Working Moms : Balancing Home Life + a Career

Dear Jasmine, I’m an interior designer and graduated 8 years ago, and ever since I seem to have hit walls and bad employers.  I have decided that I was going to be my own employer and have my family while still building an amazing career.

However, since making that decision, contractors tell me that my kids are an inconvenience when I'm on the phone, clients telling me that my schedule isn't the right fit for them because I'm available only after 3:30pm, and it goes on. When does it get better? When will I take off and be the entrepreneur that I'm dreaming of like all those beautiful models I see out there with a flourishing design company??

I would love to build a wonderful team, have the right contractors around me, have great open minded clients and all I can see is moving back home (in a different provence) to find these kind of people, but then “derooting” my whole family for my career?? Shouldn't I be able to build my paradise wherever I am if I really want to?  I didn’t think that starting my own business would throw me back like this!!


Designer Mom

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Dear Designer Mom, the short answer is you can have the career of your dreams…but it may not look exactly how you imagined it.  From my perspective, it sounds like you have two full-time passions: motherhood and design.  The balancing act between motherhood and a career can be tenuous (or so I’ve heard), so I wanted to help you as much as a possible by getting advice from a working mom/interior designer.  Lindye (my sweet friend who helped me design my home) and I have had lots of conversations about how she balances home life and a career, so I hope her advice helps…

Oh “balance.” Doesn't that sound so nice?! It's something I've strived for over the last couple years and something I was convinced was a perfect formula that I was messing up, just like 6th grade science class all over again. But I've realized balance isn't a perfect formula, balance is what makes YOU feel a little less crazy in life. Everyone's formulas will look different and you've got to experiment a little to find yours.

Before I had a kid and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” on repeat in my life, I had a schedule that consisted of days and time that were all my own. As an entraupeur I could schedule meetings whenever I wanted and work whatever hours I felt like. The biggest balance challenge for me was when I would fit the nail salon and Starbucks in between my meetings.

Then I had a kid. The best kid ever! But the one thing he didn't bring with him from inside the womb was balance. He brought a whirlwind of things that was like chaos to my relatively balanced before baby life. I mean, some of it was totally awesome good chaos and other parts were the crazy chaos. You moms know what I mean. I had to find a new balance.

The first 6 months I was doing my interior design business and doing the baby thing…at the exact same time. It was a mix of cramming in work during naptimes and bringing him on design shopping trips for projects, always praying he'd stay chill. I'd even turn on “Paw patrol” and pour a pile of snacks in front of him while I made a phone call to clients hoping he'd stay quiet and distracted by this show about dogs that save pigs that escape around the city. It was crazy. I felt crazy. This was not my formula for balance.

So I got a babysitter from CraigsList. Just kidding. But I did get a sitter. Started as one day a week, then 2, then 3-4 as business kept getting busier and busier again and I got more comfortable leaving him to focus on one thing at a time. I still work nap times on the day I don't have a sitter and sometimes work after my little goes to bed to keep up with my growing business. But I found a formula for feeling SO MUCH LESS CRAZY. This is my version of balance.

Sure, this is time away from being a mom. But when I was trying to do both at the same time in the same room I was actually only being 50% mom and 50% working gal and 0% feeling in control. Now, when I'm at work I'm 100% for my clients. And most importantly when I'm home, I'm 100% mom to play trains with my kid while wearing a baseball cap backwards that somehow makes him laugh uncontrollably. I like to think he will grow up valuing his work, following his passion with the right amount of hustle and making time to be fully present with friends and family in his life. And I hope he learns that from me in this season.