How Being an Entrepreneur Saved Me

April 04, 2019

Picture of Jessica, co-founder of unique toddler clothing brand Worthy Threads, holding her baby

As a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) turned Work At Home Mom (WAHM), I can confidently say that I haven’t gotten a good handle on balancing work and home life. There are days dinner is from the microwave or carry out or, my personal favorite, breakfast for dinner. Regardless of where our next meal comes from, I feel fortunate that we know it’s coming. Keeping my kids safe, fed, clothed and out of trouble is obviously my number one priority. I know I am not alone in saying, we are most likely going to screw them’s just a matter of how.

Running a business out of my house is really great in some ways. I can almost always pick my kids up from school. I can schedule calls around nap time and I can work at a moment’s notice. On paper, I basically have it all. But we all know that’s not true. There are also some very clear negatives. If my kids happen to be awake when I am on a call, no amount of bribery seems to stop them from talking to me. I never turn off from work mode or mom mode and if either of my kids are home (my son is only not home 9 hours a week), I want them to feel like I am fully present. And to be honest, I’m usually not. There are always a million things on my mind, and I feel like I am constantly being pulled in a million different directions. All of this and more brings up a lot of feelings of major guilt.

Guilt ranging from the minor things, like I forgot to dress my son for school spirit week on Monday, to much larger ones. Ones that have kept me up at night. Like the fact that I wasn’t completely content and fulfilled being a SAHM. Don’t get me wrong, I love school pick up and drop off. I love knowing what the “caca song” is (and all the other things they make up). And I love snuggling with them when they don’t feel well in the middle of the day. But to be completely honest, I needed more. While there is a small judgmental voice in my head questioning why this wasn’t enough for me, there is a much louder, more stressed but happier voice trying to grow my business and raise my family.

It was my decision to stay at home with my kids. I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where I could choose not to go back to work if that is what I wanted. I will never take that for granted, but after 3.5 years of strictly working for my kids, I felt like something was missing in my life. I attribute some of my initial antsiness to postpartum depression, which I experienced with both children. During that time, I blamed Baltimore, my family, and my friends. Everything and everyone was disappointing me. As the months went on and my postpartum subsided, I got some more clarity. I needed more stimulation. I needed to use a part of my brain that wasn’t being exercised at baby gym or music classes. To be honest, I was depressed. Being a SAHM mom can be very lonely.

I found myself completely wrapped up in drama that I didn’t even care about out of boredom. I was starting pointless arguments with my husband. I felt like he didn’t appreciate all the work I was doing to raise our family while he was at work. He didn’t know how many websites I looked at before I chose a recipe for dinner. He didn’t know how many potatoes I peeled, how many onions I chopped or how many stores I went to in order to stock up on the ingredients for dinner that night. All he knew was dinner was on the table and he was happy about that. He also didn’t know that I did all of this with a cranky toddler and a hungry baby who didn’t care about, or understand, my own feelings and insecurities. Whether my need for something more came from depression or boredom, I am truly grateful I recognized this need.

After much soul searching, therapy, partnering with Lily and figuring out the logistics to launch Worthy Threads, I felt happier and more fulfilled. While being an entrepreneur is voluntarily jumping onto a roller coaster of emotions with no seatbelt. There are days when I couldn’t feel prouder of myself. But those days are quickly contrasted by others where I feel like I have failed as a mother, wife and business owner/partner.

For me, there are no clear boundaries between my home life and my work life. I don’t ever leave work and go home and vice versa. I never shut down. While I hope Worthy Threads grows enough to require an outside office one day, this is what works for us right now. Being available for my children and husband is my top priority, but being personally fulfilled is a priority as well.  I am someone who needs to constantly be moving. For me, boredom drives depression. While my long list of to do’s is never ending, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a happier person being an entrepreneur and being a happier person helps me be a better wife and mother. 

My children are always watching me. While I am not always proud of my often inability to control my entrepreneurial/maternal emotions, I know that they are seeing me try. They see me try something new every day with the possibility that I may fail. Most importantly, they are watching me try to make my dreams come true. From marketing, to design to manufacturing, Lily and I are self-taught in any way you shape it. Every day we are chipping away at a new skill we have taught ourselves. We are building something brick by brick and that takes time. I feel proud knowing my children are learning and growing along with me.

Don’t get me wrong though, it's not a walk in the park - pretty much every day doesn't have enough waking hours. My to do list will never be finished. Between school pick ups, naps, after school activities, making breakfast, lunch and dinner,  someone or something inevitably gets the short end of the stick. But a WAHM’s work is never done anyways. No parent or entrepreneur ever wakes up with a completed to do list and that’s OK. You have to embrace the chaos a little.

While there will always be more to do, I have compiled a list of “hacks” to help make being a WAHM a little easier for you.

1. Amazon, specifically Amazon Prime and their monthly subscriptions.

They have made it easier than ever to cut out many mundane errands. Running out of diapers or detergent are two things that really don’t have to happen anymore.

2. Meal Delivery Services

I’m not talking about Hello Fresh or Blue Apron or others where you still have to prep, cook and clean up after but actual meals delivered to your door. Lily swears by Galley Foods. Everything comes ready to be heated up and dinner is ready when you are! Some other options of fully cooked delivery services (that I haven’t tried) are: Freshly & The Good Kitchen. For those who are very health conscious, Sakara is loved by many celebs and influencers.

3. Airpods 

I always need more hands, so these allow for me to have at least 2 free.

4. Slow Cooker

Finding great slow cooker recipes are a must in my house. Skinnytaste has some really good ones.

5. Babysitters

There are going to be times when you need to get a lot of work done, make sure you have someone you can call to step in for you.

6. Hire a Housekeeper

While this one may feel indulgent, it’s really crucial to me. Mess stresses me out. There is no way I could do everything and keep my sanity without one.

7. Self Care

Since all of my free time is devoted to work, it’s important for me to carve out some time to for myself to keep my sanity. For me, that’s usually working out or getting a pedicure. I am also a big fan of a girl’s weekend or nights to really unwind. My friend Talya, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, wrote an article on the importance of self care as a mother. While self care may seem like the easiest thing to cut out when you are strapped for time, it’s usually the thing that clears my head and keeps me more focused and efficient. 

    If you have any other WAHM/Parenting hacks, please share them!

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