“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” -Tina Fey
Becoming a mother changed me. Opening a business changed me. Both of those statements are TREMENDOUS understatements. When I think about life before Urban Waxx and my kids all I remember is a long blur of free time and leisurely brunches and sleep. I am certain that there were lots of other things happening but WHAT HAPPENED TO SLEEP? Nothing changes more when you become a Mom than your lack of sleep.
I digress. I have always known that I wanted to own my own business. I did not always know that I wanted to become a mom. That came later in life, and coincided with Urban Waxx opening. I thought that I was the only crazy person that would decide to have a baby and open a business at the same time, however, over the years I have talked to SO many female business owners that have done both in unison. So, maybe we are a little mad. Or, we just like to see how much we can do on 2 hours of sleep a night. Or, we like to create.
When I moved to Portland in 2007, I decided to open Urban Waxx shortly thereafter. However, I wanted to do it on my own for a while. I wanted to be my own boss, set my own schedule, make my own appointments. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and see if I was really as good at managing myself as I believed. I wanted to make it perfect BEFORE I hired employees and became responsible for other people. And then…I got pregnant. We had been trying, but, like so many things to follow, Stella had her own timeline. I thought it would probably take at least a year (I don’t know why I thought that…I thought so many things about pregnancy and motherhood that were false before it happened to me), but instead, I got pregnant right away. Like, first month. I had only opened up my little one woman shop a few months earlier and I was NOT READY to expand. However, I was also not ready to go on maternity for 3 months and have all of the guests that I was seeing be unable to see me and then have to start over. So…I decided to open up the first Urban Waxx, and hire my first employees, and, well, the rest is history.
As soon as they laid Stella’s little body on my chest, everything changed. I had a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I had a purpose before, but suddenly I had a reason to be better and do better. I wanted to be the best mom ever. The best boss. Create a legacy that my children could be a part of. Be the kind of mom that they would respect and love and they would know that she could build something from nothing. They would see my work ethic and my drive and ambition and they would know that their mama was a hustler. They would know that I could make magic.
Guess what? That isn’t exactly the way it has been. Being a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me, closely followed by owning Urban Waxx. These two events are also the most challenging. They require the most humility. The most growth. The ability to see when I am wrong and change my behavior. Parenting and owning a business are surprisingly similar. And for me, they are completely connected. I cannot imagine doing one without the other.
If I were not a parent, would I continue to grow and build and move Urban Waxx to the degree that I do now? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. My children keep me on the straight and narrow. They keep me focused. They make me better. They drive me to be the parent that I wished that I had. And now, Urban Waxx is 10, Stella is 10, and Dino is 7. Now, we can all relax a little. Now, when the kids get home from school, I tell them that my phone and laptop will go away until they go to bed. I have realized, after so many years of being permanently attached to my iPhone, that nothing is really more important than spending time with my babes. And, even though I would tell them that I am working on my phone, and sometimes I am, I am usually just messing around and not being present. And that is really sucky. For them and for me.
So, what are the similarities between opening a business and being a mom? Here are my observations:
- When I opened a business I had no idea what I was doing. I kept waiting for someone to come in and either tell me what to do or tell me I was unfit to be doing what I was doing. Having a baby-same.
- Both required putting something else in front of my selfish self. Once you open a business, your life is not your own. You are responsible for other people, and you need to have their best interests in mind. Being a mom-SAME. Although same to the 1 billionth degree.
- All of that extra money you had laying around (if any)…well that goes away. Every penny you have goes into the business or into the kids.
- Sleep-HA. Did I mention that you can kiss sleep good bye? And if you do sleep you will wake up in the middle of the night worrying about either the business and how you are messing it up or your kids and how you are messing them up.
- Both are 24/7. That is a real fact. I think about my kids or my business on a loop 24 hours a day.
- Both require a thick skin. Do you think you have a high self esteem? Awesome! Wait until you get your first scathing Yelp review or your child asks if you are going to wear make-up today (Stella). You just gotta let these things roll of your back, with grace.
- You have to, HAVE TO, be able to take accountability. To say sorry when you are wrong. To evolve. To recognize your shortcomings. To ask for help. Be present. You have to be generous with your time and yourself. You have own your own crap.
SO THEN WHY DO EITHER???
Because, it is f-ing amazing. Both. The BEST. Both mean you are creating something from nothing. I still look at my kids and think: “I made you!” in this feeling of awe and wonder. When I am not dissecting Urban Waxx, I think the same thing. Damn. I did it. Both take a village. I mean, sure, you can raise a child alone or run a business alone, but doing it with people who love you and believe in you and support you makes things magic. Being a mom and a boss gives me the freedom to pivot. If I make a mistake, I can change my mind. I can say “Oh that was a terrible idea. I won’t do that again.” Plus, I get to create a life that I want. And, I feel pretty lucky.
I love this so so SO much!!! Thank you for sharing! And omg baby Stella!!!