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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!

© 1998, 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 motto "A 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 battle.

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, , her web site, http://www.lollygag.com/mamas , phone (507) 288-4161 or her address, 2916 15 Ave. NW, Rochester, MN. 55901.

 
 
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