Becoming a mother changes you.
It just does. Whether it's the jeans that used to fit that remain folded in the back of your closet, or the tears that now roll down your cheeks while watching Cottonelle commercials: you're different after you become a mother.
For some, the change is drastic. Others barely notice the shift - but it's there.
One area where many moms I've spoken with over the last few years have felt this change is in the workplace. After they have children, as cliche as it sounds, their priorities tend to change. Their interests change. Jobs that used to inspire and invigorate them and keep them at the office for 12 hours a day no longer feel exciting (and are often no longer even feasible.) These women still crave a career, but they also crave something else: freedom and flexibility.
They want to find a way to still feel fulfilled, still make money, and still see their children.
So I decided to interview a few of the amazing mom friends in my life who are doing something different. These women are trailblazers who think (and work) outside of the box! I asked them to share their stories and words of wisdom with me.
While on maternity leave with her daughter, my fashion savvy friend Teresa noticed there was a void in the baby marketplace: luxury lunch bags. Teresa is an on-the-go fashionable mama, who found herself looking for stylish insulated lunch bags for her daughter's baby food. There weren't any. So, with a strong vision and a lot of hard work, Teresa made it happen and Modern Mary was born.
Modern Mary's clutches are insulated designer lunch bags that come in a variety of colours, and they are made from genuine leather. When Teresa sent me one to sample, I was blown away (This thing is nicer than my best purse!) In fact - I used it as a purse on a date night out with my husband. (Shhh! Don't tell Teresa. Fashion faux pas!) But seriously, it's that nice!
When I asked Teresa about starting her own business she said, "Starting a small business is not easy. There were many points when I wondered, "Did I do the right thing?" But I'm a hard worker, I'm loyal, I'm positive, and I'm a fighter. I knew if I was working for someone else I would use these attributes to bring their company success, so instead I chose to use these qualities to bring myself success."
Writer & Creator, MagneTree Books
I met Josie in an online birth club. When she shared her creative idea for a children's book - I nearly jumped out of my skin I was so excited! MagenTree books are personalized magnetic (!!!) books for children that allows them to incorporate magnetic images of their own family members into the story. It's interactive, imaginative, and oh-so-fun! You can pre-order a copy and support Josie in this endeavor by checking out the Kickstarter campaign here.
When I asked Josie what advice she'd give other mom's looking to do something different, she said, "Take the plunge! You never know until you try. I was stuck in a job that I hated and blamed it on all kinds of things, but when it came down to it, it was because I was pouring my heart and soul into something that I had no creative ownership over. I looked at my mat leave as a chance to "make it" in the world - and quickly realized MagneTree was what I wanted to do... I don't have any advantages or connections, but I have an incredibly supportive business partner and family. Becoming a Mom has taught me that I can accomplish anything!"
My younger cousin Sarah is an incredible single Mom who is doing a fantastic job raising two young girls on her own. When she was researching career options, she wanted something that would fit her lifestyle and allow her to be the hands-on Mom that she wanted to be. So, she decided to open a daycare in her home!
I asked Sarah what she loves the most, "I love being there before and after school to pick up my kids (now that they're of school age - before, they were home with me and the daycare crew!) I love seeing their excited faces as soon as they come home from school!"
When I asked her what advice she'd give someone interested in starting a home daycare she said, "Do your research first. Would you want to do it on your own? Or through a company (like Wee Watch - which is the company I use.) When you go through a company, you don't have to look after all the legal work that comes along with a home daycare... Also, make sure having a daycare is the right job for you. Having kids all day in your home might be a little stressful, so make sure you're ready to cope with all of that. It's fun, rewarding, and I love it. I take pride in watching all these kids grow up and having a part of it. It feels amazing!"
Writer, Editor, Communications Consultant
Another friend of mine who has a pretty sweet set-up, is a former YMC blogger, Hailey Eisen. Hailey has two young kids, works from home, and seems to juggle it all - with such grace. She used to have a full-time editorial job, which she loved, but she quickly realized she was more productive and happier when she had the flexibility to work on her own time. Her creativity flourished, and she wasn't restricted to the 9-5 cubicle setting.
"Once I started having kids, the value of working for myself became even more evident. While I didn't ever take a 'mat leave' and worked on and off throughout their first years, I was able to spend more time with them when they were little and get work done whenever I could."
When I asked Hailey what advice she'd give to other mom's who are looking at a freelance/work from home career path, she said , "...You need to learn to embrace the chaos and accept that you'll be multi-tasking a lot. Sometimes I'm in line at the grocery store answering work emails. Sometimes I'm finishing assignments while my kids play in the backround...If you want to be successful, you'll need to have childcare/help in place. It's impossible to do it all."
Arbonne Regional Vice President & Independent Consultant
As you can see, there are many ways around the 9-5: and these amazing women have all found unique ways that work for them. It's not easy being a mother who also desires a career, but it's possible to find alternatives. So now I'll ask you two questions:
What do you want your life to look like? And how are you going to make it happen?