“Mumpreneur” quite possibly my favourite job title thus far! Not only is it where one can be mum full time, feed, change, play, clean up, wash, cuddle, walk, bathe and everything in-between, but who can also run her own business whilst doing so! You know, answering emails, phone calls, ordering stock, doing the bookkeeping, updating inventory, sales etc. etc.… sounds easy right? The dream job if you will! But lets be real, as much as it is to me the biggest blessing ever to be able to run my own company whilst having my son by my side all day every day, to many including myself some days it is also a struggle. It is a constant juggle where you are forever praying you don’t drop a piece of what you are juggling for the fear it might all just come tumbling down! I think so many Mumpreneurs feel the same. It’s the constant quest for balance between being mum and business owner. To be present in both and to enjoy both equally too! Because the love of our children vs. the love of our businesses can either be a struggle- or if you can put your fear into positivity and take the struggle as a life lesson and growth- it truly can be the most magical rewarding job on the planet!
I have been in the fashion industry for 15 years and decided 5 years ago that alongside my established jewellery label and personal styling side to my business that I in 2012 was going to open my own boutique stocking the latest fast fashion as well. Fast forward to 2014 and I was blessed with the arrival of my son and the Mumpreneur title was put into full swing. I think owning your own business is always going to come with huge stress but feel that if you work hard enough then good things can come from the hard work. Yes, mistakes and wrong decisions within your business can and in some ways should be made as that is how you learn to continue to grow your company with more integrity and strength.
A few years ago however I found myself in a sink or swim situation combining motherhood and business ownership when my husband abruptly walked out on my 5 month old son and I, as well as from all the business responsibility. It was quite literally like being thrown into the middle of the ocean with a tiny baby and needing to navigate my son and I back to land, whilst maintaining the whole “everything is fine” persona. All of a sudden it was a matter of creating a new dynamic and really putting the Mumpreneur title to good work. I found that I really needed to put all my years in my career into “auto pilot” so I could keep running my business as well as I could each 60+ hours a week and make sure I could give my son the absolute best future he deserves all whilst trying to pay the bills.
My son since he was born had spent most days in the back of my shop where I’d put a “back in 10 mins” sign on the front door on the days I didn’t have my staff in, to then run out the back to feed him or to express his next feed. He would come to every supplier with me, would come to each stockist of my label on sales trips. My bricks and mortar store closed as of early last year as I decided that online would be the way to grow and I wanted to give my son the “at home working mummy” experience. To this day, he still is right by my side to jump in photos and to sit on his “computer” to “help Mummy!” He truly is my whole universe!
As much as he was (and still is!) my right hand it felt like it was almost unfair to him being with me to work all day every day and the mum guilt set in big time. You know the one, the “is he getting enough outdoor play, has he had enough social time, does he have enough interaction with other children at his age, is he feeling enough love and affection from me while I’m looking after customers. The list of worries a mum has is honestly endless, let alone being faced with genuine fear of how the hell do I pay all the bills for not only the business but now also the home and everything in-between! Closing my shop as much as it broke my heart in many ways was a blessing in disguise as the stress from being in the physical store was not only creating immense stress with the economy crash and trying to find 6 figures a year to keep it open, it was impacting negatively as my son grew older – what 2.5 year old wants to be stuck in the back of a shop all day! Creating balance has always been a struggle yet a challenge willing to be taken always!
The goal of my career has always been to be self-employed and to be real about it. The fact is that so many mothers must accept that they actually need to be self employed to be able to have the flexibility to accommodate their children’s needs but also along side make enough money to pay the bills or to at least contribute to them! I constantly find myself having the same conversation with different groups of women I meet, “How do you work full time with a young child, and manage to pay child care costs and still come home with enough change after that to put a meal on the table that isn’t just 2 minute noodles?” (Trust me I have been the 2 minute noodle/ toast for dinner mum more times than I would have liked ha-ha!) I feel that with the rising cost of living, and the day-to-day stress of being a mum, whether that is one who is not employed, self-employed or who has an employer, we all share the same struggle.
Push forward to now where life is a little clearer and the people who I have in it are just the most special incredible humans – they each know who they are. The journey continues for not only me as I re-launch my business after the past year especially being one of the toughest yet most cleansing, but also for every other mum who faces the day to day struggle of wearing multiple hats of business owner, mum, partner, friend, daughter, sister. I for one say that that despite all the “struggles”, as cliché as it might sound, there is always light at the end of the tunnel! Regardless of the struggles and exhaustion we must remember that those who are fortunate enough to be able to be mum full time, and boss lady full time- we have the most rewarding position of all!