This post is part of our Parenting and Running a Small Business Series. Check out other posts in this series:
I’m Jessica. I am a young mother of two children, a dramatic but very sweet almost 4 year old, and a hilarious 1 year old with a big head. They, along with my adrenaline junkie husband who can fix anything, make my world go round. I share my crafty endeavors, sell quilts, blog, and put on DIY workshops at @sweetgrasscreative and sweetgrasscreative.com.
When I found out I was pregnant it was a TOTAL surprise. My husband and I were in college and planned to wait until I had a degree in biology to get knocked up. I wasn’t too thrilled about the new status of my womb, and it took me a while to adjust to the news. I had a PLAN, dang it! Why couldn’t things just work out according to PLAN!
Fast forward 8 months and I was a new mom, staying home with my infant daughter. I struggled. Nursing was hard. Not sleeping was hard. Feeling like I was contributing nothing was hard! I set goal after goal and tried to find a piece of myself in the midst of my new title of “mother” and finally, 2 years later after trying a variety of different outlets, and while pregnant with my second child, I found a little spark. I opened an Etsy shop and began making and selling cross-stitched family portraits.
In the beginning I was “paying” myself something along the lines of $2/hour for the cross stitches I was creating. I didn’t care! It’s art! (Says every starving artist?) I would create patterns at the computer while the kids played, stitch during naptimes and after bed time, and hardly ever see my husband when I had orders to fill. Selling handmade items helped me find myself again, in a way. It brought me a great sense of confidence to know people were willing to spend their hard earned money on something I created with my brain and two hands.
A couple weeks ago, I retired family portrait cross stitches. I’ve also been reading the book “Essentialism” by Greg Mckeown. In his book, Mckeown breaks down how and why you should not feel like you HAVE to do things. I continued to do cross stitch portraits even though I was beginning to look at each portrait as a burden. I couldn’t charge my original rate because my time was worth more than $2/hour, but to really charge what I felt my time was worth would mean a cross stitch was like, a million dollars. I now blog and craft and put on the occasional DIY workshop and I’ve truly never been quite as confident in myself as I am now.
What does this all have to do with being a parent and running a business? I find that in each of those areas, being willing to evolve is what is going to give you success. I started Sweetgrass Creative on cross stitch portraits; it’s what I was known for! It was difficult to make that decision to let go of them in order to give me the time to focus on things that are more important to me. My parenting style is the same way. I try to go with the flow and meet the needs of my family before the needs of my business. Family time is family time and business time is business time! This may not be a formula for huge growth but it has been what is working for me. After all, I am a mother first.
If I could share only three things with you about working at home it would be this: During the days when I am home with my kids, I try to give them my attention mixed with bursts of independent play. I don’t want them to remember me as always being on my phone, with my eyes on the screen half listening to them. I can’t stand it when people do it to me so why would I treat my children that way?
Secondly, you have go to be present enough to know your family’s needs, and be willing to meet those needs. Your family needs and deserves you. You must also know when to say no to opportunities that aren’t going to benefit you as much as something else might.
Most importantly, I have learned to rest rest rest. I can’t talk about this enough! When we are constantly on the go with a thousand demands pulling us every direction, we get burnt out and exhausted. In my case, I get reeeeeeal grouchy. I’ve found that a night to myself to read, journal, have a bath, wander Target, mindlessly watch TV, or the occasional girls night out does wonders for my mood and emotional energy levels.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on this subject. If you have any questions or tips on how you find success in your at-home business, leave a comment below! And remember, in the wise words of Stephen R Covey, “The main things is to keep the main thing the main thing.”