It’s officially nine months since I became a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur (mompreneur) after being in the corporate world for more than 12 years. Some people ask, “Why the heck did you leave your job? You were very successful…you were travelling the world.. you had a high-paying job.. and you decided to stay home and look after your kid?” OR “Oh wow you’re lucky, you get to be with your child 24/7! So what is it like? I wish I can do that too someday…” Yes, I get mixed reactions.
I’m not here to tell you that being a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur is better than being a working mom. Each journey is different and equally fulfilling in its own way. I’m as proud of the career I built as a corporate learning manager for years, which also contributed greatly to who I am now as a mom, and also as a budding business owner.
What I wish to share are some of the golden nuggets that I’ve learned so far in this crazy, beautiful journey as a MOMPRENEUR (mom+entrepreneur), of juggling motherhood and a home-based business. I hope that this might spark a thing or two if you’re in the same journey now or aspiring to.
Lesson #1. NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. Let’s face it. Society still finds it a bit odd for stay-at-home moms to be ‘working’ in their own terms. I see a shift amongst women my age who are not just wanting to be dedicated parents, but also aspiring to be successful career women at the comfort of their homes. Some opt for more flexy hours or those which allow them to work-at-home. The rest choose to be self-employed or become business owners and even have more freedom to manage their time running a household and a career. Whatever path it is that you choose, never be ashamed about your choice. It may not be considered as a profession to some, but if it is a new career or calling that you love, then be damn proud about it!
Lesson #2. LIVE YOUR PURPOSE. And help others live theirs too. A recent Harvard University commencement speech of Mark Zuckerberg stuck in me when he said that it’s not just about finding and living your own purpose, but it’s about helping others live with purpose too.
Most of us start a business to create other streams of income. To me, my reason is to improve my family’s health, and have more time with my growing son. So when I stumbled into the right opportunity that fits my values, I decided to take on the entrepreneurial journey. As my organization grew and more people became part of my team, my purpose eventually became bigger than myself. It wasn’t just about my goals anymore, but my team’s too. I hear their stories, their struggles, their aspirations, their BIG WHY for doing this. And their journey has become my journey too.
I recall one of my team leaders from London, a mom, who works as an International Benefits Manager, when she told me after a couple months of doing the business that she would like to become a life coach and start her own website where she can write her thoughts and help other people design a life they love. Her mompreneur journey led her to a different kind of purpose. Seeing her starting to fulfill her lifelong dream and nurture her passion is beyond me. I felt accomplished at that moment. Success in life is truly not about what you have or what you do, but what others have become because of you.
Lesson #3. FUEL YOUR PASSION. LET YOUR PASSION LEAD YOU TO GROWTH. What is it that excites you? What gives you extreme joy when you do it? Do what you love and love what you do. And evolve while doing it.
I’ve always loved to cook. I grew up with memories of home-cooked meals and home-baked birthday cakes by my mother. I used to watch those celebrity cooking shows in Food Network for hours and imagine right after how I can recreate their dish and give a personal spin to it. I got hooked into fitness too. I embraced yoga for a couple years when I was in Singapore. I worked out during office lunch hours, and even did prenatal workouts throughout my pregnancy. I also loved photography. I even took a basic photography lesson and since then been practising behind the lens.
When I quit my corporate job and eventually had more time in my hands, my love for food, fitness, and photography grew in me again. I wake up each day looking forward to making meals for my boys, taking pictures of it and sharing it in social media. Just being able to create a healthy, pretty dish and share it to others gives me a sense of accomplishment, and identity. I’m able to express my feelings thru food and now, thru my health and fitness blog where I share my daily inspiration to my followers.
A few months ago I decided to start my own website but I didn’t know a thing on how to do it! So I found ways to learn how. I completed Marie Forleo’s B-School which is an intensive business program for online entrepreneurs. I gained so much insight from that 6-week course that no book can ever teach. Best investment ever.
It’s never too late to learn something new. Just because you’re out of school or the corporate world doesn’t mean you should stop training yourself. Education never stops, especially for moms like us who are set to build their own empire!
Lesson #4. GET STARTED! Don’t be scared that you don’t know everything about what you’re about to do. “No one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them.” Says the great Mark Zuckerberg in that same speech. I told you I was utterly inspired after listening to that! But he is right. A ‘eureka’ moment is a myth. The only way we know if an idea will work or not is if we actually do it.
Insights without action are worthless. When I started my entrepreneur journey, I was of course scared! But when I began to just learn, and apply one thing at a time, then those actions slowly cured my fear. Now, when I have new people on-board my team, I let them focus more on small, consistent actions everyday to help them get to their big goals. In that way, they also see and celebrate small wins along the way.
Lesson #5. BE KIND and BE GRATEFUL. Be kind, first to yourself, then to others. Be your harshest critic but be your own biggest fan as well. Everything starts within YOU. No amount of self-help books or motivational videos can ever fix the way you value your self.
When you are kind and forgiving to yourself, you radiate that to others around you—to your spouse, your kids, your friends, your community. You manifest POSITIVITY and GRATEFULNESS. Because you feel you are enough, you don’t feel like you are at a lost end. You feel you have more than you need. You see life as abundant and you become more thankful for the little things you have.
I remember in my first month as a stay-at-home mom, it was almost Christmas and I was seeing social media posts of my friends and colleagues having their office parties and D&D (dinner and dance). I felt a hint of envy while I was sitting in my couch, in my jammies, feeding my resistant toddler. Then a few moments after, my little boy just hugged me and kissed me for no reason, and gave me that heart-melting look and smile that only a fellow mother could understand. And right that instant, I knew I was where I needed to be. You see, it only takes a split second to change our mindset. Whether we think we are blessed or not, it’s entirely up to us.
So that’s my top 5 learnings in my journey so far. I’m still new at this and I’m no better mom than you or anyone else out there. Whether a working mom, a stay-at-home mom or a mompreneur, each of us have our own journey. Our story is unique, and that’s what makes it beautiful. Let’s celebrate motherhood by inspiring and empowering each other.
Leave a comment below and share your lessons too as a mom! Or better yet, share this to someone whom you think might need that little inspiration.
With much love,