Embracing Motherhood: The Babes and the Business

"Don’t think of your children as a detour in your life, think of them as a REWARD!  A detour is sometimes handled with frustration, while a reward is embraced with joy!" - Marsha McDonald

Life has a way of giving you what you want, or what you pray for and then some.  I remember saying how much I wanted a family and a career when I was younger! Being a designer and mom is no small feat, much less to work in the field of architecture and construction too!  Most architects I knew in college, especially female architects, didn’t have any children at all, and the ones that do, actually became an architect before they started a family. So the group of us doing this is actually a small one, but the landscape is changing, there are more of us in the profession who is working and weaning i.e. Working/studying to be an architect/designer with babies. I am also managing a Design/Consulting business which can be a formidable endeavor with architectural studies. My journey in this have taken many iterations and I can tell you, being a business owner and a mom has stretched me in so many ways! Ultimately, I find that you just have to embrace motherhood and what it entails to carry both the Babes and the Business. I am Mom of four and many more (I have a few bonus kids) and I am embracing this journey as both a mother and an entrepreneur.

Over the last 15 years, I have been an entrepreneur in various capacities, whether working on my own or with a partnership with other businesses or individuals.  It was about the time I started a family, my oldest is 14 yrs and the youngest you see above is now 4. Just as my business has gone through many phases, so has my family life! At one point I was operating a business location with 5 employees! Imagine 5 employees, 4 children, 3 areas of work (home, business and church), 2 partners (an ex and an ex business partner) and 1 me. Those were the most challenging years because I was taking care of my family, taking care of my employees and taking care of myself and I realized quickly that I did not have systems in place to help me succeed, like I do now.

My greatest memory of those times were not the penthouse, in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, I was working on or the numerous contracts for new construction projects in the upscale neighborhoods or custom designs requested for my client's businesses or homes, it was a picture that my daughter gave me of me. A few years ago, Mother's Day was coming up and she did a project in a class entitled,  "Draw your mommy". She was so ecstatic to show me her work!  She labeled the drawing with the following words; pretty, dress nice and she commented that she loved going out with me when I wasn't working, but in the drawing was also a computer and she described that I was always on the computer working. It crushed me! In that instant I realized that I was doing to her what my mother did to me, I always remembered my mother working and I didn't want that to be my children's main memory of me.

"Don’t think of your children as a detour in your life, think of them as a REWARD!  A detour to your goal you sometimes handle with frustration, while a reward for your work, you embrace with joy!" - Marsha McDonald

 

Now, I have scaled my business to be a consulting/training base along with a design studio model where I provide in-person or virtual services. I am available for bookings for design consultations and if you want to talk, feel free to comment below. (I still have to do business even while I am sharing). I want to talk to you about how I embraced motherhood in my business life.  Here are a few tips I began to use to get me balanced:

1. SCHEDULE YOUR TIME - Get a planner, and use it! Use it to keep track of your children's schedule, your schedule and your business schedule. The passion planner has a lot to offer if you need something physical, and coded by color. I try to keep one planner or use your electronic calendar.  I use Google calendar because it's linked to my email, and I can color code it by tasks or by group, but there are others that can do this. Just find one that fits your needs.

2. SIMPLIFY YOUR PROCESS - I find that when I create the systems to help me with the four children, I have to simplify them or they may not get implemented. So, meal prep is very important, I set up lunch for the week for my youngest and am learning to do that for myself too! One step at a time to get to my weight management goals! I also realized that even though my clients need me to be in contact with them, I had to shut down my emails and text after a certain hours and days.

3. SYSTEMIZE YOUR PROCESS - Analyze what works and discard what doesn’t work for you. Find your balance and avoid anything which derails you. What is the process that works for you with regards to your business? Are your kids on a schedule for pick up time, bedtime, dinner time and wake up time? 

4. STAFF YOUR WEAKNESS - I learnt this from my money coach, Shawn Saunders, a fellow mom and entrepreneur. Check her out, I am in the middle of reading her new book, Purpose Money, which is available on her website and on Amazon. She says staffing your weakness helps you to do what you don't do well.  I apply that to my life in so many ways! Look for your support group. It may be a fellow mom who can help with a task you don't know how to do well. It could also mean having a babysitter for those out of office hour meetings or hire an part time assistant or a virtual assistant! It makes a huge difference!

5. SAVOR THE JOURNEY - Remember, it is a journey! The journey to growing and developing and ultimately journey to being.  There is a spiritual component to Motherhood, which touches your core. It has a way of refining you and pulling out of you, strength, nurturing feelings and resilience.  Face it you are doing a lot, so your attitude is important, don’t complain about what you don’t have, find out what you need and get it! Enjoy the journey and celebrate the wins and learn from the challenges.

Yes, there will be SACRIFICES along the way, I don't promise to be at every game or recital! I do make the big ones and celebrate every accomplishment they have. Understand that even with the best plan with navigating the world of motherhood, there are sacrifices that will be made.  It may not be as easy as you thought, maybe you got derailed in the process or hurt along the way, and your Babes are the most important! Get back on track! Sacrifice everything else and pay attention to them! You won’t get back that time, you won’t!

Lastly, manage their expectations, especially when they ask, why aren’t you like the other mom? I usually explain that I am not like most moms but I am your mom. Don't make promises you can keep, just keep the ones that you promised! Manage your expectations of what you can do and when you are available! Be realistic with your time, resources and support and this will determine you how you best you can be there! You are your child's mother, it’s the greatest honor and even if they forget that and not celebrate you, I want you have to know that! Your Business and you Brand do serve a purpose, whether it's one of fulfillment, cash flow and even positioning you for greatness, all you have to figure out, so you can be the best you along the way!