Among the circle of friends and family I have in my life, we sometimes talk about this “American Dream” we have. This dream we seek is different for everyone, for me personally the dream has always been to be my own boss. Growing up I saw the drive my father had to succeed in this country (he came to the States when he was a young boy). The desire to provide for our family is what I saw in my father growing up, he didn’t want us to worry about food, shelter or clothes. He taught me to be confident and instilled strong work values and ethics in everything I did.
Since I’ve left home, I’ve had different careers. I got married and then we had kids. Sure, I was happy. But I felt like something was missing. When I came to the realization that I’ve been sacrificing so much of my time and putting work ahead of my family, this dream I once had and shared with others, felt so out of reach for me. By this time, I had my third child and I was no where near reaching for the stars with my career. I felt so defeated thinking about how much time had passed. The entrepreneur gene runs through my veins and family. Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I reached out to family and with their support, I started on a business plan and didn’t look back.
Gen X Mom walks out!
As a mom in her early 40s with 3 kids and a supportive husband, it was the scariest moment but yet the most exhilarating one when I told my boss I was resigning. After several years of teaching for a great school district, I ventured off into the unknown world of entrepreneurship. Guess what I found out when I got there? I was in fact very capable of running a small business and taking care of my family at the same time with extra time to spare! Yes! This mom is having her cake and eating it too! I was no longer feeling the stress of after school meetings, parent conferences, activities and homework. I am now able to be more accessible to my school age sons. The icing on the cake? I get to bring my 4 year old daughter with me to work every day!
My mom friends have shared the idea of trying not to work in the early years of raising our kids. Blink and you may miss a milestone! I understand that completely. But I think it’s more important to be there for your kids as they are growing up into the adolescent years. They will remember that the most. I’ll be honest, it has not been an easy year. I have to consistently stay on top of my business daily while maintaining my home and family life. So what I am doing all day? I’m running an early childhood program catering to preschoolers and taking care of my family ALL from home. My workday starts at 7:15am and ends by 2pm. I meet my son after school, we go over his day while he has a snack and we tackle homework before my other son comes home from middle school. I do the same routine with him. My boys enjoy having me at home when they arrive from school just as much as I love being there to greet them.
I am no longer settling or sacrificing my family time. I am living the dream and living it my way, on my terms. I am a happier mommy and definitely a less stressed out mommy for it too.
Folks, I just turned 41 and have no regrets jumping ship to discover something new. No regrets because the work experiences from my previous careers have molded me into the type of entrepreneur I am today. The most important lesson I am showing my kids is that it’s never too late to reach for the stars. They are watching me through this process and seeing how hard I am working to make my small business a success as much as I am trying to make our family time more valuable. I love that they are with me along for the ride. Life is too short not to explore your options and to find out if the grass is greener on the other side. For me and my family, the grass is definitely a lot greener and fuller. My father showed me how to reach for the stars and how to never settle for the American Dream, whatever it may be. I am now doing the same for my children.