Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Best And Worst Things About Life As A Mompreneur

"mompreneur"
/mom-pruh-nur/
noun (North American) slang

  • a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur (wikipedia.org)
  • a slang term describing women who run their own businesses while also acting as a full-time parent (investopedia.com)
  • a multi-tasking woman who can balance both the stresses of running a business as an entrepreneur, and the time-consuming duties of motherhood at the same time (themompreneur.com)
Yeah, that's fine, right? But what does it mean?

We talk about stay at home mothers a lot in our society, often with the general assumption that because they don't have to work outside their homes, stay at home moms have life easier than most other people. Many people think that stay home mom's lives are nothing but luxury and relaxation, mixed in with playtime with the kids, peaceful bubble baths alone, and quiet time spent not working. Often, these women are seen as lazy gold-diggers who just want to be supported because they can't fathom going to a "real" job.

It doesn't take much research to shut this idea down though - you have only to take a realistic look at what it truly means to be a stay home mom, always at the beck-and-call of your offspring and your home, which admittedly has a long list of both benefits and drawbacks.

  • Sure, you get to see to your child's raising personally, but you have to see to your child's raising, personally - and often without much help.
  • Yes, you get to see them all the time ... but you have to see them All. The. Time. - and often without any real breaks.
  • Yes, you get to lay around if you want to and you won't get fired - technically - but you still pay a sacrifice in the lost income, sense of daily accomplishment, and often, your confidence in yourself.
Stay at home moms don't go to an office job everyday, that's true, and they don't earn a paycheck with their name on it. But they're still working hard at something almost every day just like anyone else, and they're still making sacrifices that allow them to live the life they want just like everyone else. Still, there is a somewhat general agreement among stay-home moms that this is the very epitome of self-sacrifice, and that it is always a worthy achievement in the end.

But then there's the polar opposite, right? The working mom. The career mom. The mom who gets up every day just in time to wake her child and send him to school, then comes home each night just in time to check his homework, stuff him with dinner, and send him to bed. Some people think these moms are taking an easier route in not being at home, that they somehow have abandoned their children to the world of daycare and babysitters. We look down on working moms as career-driven and cash-obsessed.

But again, it only takes a bit of research to silence this argument - most work at home moms are doing it because they feel that for one reason or another, they have to. Sometimes this is because they're single moms and it's the only way they have to support their kids. Some do it because in our modern society, one income is often not enough to live on, and the mother has to work to help her husband/partner support the household. Sometimes, they just do it because it feels good to earn your own money and know that you're contributing in that way.

There's another kind of mom though, right in the middle of that spectrum. The mompreneur, the work-at-home mom. The one who works right there out of her home so that she can taste the best (and the worst) of both worlds. The mompreneur juggles both business and household (similar to the working mom) but does it on her own time, with no "boss" to work under (similar to the stay-home mom).

But just like the life of a stay-home mom and the life of a working mom, it's a delicate balance, a juggling act, an overwhelming list of never-ending and always-cycling responsibility ... a miracle of self-discipline and determination. So today, I thought I'd share a few of the best - and worst - parts of life as a mompreneur.

The Good:
01.) "Working from bed. In pajamas. Or naked. Whatever." Being your own boss means there's no uniform. There's no one to tell you you can't wear those yoga pants - or that you have to wear pants at all. Which I personally find to be lovely - although I'm pretty strict so I do almost always make myself wear pants to work. Despite this bit of discipline, I still generally think I'm a great boss, so that's always good.

02.) "You can drink on the job." It's a joke among many of the authors I know that we live on coffee, but there is one other substance that we all seem to generally appreciate, and that's alcohol - usually in the form of a nice glass of wine. It helps us relax our minds so that we can exercise our creativity. It helps us deal when we have to kill a character we love, it helps us feel more strongly as we try to evoke emotion in our readers, and it helps to lower our inhibitions so that maybe we can finally write scenes some of us would never actually have the courage or desire to live out.

03.) "You make your own schedule." This is a great thing, because as a mompreneur, you don't live in fear of losing your job because you got snowed in and couldn't leave the house, or because your kid got sick and had to come home early from school, or because your dog ate a sock and had to have emergency surgery. Vacation time doesn't need to be pre-approved, mental health days are easy to come by, as you can work as little or as much as you want - while working around the burdens and responsibilities of your family/home life.

04.) "You still get the confidence boost of a career-driven, self-sufficient earner of an independent income." There's nothing like an income of your own, regardless of how large or small it is. It just feels good to make your own money, to feel like you've accomplished something at the end of the day. It feels good to find your niche, to find your people - and to feel appreciated in whatever field you've chosen to work in. This sense of being appreciated and respected is often sorely lacking in the life of a stay home mom, so it's great to have as a mompreneur.

05.) "You still get to see your kids every day, know where they are and what they're doing, and experience the benefits and beautiful perks of life as a stay-at-home mom." Most nights, my kids eat because I cooked for them. They wear clean clothes because I have time to wash them. And yes, sometimes I do spend an afternoon just relaxing with my kids, playing around. Other times, I do take time to myself, and I spend that time in a long bath. Why? Because now that my kids are twelve and seven (and mostly, because they go to school and aren't home), I can finally do that, and after years of only wishing that I had time for that, I appreciate that development more deeply than words can express.

***

The Bad:
01.) "Working from bed. In pajamas. Or naked. Whatever." Being your own boss means that no one is there to make you get up and get dressed, or work at a desk, or brush your hair. As a writer who almost always works from directly inside the home, this is not always helpful. If I don't feel like wearing pants, I don't have to. However, I can testify personally to how much more productive I am if I get up and get dressed, brush my hair and teeth, and throw on some lipstick ... before going back to bed to write.

02.) "You can drink on the job." There's a reason most workplaces don't allow you to drink on the job. It's because it makes you loosen up, it makes you a little uninhibited, and sometimes, it makes you just a little (or a lot) cocky. You start thinking crazy things like, "I can do that tomorrow," and "It doesn't matter right now," and "It's okay if I write a blog post the whole world might see, bashing my readers/customers/followers." Sometimes drinking on the job can lead to you not doing your job as well as you could have.

03.) "You make your own schedule." This is a terrible thing, because as a mompreneur, you don't live in fear of losing your job if you don't show up. Who's going to know anyway, right? There's no boss, and it's easy to get lost in that sense of freedom - until your lack of work ethic shows up in your lack of income. For some mompreneurs, that's okay because their income isn't necessarily necessary for supporting the household - but for most of us, the loss of that income represents the loss of other important things like gas and food and electricity. Discipline is key in this, but for many people, this is a skill that takes a lot of practice to acquire.

04.) "You still get the downcast eyes and sense of mom-failure that often comes along with working away from your children." As a work-from-home mom, you're still a working mom, and if you want your business to succeed, that means treating your work-at-home job just like any other job. That means giving it a place of priority, and sometimes that means telling your kids that you can't spend the afternoon at the park today because you really, really need to meet this deadline. Sometimes it means missing karate practice because you have a meeting you can't reschedule, and sometimes it means having other people look down on you because you showed up to karate practice so that you could watch your kid succeed - but you brought your work with you so that you could succeed, too.

05.) "You still get the downcast eyes and sense of mom-failure that often comes from not having a 'real job.'" Starting and building a business is hard, and it often takes more time than you expected it to. Many mompreneurs joke that their business-babies took much longer to gestate than their actual human-babies. It takes time and effort, it takes grit and determination, it eats money, and sometimes it takes a strong mix of heartache. In the meantime, you're only working from home, so most people still think you're at their disposal. They'll call when you need to be working, and get upset when you don't answer. They'll expect you blow off your work to meet their time/emotional/whatever needs, and then look down on you when your income doesn't pick up faster. They'll downright insult and discourage you over spending the time it takes to grow a business. They assume you're doing nothing all day, and they don't see how emotionally and physically exhausting it can be to simply sit down and keep trying.

***

What a list, right? But in the end, it truly is all worth it. There is a sense of satisfaction at the end of a successful day, and a sense of meaning in every single action - especially if you can find a balance between the good side of life as a mompreneur, and the bad. The thing is, we all know that balance may be hard to achieve, but the truth of the matter is that balance is a hard thing to find regardless of what you're doing in life - because in the end, no matter what path you choose to walk in life, you're still just a clown, juggling countless balls and hoping like hell that you don't drop any.

Sometimes we all feel like we've dropped one ball or another, and that's okay. You forget an appointment, you didn't check your oil before that trip. You missed a meeting - or a deadline.

Now and then you might even feel like you drop every ball no matter hard hard you're trying, and other times you need to step back and let them fall because you just can't juggle them for One. More. Second. And that's okay. Let them fall, recharge your soul. Take a mental health day and a bubble bath. Give yourself compassion and forgive yourself for being human. Then get out, towel off, finish your wine, and gather those balls back up again so that you can keep going. Like a Boss.

Until next week,
Happy Reading,
B.

38 comments:

  1. I'm a single mom, work full time during the day and trying to build my business on the side. My kid is a teen and almost ready to go to college. So, I'm a little behind doing this, but I actually can't wait!

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    1. You'll love it! It does have its downsides (obviously - what doesn't?), but it's definitely worth the effort!

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  2. Haha this made me laugh. Spot on aswell. Love the working from your bed in pjs or nothing part do true!!

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  3. I don't have kids yet, but I am a stay at home wife and I'm trying to turn my blog into a success as well! We also live very healthfully, so I make everything (I mean pretty much everything! hehe) from scratch! It does all take time!

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    1. For sure! Wait 'til y'all have kids - you'll be surprised to see how much time you spend just getting them stuff, getting them to do stuff, getting them to STOP doing stuff. Making them stuff to eat, laundry ... Momlife is Busylife!

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  4. I am not a mom, but I see how my coworkers struggle with balancing work and home life. There's so much pressure from both internal and external sources that I think it must be a constant challenge.

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    1. It's definitely a struggle - I think the worst part is that we live in a world where no matter WHAT you do, someone is going to be judging you for it. And we take it in - we get so used to judging and being judged that we even judge ourselves!

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  5. This made me laugh because I am definitely guilty of a few! Love working in pajamas though lol.

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    1. Me too, for sure. Glad you liked the post!

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  6. As someone who works from home, I couldn't agree more about working in pajamas. I think that is my favorite thing!

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    1. Mine too! I love that I can be comfortable, and I don't have to waste time primping and preening to go to work outside the home - I like that I can use that time productively instead.

      Then again, sometimes I think with envy about people who DO get to primp and preen everyday - WITHOUT feeling like it's a waste of time and product.

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  7. Working in pajamas is all I want. I just want to make money while in my pjs with my cat, thankyouverymuch.

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    1. Yep! Except for me, it's a dog. He makes such a spectacular foot blanket!

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  8. I'm a full-time college student (from home - I'm doing it online) and also a blogger/freelance writer. I can so relate to this post, even though I don't have kids yet. Bookmarking this!

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  9. this is so true! While I love being home with my kids, I miss adult interaction outside of the home at the same time!

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    1. Me too! Sometimes I actually miss needing to get up and get dressed, makeup and all that jazz. I don't need any of that just for staying home, and I don't see the need to buy products often since I literally have nowhere to wear them, lol!

      But hey, it saves money on mascara, huh? That stuff gets expensive!

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  10. This is SO true. It's a catch 22, but I love every minute of it!

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  11. I tottaly agree, my Mom was 'stay at home Mom' with my brother and I saw how hard it was for her to keep everything together. Really appreciate that!

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    1. I'm glad to see that! Lots of kids (including mine) don't always appreciate what it means to have a parent handy at all times. Tell your mom that you appreciate what she did - she'll love it!

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  12. What a great post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing..And I totally agree with you POV

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  13. I love how you describe both the negatives and positives and essentially they are the same... which is absolutely true. And the fact that you get to spend all.the.time with the kids. lol

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    1. Each point definitely has its good and bad side - it was fun putting this post together and thinking about each side of the proverbial coin as I went along.

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  14. I'm not a mom but I'm trying to turn my blog into success. I definitely relate to this post!

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  15. Being a mompreneur is a hard task that needs balancing of being a good worker and a caring mother. There is a bad side of it but there is more of the best part of staying at home where you get to see your children all the time.

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    1. I totally agree! Some days are better than others, but this "Motherhood" thing? I'm not trading it in anytime soon - my babes are my world.

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  16. I guess at the end of the day you just have to do what makes you happy and is best for your family. Unfortunately there are people that will judge you whether you are a stay at home mom, a working mom, or a mompreneur so just do what you like.

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  17. I think in the end, we're all just working for our kids and ourselves and that's enough reason to pick whichever you're comfy in. Whether you're a work at home mom or not. I'm getting tired of being judged either way as I tried both working in an office and at home. And at this point, I don't care anymore what others think.

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    1. It took me a long time to get to that point actually - where I can say with no shame what I want my life to look like. Some people will approve and others will not, and I okay with that. After all, my face is the only one I have to stare at every day in the mirror, you know? It's ME that I have to be able to live with.

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  18. Mompreneurs are on the rise. Maybe it’s the economic crisis, maybe it’s just that moms realize that it’s a good life style to run your own business while raising your kids, the fact is that there are more and more of us.

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    1. I agree, and I love it. Makes me wonder what our country (and the world) would look like if more jobs had on-site daycare, though. You know?

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  19. This is a funny and well written post. I'm definitely guilty of writing naked while drinking a glass of sweet white wine. I think I like the idea of getting dressed and slapping some lipstick before going back to bed to work.

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    1. Not me - if I'm up and dressed, I want to go somewhere ELSE to work! When I'm dressed up, I want to work at a coffee shop or something like that, where I'm out and about. But in bed? Nah - if I'm dressed at all, I'm at least gonna be comfortable.

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