“How do you balance being a stay at home mom, while being a maker at the same time?” I don’t know about you, but this is a question I get pretty often, and it’s probably the hardest for me to answer. When I first started my wood crafting journey, over 4 years ago now…I had a 2 year old and a 2 month old. You may be thinking a TWO MONTH OLD? He was the easy one…ha! I was fortunate in getting both my babies to sleep through the night by 7 weeks old. Looking back, it may have been a burst of energy that started my craftiness.. hmmm? But nevertheless, I had two very young kiddos that needed my attention around the clock. So, being able to carve some time out for wood projects or to paint something was a luxury.
I lived vicariously through Pinterest and Instagram, as my laundry list of ideas got bigger and bigger. My dreams got bigger and so did my babies. The baby required more time, because he found the stumps jetting out from his hips and was into everything. His older brother was not himself because some alien baby kept slobbering on all his things and taking time away from his mommy. ITS NOT EASY. Parenthood in general isn’t easy, and rightfully so. I mean we aren’t over here raising hermit crabs.
But there’s this thing called NAPTIME.
Its like a naughty word, don’t say it too loud, they might hear you, and retaliate.
There came the day that both darling manimals napped at the same time. A lot of women, like to kick up their feet. Poor an extra cup of coffee and see what crazies Dr. Phil found that day. That’s great. That works for you. But that didn’t work for me. I on the other hand, bolted into the backyard, baby monitor clipped to my sweatshirt. Plugged my tools in, and got to work. It kept me going. Those 2 hours were my jam.
Things were going great. Those 2 hours, were the highlight of my day. Yes, I could have been folding laundry, dusting the ceiling fan, or emptying the dishwasher for the 4,267th time. But I wasn’t. Fulfilling a customer’s order and creating what they wanted and then some, was an amazing feeling and I was addicted! Learning, designing, and making. All of it, I was hooked.
Its always a good problem to have when orders are coming in, and you have to tell your customers it’ll be 4-5 weeks until I can get to it. It really is… a great problem to have. But that’s when I got sucked in. Whether it was a good thing, or a bad thing. I remember feeling frantic about work. Feeling I wasn’t doing my best. Like I needed to push more. The kids would wake up from their nap and I wasn’t quite at my “target” for the day, so my kids weren’t getting 100% of their mom just yet. I was focused more on the project, not on my children. That’s when the ever-so-lovely feeling of guilt took over.
But in my mind, I kind of deserved that feeling of guilt. I needed a wakeup call. Sometimes I feel like guilt is God’s way of showing you in retrospect the consequences to your actions, without someone ever truly punishing you. I needed that feeling to gain clarity. I desperately needed clarity, so thanks guilt. ::fist bump::
I quickly reevaluated things, and changed my entire ordering system to fit the needs of ME and my family. I went from telling customers “great! You’re on the list!” to a month to month ordering schedule. I allowed for only so many orders a month. Period. Don’t get me wrong, there were the customers that couldn’t wait that long, but I stuck to my ordering system. And told myself, “you’re not Amazon Prime.” The shift was a life saver for us and I’m grateful for the change and the customers who stuck with me. I was able maintain my passion for the craft all while knowing my kids were still my top priority.
Flash forward to 2018, and my ordering system changed again, but that's a whole other story.
So back to the original question, “How do you balance being a stay at home mom, while being a maker at the same time?” It’s pretty freakin hard. And even with the new ordering system, it was tough for me to build my business and not feel bad about it. I want my kids to get 100% of me. But with all of me, comes my passion for the craft. And showing my two boys, that I am not only their mom, but a woman with a dream and goal. I truly believe that children need to see the fire within us. So they can see the fire within themselves. It’s okay to follow your dreams and still be an amazing mom. Period.
Literally, as I type this, my baby I mentioned earlier…who is now 4 years old, fell asleep on my shoulder. He’s been with me from the beginning on my Sacred Cinder journey. He’s seen the ups and the downs. Held a few things for me, helped paint, saw my screw ups, but also saw my joy.
Even though I’m still learning to find a perfect balance, I do have some words of advice. To anyone wanting to follow their dreams of starting a business (big or small), you gotta JUST START. Listen to yourself, the dynamics of your family and just go. If you steer off course, you’ll know it sooner or later. Oh, and make sure you never run out of wine. EVER.