I’ve had a revelation. I’ve found myself a part of a massively growing demographic. I am a part of a group that has even sprouted several names. WAHM, mommaprenuer, mommyprenuer. Not sure I entirely like these labels, I’ve determined to become comfortable with them.
You see, I’m not unlike most of you. I went to college, got married, and embarked on the path I thought I was destined for. I was a professional woman. An art director. I had a stellar career ahead of me. Until the weird baby dreams came, and I found myself pregnant with my first born, and the decision to stay home seemed a no-brainer. Then my second came. Oh, and then my third, fourth and fifth. It was when #6 came along that I started my Etsy shop and found I could make money AND stay home!
I found my balance shifting as my shop made some strides. I let the kids “try school” for a year so I could adjust my “balance” to something workable. See, it’s hard. I couldn’t give everything all of the attention it deserved, my kids being number one on the list. After 10 years of homeschooling, I was a little burnt out. Admitting that was my first step toward sanity. I can’t do it all. If you can, great! Tell us! I am blessed with a tremendous husband, and kids old enough to pull their weight, and still I can’t do it all.
Now I am making plans and taking baby steps toward bringing my brand to the next level. While bringing my oldest 4 home to school again. As I plan ahead, I notice some things that will have to change. I will have to become more focused, and waste less time. The endless social networking will have to be limited to a very basic regimen of targeted tasks relegated to certain times a day. I’ll have to say goodbye to internet daydreaming and article free association. You know, when you start on one article, click a link, and end up reading 4 more?
The kids will have to choose those activities most dear to them, as will I. I will have to choose those things I need to say NO to. This is my worst habit. Someone says “I need”, “I can’t”, or “can you”, and I say “Oh, I can”. I think it’s an ego thing. I must get over this. I will practice on my kids. Not to propose that we shouldn’t volunteer, just don’t go thinking you’re the only person who can rescue everyone.
The next bad habit I have, is not knowing when to go to bed. I know it sounds silly, but seriously, lack of sleep can cause a host of ills. I want to get up in the morning and hit the ground running, be ready for my kids to get moving, and have little things like emails and social networking done in the morning and later in the evening. I am not missing anything at 11:30 on Twitter.
With a large family, it’s crucial to condition your kids to PITCH IN and take care of themselves as early as they can. I’ve written on this before; it’s a learning curve, and sometimes painful, but if you do everything for your children, you will have useless, overly needy children. Harsh, but not as harsh as having to keep dressing a 3 year old and get the toothpaste on the brush for a 6 yr old all of the time. If little Suzie wants a banana, and can’t open it, show her how (butter knife to cut the end, silly). If she says she can’t put her shoes on, make her do it. My 3 year old can, and he’s not Einstein, so yours can too.
More kid “do-able” chores as young as 5; Trash, recycling, dishwashing, clearing and setting tables, putting laundry away, putting up groceries, picking up rooms, cleaning floors, vacuuming, making simple lunches, dinner prep, dressing little children, sweeping stairs, wiping counters, feeding animals, “fetching”, weeding, watering seedlings, washing windows, dusting, getting mail, and buckling little siblings into their car seats. Some of these annoying little tasks are huge time suckers, best delegated to teach responsibility. The most important of which is teaching them to pick up after themselves, even if it means coming all the way downstairs just to throw a wrapper away. It’s worth the effort, trust me.
School will have to begin pretty early, and my kids, who are pretty well self disciplined, will know exactly what to do each day. School will be done by noon, or the rest will be THEIR homework, not mine. It’s crucial to have a routine for many kids, especially mine. They use schedules written in sharpie and wet erase on clear plastic sheets and taped to the side of a cabinet. On the fridge I tape another one with an activity schedule. We have a constant battle here to reduce clutter, as well. Learn to TOSS.
I don’t make unnecessary trips, planning them when I have at least a few to do at a time, and only if I’m already going out. Sometimes this means my kids have to wait to go see a friend or get picked up. Or I just. Say. No. I keep a running tab of errands as they pop up. It’s not sophisticated, just a steno pad, crossing them off as I do them. I don’t carry a planner, as I only carry a wristlet. That’s just me. Hubby and I touch base during the day to see which of my errands he can run, and vice versa.
As the summer unfolds, I will force myself to take one step, do one thing, every day, to advance my goal. I want KaBoogie shoes in boutiques around the world. I know it’s possible, because they already are. I just want more of them! I’ve laid the groundwork for a really great brand, and set my home life up so that we run more efficiently. The groundwork started 15 years ago when I had my first child, and my methods have served me well so far. Even if you don’t follow the Bible, as so many wise lessons in life can be found in Proverbs (I call it a child raising manual, personally), and this has stayed with me all these years; “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” - Proverbs 22:6.
On those days when I’m pulling my hair out (or someone else’s), have at least 2 children in the corner, and a raw throat from yelling, I will need to remind myself that indeed, I cannot do it all. I will need to stop, regroup, purge my mental clutter, and focus on the basics. Perhaps one day, I will see the fruits of these efforts, not only in my business, should I see my goals to fruition, but in my children, who I send out there into the world as capable and strong, not helpless and dependent.
Beautiful handbags, clutches, baby booties and boots, headbands and more-
visit now, www.KaBoogie.Etsy.com.
Special thanks to Audrey for taking the time
to share a piece of her life with us all by submitting this article.