How Motherhood can become an Entrepreneur's Best Friend

    When we moved to my hometown of Louisville, Ky. from Miami Beach, Fl

    Everything was slightly blurred. And it wasn't because we went from from living in a tropical, warm, colorful oasis to a place that was dreary, overcast and still in the dead of winter even though we got her in March (2014). 

    It was new life that had our lives in a confusing, love-filled haze- 
we were new parents.

    Our son was 6 weeks old when we moved here... for the undeniable benefits of family support and more stable job opportunities for my husband.

     "Jess, you know your aunt Lisa has an old RAV sitting in their driveway and she said she'd like to give it to you," my Dad mentioned one afternoon shortly after we had moved to Louisville.
    "Why?" I asked, "I don't expect anyone to give me a car Dad. Besides, I have my own car. I don't think I'd even feel comfortable accepting that."

    At the time I owned what had been my dream car through my late teens-early 20's- a manual-transmission, souped-up-V-Tec-engine, black, 1998 Honda Prelude. It was great little car. But it was getting old, leaked a little oil and was a 2-door, the latter being the main issue since now, I was a mommy.

    I didn't know it was an issue though. It hadn't occurred to me.
    One day my aunt kindly explained, "Jess, I just think you'd be a lot more comfortable in an SUV, you're going to be getting that baby in and out of the car everywhere you go now and that's not easy in a 2-door."
    "But Lisa, I don't want you to give me your car, even if you don't use it anymore. That's just too much," I protested, her practical points slowly sinking in, like bubbles in bathwater.
    "The car has more than 200,000 miles on it, is wrecked on one side and honestly, we were going to donate it to the Goodwill anyway," she sweetly replied.

    Soon thereafter we transferred the car into my name and a couple weeks later I sold my Prelude.
    I didn't have the time or energy then to reflect on all of this, mothering an infant and all. But I do recall feeling quite stricken as I watched the young buyer drive off in my Prelude. Ouch, it did hurt but, it was 'best for the family...' our new, sweet little family. 

The move had also been 'best for the family.'

    I was quickly learning, although not quickly adapting to, the fact that everything from that point on, every decision I'd make, would have to be 'best for the family' and sometimes that would involve making choices I didn't feel were necessarily 'best for me,' or what I alone would prefer.
    Any woman that's graced with motherhood knows what I mean here; there's a lot of sacrifice that goes along with being a mom.
    However, 5 years into this journey now I've learned, lived and witnessed the most amazing thing: that which I 'sacrifice' (not even sure this is the right word here) is returned to me in the most splendid and surprising ways.


    I've always been an entrepreneur at heart, and wanted to carve out my own path in the world. 
    As a 4th grader I started the group, "The Earth Girls," which was dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues and funds to support worthwhile environmental non-profits. 
    However that didn't end well. I got in trouble at school for starting a group that made some people feel 'excluded' since I required members to take a knowledge-based test to enter my group and... many didn't pass. 
    I know, I know, a little too despotic right?
    Anyhow, on went my life, I had a few business ventures in my early 20's that never took off. I worked professional jobs, using my degree in Communications and I worked odd jobs over the years as well.

Then, in 2009 I went for 'the big one,' opening my own doggy daycare!

    My business was open for less than 6 months. It was thriving although I wasn't truly happy. I was working 12 hour days, primarily alone and felt... lonely. Anyone that knows me knows I love dogs and all animal life but, human beings are social creatures by nature- we need plenty of contact with our own species to feel happy and fulfilled and I simply wasn't meeting my human-interaction-quota!
    However this wasn't the reason my business closed. I had a roommate/business helper that robbed me blind.
    She had found the key to my safe and stole my life savings. It wasn't smart of me to keep a large sum of cash in my business but, I had my reasons for doing it.
    The girl took off. The police said the only way to 'prove' she did it would be to have her confess since her fingerprints were already all over everything since she worked/lived with me.

    It seems tragic and it was in the moment, as in falling to my knees, shaking-tragic but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. 

    The robbery prompted me to close up shop, go live with a friend (with my pets of course) for a few months, and save up enough money to move to my favorite city in the U.S.- Miami.

   During my four years as a resident of the Magic City I met the love of my life, who is now the father of our 3 year old son.

Now, back to the present:

   'Staying home' with my son has given me the opportunity to blossom as the entrepreneur I always dreamed of being. Becoming a mother was the best thing that has ever happened to me as an entrepreneur. Before Sam my attempts at making it in business on my own were futile. Each endeavor wilted. 

    But since the birth of my son in 2014 I've been an independent dog walker (success, same customer base for nearly 5 years, all considered friends now), I've had 2 shops on Etsy and sold stuff on eBay (successes as I had 5 star ratings with happy customers, although I didn't 'get rich' selling stuff online), worked and still work as a petsitter via Rover (success, 5 star ratings, happy customers) and, most recently, in Sept., 2018, I've started my own small (small for now that is) business, The Paw and Feather Plan! 

     I've learned that being in business on your own, for many, at least for me, is a process. 
Some people become overnight successes, sure, but most don't- it takes time- and when you're a mom first and an entrepreneur second, it can take a long time! 
    And that's O.K. I've learned to "think big, start small.
    I've learned to try to always put "gratitude before ambition."
 Yes, those 2 sayings are mine!

    Lastly, seeing my kid eat the healthy, yummy food I prepare almost every night for dinner gives me a lot of joy and pride. 
    That's something else motherhood has done for me... helped me become a better cook!

Learning math by baking!

Footnote: By no means am I saying staying home is for every mom out there, just like being a dog walker isn't for every mom out there! One of my friends blatantly put it best, saying, "I'd go crazy if I stayed home with my boys all day!" Oftentimes I remember her saying that, as often times I can relate! This is just my little story, sharing what has worked well, most of the time, for me and my family. :)
Lastly, a quick shout out to all the single moms- I know you amazing ladies don't typically have the choice to be a stay-at-home-mom. I admire and respect you.