Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On Being a Mom and Owning a Business

Most people think that owning my own business is wonderful and easy. Oh what fun! You can wear pajamas all day! Awesome! You make your own hours and can work when you want! What joy!

Well, that's rot.

I work much longer hours as a jewelry designer than I ever did with any of my other jobs. Even when I was a translator in the Air Force (my most interesting but also most stressful job) I didn't work these hours.

Weekends are not weekends. They're mega-work days. I'm either exhibiting at a show or working in the studio, taking photos of jewelry, making jewelry, updating the web site, writing tutorials, preparing for my next teaching job -- you get the idea. There are no days off.

In between working to make my business successful, I'm a mother. And that is indeed the hardest job ever, on an entirely different level. My heart is in my art, but my heart BELONGS to my son.

I'm a mom first and foremost. I don't do much work when he's out of school, choosing to spend my time with him, which can mean anything from helping him with Kindergarten homework to making a craft to being "on call" for when he decides he needs me for something. All the other hours, that's when I work.

Lately, I've had to make some decisions about my business and how it relates to being a mom. Zack has some health issues that have made this year more trying and stressful and difficult, and I've been finding myself pushing back from the work and spending more time with him -- and taking more time taking care of myself. I can't do it all and be good at any of it. I have to make choices.

So I'm allowing myself to let some things go. I'm still doing the shows I've committed to -- Zack loves to travel and I love meeting customers. But I'm turning off the computer more frequently, updating the web site less often, making some life changes. These new choices, new directions I'm taking, will ultimately, I think, make my business better in the long run. And the most important thing in the world is for my son to know that his mom is always, always there when he needs me.

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16 comments:

  1. Deep breaths, slowing down & trusting God. Three easy things to do that we mom can somehow never remember to do!

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  2. I'm just getting started with a side business (have a day job) and it takes up all my after work hours. I can almost imagine how busy you must be, and I only chose to try this because my children are grown and out on their own now - because you're absolutely right, nobody can do it all and do it well. Sounds to me like you have your priorities completely right.

    Thank you for sharing this. Sending good thoughts and best wishes your way.

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  3. Lori, I need to follow suite. My biggest struggle with running my business and having a full time job has always been creating a balance. I applaud you for taking the first step in getting back control of your life. Good luck!

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  4. Jewellery design is an art, and I think an artist's life itself should be dedicated to it. It will lead you to an experience where you will find that your life has inseparably mingled or mixed with art. Best wishes.

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  5. I think it's completely possible to have a family and have a business -- I've been doing it! But when the business takes precedence of the family, um, no. Time to step back. My son needs me more right now, and my own health needs me to take better care, to not work such long hours.

    What I think that will mean is that the jewelry I make will be that much better because I have to make my time count.

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  6. How sweet...I love the picture you posted of him as well!

    You have two full time jobs..mommy and designer...you are making all the right decisions..don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

    Love your designs and your strength!

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  7. I'm so sorry your son has health issues. Sounds like you have your priority in order and a handle on handling it all. Congrats!

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  8. Thanks for sharing about being in business and prioritizing. I have had way too many balls juggling in the air and sometimes I just have to stop all of them and go to a movie or read escape fiction. Or if I can't do that, a hot shower, floppy pj's and mindless TV helps.

    My kids are grown but I can imagine how much more difficult my business would be if I had kiddos at home.

    Warmest regards!

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  9. Thank you for writing this article. I have all these grand plans for my fledgling jewelry business but I am taking seriously tiny teeny itty bitty steps because my family comes first.

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  10. I couldn't live any other way either Lori, you do a wonderful job.

    I've had very high pressure jobs too, but there is nothing like taking care of your family and working from a studio in your own home.

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  11. Hi~
    Yes, you are so right!
    But it sounds like you are setting your priorities and that sure is what it takes.

    Thanks for stopping by. I enjoy your notes.
    Donna

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  12. Thanks for your comments on my blog. I'm glad you were caught up for a second in the title. ;)

    I run a very small business from my home as well...what I have found it just takes time for all those details and coordinating things.

    I can't imagine throwing in being a mommy into the mix. And heath issues on top. Wow that really puts alot on your plate.

    I say good for you for seeing areas where you could let some things go in order to acheive a new balance.

    Keep your eye simple and your whole body will be bright.

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  13. Lori, thank you for your nice comments on my blog.

    Putting your son first is a decision you'll never regret. (My son is 11 now and though I love that he's watched me be active and succeed in my other endeavors, I love the times we sat and watched the clouds roll by even more.)

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  14. Good for you! Nothing more important than spending time with your sweet son!!! Those little kiddos grow up too soon!

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  15. Wonderful write up, I am lucky my kids are grown or off to school, but I too have a full time job..it can all be very demanding. Best of luck to you.

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  16. Sounds like it's been a difficult time of decision making for you, but it seems like your priorities are clear - mine would be the same! Your work is quite wonderful Lori, and your business will continue to flourish. Your son is lucky to have you as his mom.

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I appreciate comments! <3

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