Some working moms battle with themselves over working and staying home. Are you giving enough time to your family while maintaining a satisfying career? I’ve always worked while having children; it’s just the path I chose. I love that I’m able to fulfill myself professionally and be by my children’s side at a school play, jump rope for heart or help in the classroom on a whim’s notice.
It wasn’t always like this. After working in an office for a year with my oldest daughter at home, I went to part-time before my second daughter was born. Once she was born, I decided it was time to start my own company. I worked in the early morning hours, and then again in the evenings when the girls went to bed at 7. I started with a kitchen office, with one client and later blossomed into a boutique publicity firm.
Now with five kids, under the age of 10, I have new challenges while trying to strike a balance. Time management is one and being able to delegate would be another. Speaking with other moms about finding the work/life balance helps maintain that I’m not alone.
Carolyn Ou was just starting her own business as a career/leadership coach when she also started a working moms meetup group. “I happened to have lunch with a woman in my neighborhood and talked to her about kids, how she started her business…and at the end she said we wished we could do this more often,” she recalls. “I said, ‘Well, we can.” From that point on Ms. Ou and Jill Kushner Bishop co-founded The Logan Square Mompreneurs Group.
One of the group’s members is Rebecca Peroulas, a consultant for Rodan and Fields, an anti-aging skincare company started by the doctors who created ProActiv. “I have 20-plus years experience as a project manager and have been a telecommuter for nine years,” she says. “Within a span of a week, I found out I was about to be laid off and that my husband had a very serious health issue. I couldn’t work in a traditional office, as I had to be primary care giver to him and our three small children.” Ms. Peroulas credits Rodan and Fields for helping her find the work/life balance. “Being my own boss makes the demands easier, I view my career as more of a lifestyle. I am able to work anywhere and network no mater where I am or who I am with. I am also able to stop and enjoy the important moments with my kids.”
Stephanie Eder is also a ‘mompreneur.’ She stumbled upon her new career selling Origami Owl. “I saw a woman with a locket on and asked where she got it; she proceeded to tell me the whole story of how a 14-year-old girl and her mother founded O2 in 2010; the $250 million dollar company sold lockets that tell a story…your story that you create. I had never gone to a jewelry bar and yet I signed up and was ready to start my new O2 business.”
Ms. Eder says she has found balance along the way. “Meeting and working with new people, be it a hostess or team member, keeps me motivated. I love the flexibility I have to work whenever I want. I can juggle my schedule to make things work.”
Ms. Eder also gets paid to socialize. “Commissions are very generous at O2. On average, a designer will make about 41 percent from each jewelry bar she holds. I made my initial investment back with my 1st Jewelry Bar.”
Investments are needed to join both of these companies: $149 (o2) and $1,000 (Rodan and Fields). This includes product, training tools, a website and team building. Ms. Eder plans on sharing her love for selling lockets that tell a story with her own daughter when she is old enough.
“It’s a great [business] model for companies who provide a lot of support and are good at training, but selling a product or lifestyle isn’t for everyone,” cautions Ms. Ou, who also started her own career coaching business, Sandbox Consulting, and helps women develop goals, and achieve the balance they are looking for.
I asked Ms. Ou for some insight into what is trending for women who are seeking work/life balance: “What I’m hearing from the moms I’m coaching is that they would not go back to a full-time job. And, it’s really hard to find fulfilling part-time work, unless they have a previous relationship with the company.”
Ms. Ou says with her consulting she doesn’t tell people what to do but rather helps them figure out what they value and how to achieve goals. “If one goal is creativity, this will inform someone of the decisions in your life. What is best for you and your family?” She’s also encouraging more woman to put themselves first. “Sometimes we do things out of habit; we pass on an opportunity because it’s our habit to say pick up our kids from school, if an opportunity presents itself where it would be beneficial to put yourself and your career first, you can always find another mom friend to help pick up your kids, some people don’t see it that way.”
Ms. Ou says you need to focus on the payoff. “What’s the benefit to sticking to the routines? Stepping outside of it and trying something different.” She also points out that, as your kids grow and enter school full-time, you want to ensure your goals become more of a priority. “A lot of folks are saying, ‘I’ve put my more business related things on the back burner, and now it’s time for me.’” Ms. Ou reminds us that maintaining values and being a good role model for our kids is also a necessity and at the end of the day. “You need to be happy with your decisions or make changes.”
If finding outside work is for you or becoming your own boss with an existing team that offers support, training and motivation of getting out and networking like Rodan and Fields or O2, then you should give it a try. “Our mantra is ‘Be a Force for Good’ and is reinforced all the time from corporate,” says Ms. Eder. Naturally, both she and Ms. Peroulas are always looking for new, motivated team members.
At the end of the day, you need to take a look at what is most important, what needs are being met and make changes where needed. And if you need some support and motivation, a meetup with the mompreneurs group should be on your to-do list.