Never did I ever think, that I would launch my own small online business, while being a full-time SAHM to my two young kids, (in the midst of a pandemic, may I add).
I became a mother for the first time 4 1/2 years ago, to my son, Gabe, and two years later, I gave birth to my daughter, Tessa. To say that I have had my hands full over the past couple of years would be an understatement. Both of my children are so full of energy and are both very strong-willed. They both demand attention. Between taking care of their every day needs, taking care of the household, and making sure that this brother/sister trio doesn’t fight each other every single moment; my life felt pretty busy, and I couldn’t imagine juggling one more thing within my schedule. And then to top it all off, COVID came crashing into our lives and changed so much.
Any sane person would not add another thing into the mix as they are adjusting to so many changes all at once; but as for me, call me insane, because I decided that in April of 2020, (only one month after schools, restaurants, stores ect. were closed down due to the pandemic), I decided to launch my small online shop, “Mama in Bloom.”
My blog/brand/shop, “Mama in Bloom” was born out of my hearts desire to witness women and mamas using their talents, gifts, and passions to bloom into the woman and mother God has called them to be. To shed their fears, insecurities, and grow into the woman/mother God desires. I have always been passionate about encouraging women, and I knew now, more than ever, in the midst of a pandemic, and all of us moms trying to handle way more than we have ever had to, that I HAD to create something to encourage mamas.
Over the past nine months, I have witnessed a community of mothers gather together, and vow to be mamas who are choosing to grow in the midst of these trying times. It has been such a blessing to me, to watch mamas wearing my merchandise, declaring that they will BLOOM in the midst of adversity. But as much as this journey has been so fulfilling to me, it has also been incredibly challenging in many ways. From learning all the ins and outs of running a small business is one thing, but being a full-time SAHM in the midst, has been the most challenging factor of it all. You see, 4 year old’s and 2 year old’s do not understand the idea of personal space, “mama” time, and what it means to run a business. They want you to be at their beckon call every single minute of the day, and they demand a lot of attention. I knew that if I was going to make this dream of mine come true to own a small business AND still be the best mother I could be to my children, I would have to be strategic. But I also knew that most of all, I would have to show myself some grace along the way.
Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way that have not only helped my small business grow, but have also helped make my children feel engaged within my business, and in-turn has helped me bloom into a better mother, and a stronger family:
- MAKE A SCHEDULE| I knew from the get-go that if I was going to make this business grow, and still remain present with my children, that I would have to make some sort of schedule. I looked at my children’s schedule each day, and looked at the realistic times I could solely focus on my business. Sometimes this calls for me to get up earlier then my children in the morning, and work on writing posts for my IG account/website, or working on graphics for my merchandise. When my kids have their “quiet time” in the middle of the day, I CRANK OUT WORK. That is my “golden” time. But mostly for me, after my kids go to bed is when I work on most tasks (ex. making new shirt designs/creating graphics/heat pressing my designs/packaging orders ect.). Have there been moments during the day when my kids have been awake that I have worked on my business? Of course. But they are small tasks. I try to be very intentional of making sure I am present with my children during the day. I always want them to know that they are my main priority above anything else.
- BE INTENTIONAL WITH YOUR TIME| I make sure that the times I have carved out each day to work on my business are solely for my business. Now if you are anything like me, I cannot stand chaos and messes around my house. In fact, I feel like I am less productive with working on my business if I feel like I am sitting in the midst of a mess. So to make sure that I am very intentional and efficient with the time that I have carved out to work on orders ect, I make sure that before that time, I clean up the messes around me. Does that mean that I make my house look like perfection? OH NO. But it does mean that I am still taking care of my home, and my family, but also giving my mind a space where I can think clearly. It is so beneficial to me, and I know it will be to you as well. (SIDENOTE: Make sure you set limits on your social media intake during this time. By that I mean, post what you need to post, connect with who you need to connect with business-based, and then shut down that app. I can’t tell you how many hours I have wasted by scrolling through social media instead of being intentional with my work.)
- INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN| Both of my children have become my little models for my children’s tees/sweatshirts. Although they both very much love to have their picture taken, they ESPECIALLY love taking pictures for me because they know they get a little treat after (gotta do what you gotta do). All jokes aside, they love having me setup my tripod and get them dressed in new merchandise to take their pictures. They love feeling like they are “working” with mommy. I also involve my son in the process of making the shirts by pressing the buttons to load the vinyl and print the designs. Not only is it nice to have my little business sidekick helping me with my orders, but it has been a great mother/son bonding experience for the both of us. He cheers me on as I weed out the designs, and I witness his ego tank get filled as I praise him continuously for loading that vinyl and making those designs! I believe it is so important to show our kids the process of how do do/make things, and to involve them in our every day tasks. My most favorite thing I have recently done with my son, is make a shirt for him, (that I will eventually sell on my shop), and I told him that with every shirt purchased of that design, that he will earn a $1 profit from each order. I want him to experience first-hand the hard work that goes into running a business, but also the fulfillment of watching others enjoy your products/business, and in-turn being rewarded for your hard work.
- REMEMBER YOUR PASSION| Truthfully, there have been moments when I have questioned why I am adding something more to my plate when I already have a plate that is overflowing. I have days where I am EXTREMELY overwhelmed and anxious, my to-do list is a mile long, and my children are being, just that…children. There definitely are days that I feel like I am drowning and want to raise my white flag in surrender and call it quits. But it is within those moments that I remind myself of my “WHY” for my business. My reason for launching it. My passion to encourage mamas is my motivation to keep going and growing my business. And at the end of the day, the most important thing to me is to have my children witness me as their mother, facing adversity and challenges, and every day life with grace and grit, and showcasing to them to pursue what God has placed on their hearts no matter what. Remember your “WHY” when you are having a hard business day, and I promise it will give you motivation to push through.
- GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE| At the end of the day, you are just one person! I place so many expectations on myself, and expect to get everything done on time, and have it done perfectly. And then its like an alarm goes off in my brain and heart and I am reminded that thank God I am not called to be perfect. I am called to give it my all, and work hard, yes. But at the end of the day, you need to give yourself some grace and praise for all of the hard work you have been putting into your business and into raising your children! Make sure to reward yourself with some down time, and rejuvenate yourself. Allow some time to decompress and allow the opportunity for new fresh thoughts and ideas to come flooding into your mind. Your business, your family, and yourself will not succeed and benefit if you are not at your best.
I am by no means an “expert” when it comes to all things business and motherhood, but I hope that these tips and tricks from my experiences, can encourage you, motivate you, and remind you that IT IS possible to run a business well, and to be the mother you want to be at the same time. Yes, it takes a lot of determination, strategic and intentional planning, and a lot of hard work; but at the end of the day it is so rewarding to see your passion come to life, and to witness your children being included in your dream and business! I hope and pray that you take the leap to pursue your passion and dreams, and to bloom into all that you are created to be. I cannot wait to cheer you on from the sidelines and watch all of the amazing things you are going to accomplish.