
for a number of years. The lure of extra money and the fulfillment
of "working for pay" was tempting. Let's face it, being
a mother-at-home is wonderful but the financial sacrifice slaps
many of us in the face each time we sit down to pay the bills.
Five years ago, I put together
a concept and a plan for an in-home business. I researched it
completely and then I dismissed it as an overwhelming idea. With
two preschool age children, I felt I wasn't cut out for the balancing
act of business owner/mother.
I didn't think about a business
opportunity again until October of 1997. I had been playing around
with web pages, drawing and writing as a hobby. Out of the blue
I was asked to design a t-shirt for a women's group. Their response
to the finished product was overwhelming. I was so encouraged
by the positive comments that I decided to try to market this
design to the general public. I took some shirts to a local art
fair where I sold most of them! With that Wearable Mamas was born!
Today I have plans to add more
designs to my product line as well as notecards, and I also do
freelance graphic design when I can.
One of the greatest challenges
of having an in-home business is carving out the time to paint,
draw, write and create web pages. I have become an adept juggler,
stealing moments to accomplish bits and pieces of the larger
puzzle. My creativity comes alive at night --
and since I no longer have night-wakers I can go to bed later
and still get a good night's rest. I have also learned that the
work that I do is quite compatible to raising children. My girls
often inspire me with their artwork and creative ideas. I feel
fortunate to have a supportive spouse who is finding his creativity
as well. Having an in-home business is more of a lifestyle than
a job. If you don't have a supportive family, it will be an uphill
Another struggle is being able
to maintain mindfulness with my children when we are together.
To put the business "to do" list on the shelf can be
challenging. I continue to develop ways to put my work into perspective
so that I can grow this business without having it consume my
life. There are times of the day that I let the machine pick
up the phone. When my school-age children come home I love to
be able to sit with them and talk about their day. These are
golden moments and I cherish them. My kids are still my primary
"job" -- growing them is truly the most important
work that I will ever do.
The combination of mother and
business owner isn't for everyone. For me, however, it is a wonderful
blend of inspiration, challenge and soul food that I have never
found anywhere else.
- Ann Allen is the owner of Wearable
Mamas, featuring wearable art, cards and mirrors. You
can reach her via e-mail, [email protected],
her web site, http://www.lollygag.com/mamas
, phone (507) 288-4161 or her address, 2916 15 Ave. NW, Rochester,