Being a Mom and an entrepreneur

ImagesBeing a Mom can be the hardest job in the world but also the most rewarding.  You can't imagine how you will feel about motherhood as it relates to the rest of your life until you actually have kids.  There are many who think that it won't change their thoughts about their work life and sometimes those are the people who can't imagine returning back to work in the same vein after having a child. 

Many women have asked me when is the best time to have kids?  The answer I always give to women who are wondering when they should have kids is don't wait.  You want to be young and feel young when your kids go off to college.  There is never a perfect time and you will figure it out just as you have figured your business out.  It is all about balance and it won't be easy but you will figure it out.

I have also been asked how do you balance having a kid and being an entrepreneur?  The answer here is an easy one….being an entrepreneur is much easier to balance your life because you own your own life.

When I was essentially running a manufacturing company in the garment center, I had both Jessica and Emily.  I didn't own the company but the guy I worked for gave me a total free ride to run and grow it.  I had total flexibility.  That trust in me was one of the keys to my success.

Fast forward, I left the company because operationally the company was running itself into the ground and the answer for him was that I should take a pay cut.  My answer was, see ya.  So I had several interviews with a variety of companies getting several job offer options.  Because I had two young girls at home, I opted to take a job in a company doing sales with the reasoning that if I was going to start my own company or run a company I would be so busy that I would not be present in my girls lives and I did not want to do that.  I wanted to be there.  Stupid decision for many reasons but the biggest reason is I was still putting in a full day and was bored out of my mind.  Happy parents make happy children.

When Emily was 10 months old she got pneumonia.  It was so scary.  I remember taking her for xrays and getting the diagnosis, obviously curable but really upsetting.  After Emily was finished with the procedure, I called the office to tell them that she was finished and that Emily had pneumonia.  There answer to me was, ok so when will you be back in the office.  Seriously?  Did they really think that showing up in the office for 2 hours at the end of the day after finding out that my daughter had pneumonia at 10 months old would make an impact on the business?  I told them that I would not be returning that day.  Truth is, after that I was done working for them. 

My first experience where I was given the total nod for my work ethic and abilities was not based on punching a time clock and it allowed me to soar.  The second experience was so structured and incapable of treating their employees with respect. It was definitely not an environment to create productivity at least it certainly wasn't for me. 

Fast forward I have never ever worked in an environment after that where I did not own my own life and my own hours.  That is what worked for me and it worked for my family.  If I had my own company, I would have had my kids present in my business every single day.  It makes for a learning experience for your kids to see that you control your own fate and it makes for a much happier life. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. BB

    happy mother’s day!

    1. Christine

      Having resigned as law firm partner to be at home with two startups: one an eight-month-old and a one a business, I find it so encouraging to hear the stories of those who went before me. Thank you! Happy Mother’s Day!

      1. Gotham Gal

        Congrats on the big move

  2. Erin Newkirk

    Happy Mother’s Day, Joanne. Thanks for all you do to support others in finding and pursuing their “own life.”

  3. Carol Sacks

    Smart post. Thank you and enjoy the day with your family!

  4. Rohan

    Happy Mother’s day Joanne..not sure if you’ve seen this video.. 🙂… 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

       thanks for sharing this.

  5. Tereza

    SO with you on this, Joanne. Motherhood is such a juggle. And you can’t juggle when your hands are tied behind your back. 🙂 And whether it’s running a business or running a household or the school fundraiser, it’s really the same core skills, isn’t it? Trying to make great things — more things — happen with the resources we have immediately around us. Plus a dash of what I call “mommy magic”. My girls think it’s real! :-)Have a happy, happy day.

    1. Gotham Gal

       love that.  “mommy magic”

  6. RyanComfort

    This is the kind of “mom-empowered” culture I’m looking to build and sustain within my start up.  Do you have any suggestions of resources that could help me best find this kind of talent and help me learn how to manage it effectively?Thanks and Happy Mother’s Day!

  7. William Mougayar

    “It makes for a learning experience for your kids to see that you control your own fate and it makes for a much happier life.” That’s the telling quote and totally true. Kids will aspire to what they see in their parents (more or less). 

  8. Gotham Gal

     you too BB

  9. Mark Gavagan

    It’s amazing how short-sighted some managers can be. Every employee is a person with a personal life – a bit of genuine concern and consideration in the toughest personal moments can go a very long way, for both the individual in the circumstances and everyone else’s morale.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it is truly fascinating actually.