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By Jennifer Pate,
Co-author of The Mothers of Reinvention: Reclaim Your Identity, Unleash Your Potential, Love Your Life
I remember something my husband said to me about 5 years ago. If you could just make $100k per year and still be there when the kids get home from school, it would be great. He said “you could do that; you’re a smart woman. ” I remember smoke coming out of my ears. Really? What pray-tell job is that? Do you have any idea how much I have to do during the day? How dare he?! Funny thing is that that off-the-cuff comment )that he doesn’t’ even remember) lit a fire under my butt. I was so mad. While he was clearly stressed about being the sole wage earner at the time (and I truly have compassion for that), he had a lot of nerve!
I decided right then and there that I had only one option. I was going to take the money conversation off the table. I didn’t know if I could meet the $100k figure that he so nonchalantly threw out, but damn it, I was going to try. But, what was I going to do? I had taken time off work to be a stay at home Mom for both my kids. They were still young and only in nursery school. As much as I liked my old job, I worked no less than 9 hours a day. That was not going to work in my life. I had to reinvent my idea of what a job was. It was time to think outside the box.
First, I started talking to everyone and everyone who would listen. How did other moms manage work and family? Did other moms like their jobs? What about the moms who had nannies? How did they feel? My biggest take on the information I received from all my prying was that the moms who had something they were passionate about and brought some money into the family, were the happiest. What was I passionate about that I could also make money at and work on my own terms? With that “if you could just make 100k” lingering in my brain, I soldiered on.
There were a couple false starts; ideas that seemed great that weren’t going to pan out, but I kept on trying. I had become great friends with Barb, who I met in a Mommy and Me class. We started talking about what our perfect life would like, what we were passionate about and how we could make it happen. We were clear that we had to have our own business (even though there are some employers out there that have flexible hours), wanted to be there for drop off and pick up (most days we still are), make money and spend time with our family. Once we honed in on a web show for moms, we decided to make an initial investment of 5k each (not the most fun conversation I have ever had with my husband) and try and make our dream a reality.
Let me make something very clear, however. While Barb and I now make money and are almost always there for drop off and pick up, we work often at night when our kids go to bed (it is 9pm on a Tuesday right now) or on weekends when we can sneak in some time or have even taken East Coast calls in our pajamas while it is still dark in LA. I wish I could tell you that you just work from 9-2, then you’re done. That may be the case for some, but not for us and that is okay. We are making our dreams fit into our reality and that is the big lesson here.
If I had to boil it down into tips for having a career and a family (one that you see more than just an hour in the morning and an hour at night like a lot of working women do), here is what I would say:
Set Your Intention: You are going to live life on your terms. We are a generation of women whom have opportunities like never before. Let’s take advantage of what the women before us have done for us!
What Is Your Goal: How much money are you looking to make? What is realistic? Put it out there.
Delegate: If you are going to try and be there for the kids before school, after school and work while they are at school, you are going to need some help. Maybe your husband can drive the kids to school a few days a week. Maybe you are going to have to pay for a cleaning person occasionally, maybe your kids are going to have more chores. You cannot do it all, so don’t even try. Farm out as much as you can!
Don’t Sell Yourself Short: Maybe you’ve been out of the work force for a while. Us that as an asset. As a Mom, you can multi-task better than anyone out there! Believe in you!
- Everything Isn’t Wrapped in a Perfect Bow. There are some days that run smoother than others. There will be days that you will not be at pick-up or that you will be working and get a call that you have a sick kid at school (happened today).
Start living life on your own terms!
© 2012 Jennifer Pate, co-author of The Mothers of Reinvention: Reclaim Your Identity, Unleash Your Potential, Love Your Life
Jennifer Pate, co-author of The Mothers of Reinvention: Reclaim Your Identity, Unleash Your Potential, Love Your Life, is the mother of two, Cooper and Lilah, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Jonas. After retiring from a professional dance career that spanned ten years, Jennifer became a casting director for TV and film, and co-founded Colloff, Fishman, and Britt Casting. She then went on to her most interesting and challenging career of all: becoming a stay-at-home mom. Currently, Jen is the co-creator and co-host of the award winning web series “Jen and Barb, Mom Life.”
For more information please visit http://www.jenandbarb.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
What things do YOU do to generate $$ while the kids are at school or daycare??