Before I begin to share my stay-at-home entrepreneurial journey, some of you may be wondering, “Is this author a millionaire? Is she equipped to give advice? How come I haven’t seen her on television? Has she gone viral?” To answer all your questions, the answer is…I am just Tess, a stay-at-home entrepreneur mom who was crazy enough to dream and have insurmountable visions.
I have chosen to write this book because I am an expert in my experiences, and I want to share with you what worked and what is working for me. However, I am still on my journey. Please note: I stayed at home with my children and niece for nine years, and now my children and niece are in school and much older: ages 25, 19, and 12.
Walking away from my job in 2006 was tinged with the feelings of fear and excitement all at the same time. I had been working for three years as a middle school language arts teacher when I became pregnant and decided to leave and take care of my newborn, son, and niece. After speaking it over with my husband and finally making the decision, it was hard to find a narrative to tell myself.
You can’t tell yourself that life/career/family can’t all be done at the same time because all around you are women who have the “big” or the “deeply fulfilling” career, or just a good job, and who are also raising amazing children, kids just like you hope yours will be.
You can’t tell yourself that you did not love that job anyway because that is a reason to leave a particular position, not the workforce.
You could tell yourself that your kids will be better off being cared for only by you, but there is no research that bears that out, and while there are times that intense parental engagement is needed, working parents are able to achieve that, too.
The stress of juggling the complications of work and family life are a source of stress for many women. Whether you work outside the home or are a stay-at-home mom, there are troubling emotions to deal with. Either choice will leave with you something to worry about.
You will most likely get on blogs or social media sites that make being a stay-at-home mom seem like one easy ride of Martha Stewart baking, yoga and Pilate classes, and Pinterest-inspired crafts, with their well-dressed kids and immaculate houses.
This is hardly true. Every mother has breakdown moments. Every mother has days where just putting lip gloss on while the teething baby is clinging to her desperately is a feat. You will many times in the upcoming years yell, “I just want to pee alone!” Yes, I used that word. Man, I am still singing that tune! So, you must redefine what you feel “success” is. For me, success was a day where my house was not a disaster at the end of the day. I got to engage in one social situation in the course of the day (playdate, gym conversation, lengthy phone call, whatever it was, I took it). With all that was going on, I made sure my appearance was always intact. Couldn’t lose myself. No sir or ma’am.
If you are a working mother outside the home, sometimes you feel guilty for not being home with your children, for not being available for school activities, and for not waiting with open arms when the school day ends. Mothers who stay at home sometimes feel self-conscious for not being able to contribute financially, for not challenging themselves more intellectually, or for a lack of competency as a mother. I was able to experience both worlds. Most importantly, I loved being a stay-at-home aunt/mom. It allowed me to get to know my children and niece in an educational and recreational setting. Priceless!
Overall, most moms are looking for the same thing: to do what’s best for their children, their families, and themselves.
A critical or defensive tone often surfaces when working and stay-at-home moms get together. I am not sure why, but it happens. From my experience, stay-at-home moms feel the need to defend themselves by insinuating that their choice to stay at home is the better one. But could there be one right way? Why do mothers feel so uncomfortable with each other? Why is there a controversy in the first place? What does a ‘good mom’ look like? Unaddressed envy, comparison, and insecurity can make anyone critical of something they don’t have but might want.
I have observed and been guilty of criticizing other moms because their motherly strategies didn’t align with mine. Girl, stop! When I realized that I was doing that, I changed my outlook immediately because there are no perfect ways of being a mom or raising children. There is no one RIGHT way!
As you take this journey with me, open your hearts and minds to my version of being a stay-at-home entrepreneur mom.