First and foremost, this is a blog post to encourage mothers……all mothers. Working mothers. Stay at home mothers. Part time working mothers. Let’s build each other up ladies. There is just no time for judgement and criticism from other moms whose journeys are different than ours. Aren’t we all trying to do the very best we can? Grace, grace, grace….
So with that being said……
Right after I started my painting business 12 years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I continued to paint every day until I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant and then begged my sister in law to come help me before my belly exploded or I got hurt….one of the two. That sister in law has been painting for me now for almost 12 years. I am blessed beyond measure for her loyalty!
In the beginning, I painted with her a few hours every week. But, then we got busier and busier and I just kept getting pregnant. So, I have hired more women over the years and currently have 3 women who paint for me every day.
Because I have almost always had people working for/with me, I have…. at no planning or doing of my own…. been able to set up my business in such a way that I would do all of the appointments, all of the samples, all of the bids, order the supplies, deliver the supplies and ladders, deal with the customers and the girls would be the ones at our job sites all day every day….. painting their little hearts out.
It’s been the American dream and yet it’s been emotionally depleting all at the same time. The pressure of being a business owner in today’s world means you have to be up on trends and up on marketing and up on taxes and up on insurance and up on new products. And it’s OVERWHELMING. It.just.never.ends.
It has been REALLLLLLY important to me to have my kids home with me as much as we can until they go to elementary school. We have made many sacrifices to keep our kids out of childcare. By the grace of God, we have only had to put each of our kids in a Mom’s Day Out for no more than 12-15 hours a week. They have been with me the rest of the time.
People always ask me….how do you do that?? Well, the first year of each of their little lives, the kids would just go to job sites and appointments and paint stores with me. They were still little enough to be contained in their car seats, so it was never an issue. After they were mobile and talking, we began each of our kids in the Mom’s Day Out program at a nearby church.
Eventually each of our kids went to preschool for 12-15 hours a week. But the rest of the time, they were home with me…..and often….”home with me” means… home with mom and mom is working.
There have been few things I have found as challenging as running a business while trying to be a good mom. A “present” mom. An attentive mom. An involved mom. My heart is first and foremost….. fiercely committed to my husband and children. And yet, God has given me a talent, a way to make income and a passion for painting. In a perfect world, money would grow on trees and I would paint for free for the people I love. But until that day comes, I will have to work just a little.
I had no business plan by which to set up The Magic Brush. I have just day-by-day, for 12 years, juggled the hats of “mommy” and “business owner”. And somehow, God keeps blessing it.
I KNOW in my knower there are more business owning moms like me out there. And I am writing this for someone in particular today. I don’t know who she is…but I hope it blesses her.
So……To the mom who is emailing and faxing and returning phone calls right up to the very last second until the school bus pulls down the street to a stop….. I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who has been present for every.single.one of her kid’s field trips and school parties, but has found herself working on Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving evening and days the “rest of the world seems to be off”…..I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who clears her work calendar and prays her clients understand whenever there is a sick kiddo at home…. I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who knows that when people hear she is working from home they assume she is napping and watching daytime tv and working on Pinterest projects. Ha! I know better. I know you and I have been there.
To the mom whose friends tell her to stop working so much, turn off the computer after dinner at night, quit taking phone calls…..I understand that if you do that, you will be even further behind tomorrow. I see you nodding your head in agreement to those people and yet deep inside you are knowing that you just.dont.know.how.to.turn.it.off. I know you and I have been there.
To the mom who is cooking dinner, quizzing her grade schooler on spelling words and texting work instructions to her employees for the next day all at the same time….I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who makes sure she is home every day to get the kids on the bus and to get the kids off the bus…..I know your workday rushes by. You are trying to get done in 6 hours what most people do in 9 hours. I know you don’t stop for lunch. I know you find yourself running and running and running out of control. I know you…..I have been there.
To the mom who is so used to multitasking that she can no longer watch a movie without knitting or sorting pictures or painting her nails…..I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who looks at her 9-5 friends and is envious of their PDO’s but wouldn’t trade her business for a desk job for anything in the world. I know you. I have been there.
To the momma who can’t believe her toddler just fell asleep in the backseat with only one more work errand to run…..I know you. I have been there.
To the mom who asks her kids to go to the paint store with her and dulls the complaints by a promise to get them a Sonic Slushee….I know you. I have been there.
We are a breed of our own. Trying to work. Trying to raise our babies. Trying to be the best at both and feeling like we are cheating, failing, giving less than 100% to either one at either given time. I know you. I have lived here for almost 12 years.
Surely, I could have put away that bid. I could have delayed that sample board. I could have silenced that client call. And yet I didn’t. Because when you are self employed you understand that if you don’t work….you don’t eat. It’s that simple. And most people just can’t relate to that….and that’s ok.
But I get it business-owner momma. I am still living it. And I applaud you!
In my heart of hearts, I believe the Lord has seen me trying to juggle it all. And He sees you too. And He sees the desires of each of our Momma hearts. And He sees the sacrifices and the hair that has gone unwashed for 3 days and the “driving like a maniac to pull in so we are waiting at the door when my babies get off the bus each day”.
He sees our conflictions and our convictions and our feeble attempts to make it all work. And He honors that. I believe it.