A while ago I was in a Facebook Group, and someone posted, “Do you consider yourself a mompreneur? Why or why not?” And immediately the hair stood up on the back of my neck.
I just get so bristled at that term mompreneur. And I’m not really sure why to be honest. Because if you look in the dictionary, and, this term hasn’t been around that long, a mompreneur is simply a mom, who runs a business from home while full time taking care of her children. So technically, by that definition, I sort of am a mompreneur.
But my husband also is 50% owner in our company, he works from home, and he takes care of our children. And no one has ever asked him if he’s a dadpreneur. This term bothers, because at the end of the day: I am a business owner. I am a CEO that happens to have kids, I’m also a mom. But I am not a mompreneur.
And so stepping into that role of CEO, or business owner who also happens to be a mom, here were a few things, I had to get right in my head to make that transition:
Learn How to Say No
Now this is one that was really hard for me to learn, though I feel like I’ve mastered it at this point. I teach this a lot – is the art of saying yes and being okay saying no. So when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.
For instance, if I said yes to a nighttime networking event, I was saying no to bedtime with my girls. Sometimes that networking event made the most sense, and I needed to miss bedtime. But I had to understand that by saying yes to something I was saying no to something else.
When my children were little, most of my friends were stay at home moms. And that was incredible for me, because I was able to create this village that was so helpful to me, they would take my kids for playdates, and we would then take their kids, sometimes on the weekends for them to go on date nights. It was a great back and forth. But I had to be okay saying no to a playdate that involved me also coming.
Or when all of my girlfriends were getting together for coffee in the morning and I had to do meetings instead. It was hard in the beginning to say no, but I had to understand that I was a business owner, who also had kids.
I couldn’t be the stay at home mom, and also create a business that was successful enough to sustain as many incomes or as much revenue as we needed it to sustain. I feel like that was a really difficult thing for me. But looking back, I’m so glad that I did. Because it really helped us to grow much, much faster.
It’s Okay Just Being Okay
Oh, friends, this one was hard. Because I am an event planner by trade there were a lot of expectations on me when it would come to class parties, birthday parties, or anything you would take to school. People often would think that because I could design incredibly gorgeous weddings that anytime there was a class party that I would want to jump right in and design the whole party. Or I would have the best costumes for my girls when it was like crazy hat day.
It was always interesting to me when the girl’s friends would say things like, “Oh, gosh I’m so afraid for you to come to Mackenzie’s birthday party because you’re gonna judge it.” And I’m like, okay, timeout. I plan weddings. Very elaborate over the top weddings.
I actually am a terrible birthday party planner. I don’t enjoy planning birthday parties or class parties. I’m not good at it. I am terrible with anything DIY or crafty. I had to understand it was okay letting go of that expectation or failing at the expectations others put on me.
I also had to be okay with things like signing up for CapriSuns for the class party, right? I’d love to make those adorable cupcakes you see on Pinterest with the candy corn noses and the M&M eyes. But I knew my schedule did not allow that. I also knew it wouldn’t have been worth it. I would have been so stressed with my girls trying to create them that it wouldn’t have been fun.
So I was okay being the mom that brought the CapriSuns or the prepackaged candy. When that sign up came out, I was always the very first person to sign up because I wanted to make sure I got napkins.Tell me how many napkins you need. I’ll bring as many as you want!
My girls are so okay with it! I put the pressure on myself to think they wanted adorable snacks. But you know what? They didn’t need that. They needed me to be sane and happy so I could create a welcoming and inviting home for them. They don’t need me to be stressed by the pressures the outside world is putting on our family. And they certainly don’t need me to put those pressures on myself because they weren’t doing it to me my kids never cared.
Set a Schedule for Your Work Time
I know you’ve heard the term naptime warriors, right? Or you’ve heard that you work once the kids go to bed. But I found it interesting that my girls love seeing my husband and I work. While there has to be boundaries, I also think they should see the hard work we’re putting in to build our dream. To build something that gives our family the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime we want to.
As my kids have gotten older, that’s gotten a little bit easier. But when they were little, I would say things to them, like, “Mommy’s gonna work until two o’clock. And until two o’clock, I need you to play with your sister, and to do things on your own and to be safe. And once two o’clock hits we’re going to go to the park, or we’re going to go get ice cream, or we’re going to go shopping, or we’re going to go on a playdate.”
When my kids were little, I needed them to understand I needed work time. And work time couldn’t revolve around their sleep schedule. I couldn’t only work during the hour and a half nap. I couldn’t only work once they went to bed. Because then when they woke up the next morning, I was fried, exhausted, and with a short fuse.
Now, I learned this the hard way. But thankfully, I learned it fairly early on. Setting those boundaries for our girls to understand what was work time versus play time. As our girls have gotten older, it’s been easier to be able to share this with them. On days where they have something really fun, like a field trip or a class party, I put that into my workday, I block that into my time.
It’s been fun for our girls to see we are working hard towards our dreams. The reason we have so many of the things we have, like staycations and trips, is because my husband and I work hard at our business. And that’s a valuable lesson for our girls to be able to learn.
Lean in to What’s Most Important to Your Kids
Here’s something I’ve focused a lot of my efforts on: leaning in to what really matters to my kids.
For us, ever since our girls were tiny it’s been a really sacred time where it’s quiet in our house. We talk about their day, we read the Bible, we read bedtime stories. It’s a really special time for us and matters to our family. So if at all possible, I do not miss bedtime. I may work a longer workday, because I have a lunchtime networking event. Then work in the studio to catch up from the event. But I’ll be home for bedtime. And if there is a nighttime networking event, I have to decide if it’s worth it.
Another thing our girls care about, is one on one dates. Because we have three kids of the same gender, they tend to do a lot of the same things together. So setting aside time for one on one dates with our girls is important. And that they get to plan those! For our youngest, she loves going to the bookstore. So we like to set aside time to do that with her. For our middle daughter, she really loves to bake from scratch. So I like to set aside time where I purposefully put my attention towards a recipe with her. We think about it, we talk about what we’re going to bake, we make sure we have all the ingredients ahead of time.
The reason I say that is because you will feel the pressure to be all the things. To all the kids, to all the room moms, to your husband, to your parents, and to your friends. But especially for our kids, if you really focus on what matters to them, you will feel less overwhelmed and more fulfilled. This may not be for everyone. But I’ve stayed sane by letting my girls know I have dedicated work time and dedicated time with them individually too..
That does not mean that I never do things on a whim. But it does mean that my girls know that for me to really be present at what we’re doing I do like to schedule those times with them
Choose a Title You Feel Comfortable and Lean Into That Too!
I hope it’s helped you to feel excited about deciding who you are, whether that’s a mompreneur, entrepreneur, business owner, or CEO. You want to relate with whatever title it is for you. That’s exciting, and it’s yours to own. And so don’t let anyone else decide or tell you what it’s going to be for you. But I do think creating a title for yourself and leaning into it will really help you put your priorities in the place to reach your biggest goals.
I help creative business owners sustainably scale their business so they can create a thriving career and work-life balance.
small biz coach
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