Why 'Business Owner' is Crucial to My 'Mom' Identity
When my first child was born, I tried being a stay-at-home mom. I really did love it…. For about four weeks. All the snuggles and the smiles warmed my heart in a way I didn’t even know was possible, but my brain was itching for a different kind of challenge. Now I’m not bashing stay-at-home moms; they’re superheroes. I just couldn’t do it.
I tried, I really did.
Today, my house is pretty clean most of the time….. Because there’s no one in it all day long.
I can manage grocery shopping and meal prep…. Because I do it without tiny hands trying to “help”.
My kids are active and happy all day….. Because I’m not tasked with being a constant entertainer.
But there are much bigger reasons I send my kids to daycare and manage my own business during the day….
I’ve been having children for the past ten years; I don’t regret a moment of it. However, with four young kids who need constant attention and care, my career has taken a backseat. More than that, I have taken a back seat.
Kids require a great deal of attention, and honestly, I’m happy to oblige. But at the same time, I’m more than just ‘mom’ and it’s essential that I understand how to cater to all parts of myself if I’m going to be a well-rounded human being.
My business is directly connected to my sense of self. Everyday I contribute to something bigger than myself, and that makes me happy. The work I do for clients invigorates me and keeps me connected to the person I was before I had kids.
When it really comes down to it, I don’t work simply to pay the bills; I do it because it fulfills me as a person, and that’s essential to my ability to be a good parent.
I work hard in my house. I cook. I clean. I keep all members of the household in fresh underwear. My kids see this. Most days, they contribute to the maintenance of the household as well because I believe that as a family, we’re all in this together. The work I put in for my job, however, is a little bit different.
My alarm usually goes off at 5am so I can check in on Facebook ads and return emails before the kids wake up. The kids usually find me at my computer in the morning clacking away before I shut it down to make them breakfast and brush their hair.
While I own my business and have a decent amount of freedom when it comes to running that business, I still work. This means that I don’t get to go on all the field trips or make it to preschool on parent involvement days to paint rocks. And that’s ok.
It may not be ideal, but I know my children see me working hard and I know that they’ll not only appreciate that hard work, but learn from it.
Providing an example of success
I think men are expected to succeed in life. And while I’m happy for the advantages my son will inevitably have, it makes me nervous for my daughters. A college degree is no longer a straight shot to a job that pays well… or even any job at all for that matter. I want my girls—and all my kids really—to have an example of what a successful woman looks like.
Whether their success means being a CEO, work in an office, drive a garbage truck, or be a stay at home parent, I want my children to have a clear example of ambition, integrity, and hard work. I want them to see what women are capable of.
For my girls, I want them to know that they can be strong and do anything. For my son, I want him to see that women are their own beings, not people who exist to do the cooking and cleaning and other home-related tasks.
My husband plays a big part in all of this. My kids know that cooking and cleaning isn’t just a “girl” thing because my husband does all of that stuff too. They see him working hard every day, just like they see me working hard every day. And he takes joy from seeing the joy my work brings me.
I adore being a mother, and I also adore being a working woman. As it turns out, many of the things that I get from my business are integral to how I want my children to perceive me, lessons I want them to learn about life, and help me be a better mom when I’m home with my kids at the end of the day.
Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage
Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.