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What a year as a mompreneur taught me about myself

Valerie Lenon Reed

This past year, 2015, ranks as one of the most revealing years of my life. To be honest, I think I’ve blazed through about 10 years of being in a fog of goals, dreams and accumulation. This year, there was no fog. This year, I was able to see myself clearly as a person, wife and mom.

Now at year’s end, I have to resolve to be OK with the most recent 365-day journey of my life. I embarked on the year as an entrepreneur and second-time-around mom with a husband who maintains a busy travel schedule. To say the least, I was stretched beyond my limits, but I understand my challenges served to clear the fog.

At the beginning of the year, my baby was just 7 months old. I was two months fresh from quitting my 9-to-5 job and was training for a new career working for myself. My husband travels a great deal for work, so I felt more like a part-time wife and single mother.

There’s a nine-year gap between my two children. I felt like a brand new mom all over again. I didn’t realize how exhausted I’d be, having to give so much of myself in different ways to more than one child. My oldest’s needs are so different than my baby’s. I spent a great deal of the year learning to switch gears at any given time — sometimes on the brink of emotional breakdown because I felt like I was failing. Then, there were those days when things played out smoothly and I felt like a semi-pro. Thank God kids are forgiving, but I also thank God I made it through the year with my children healthy and happy and with no knowledge of how hard Mommy had it.

I’ve always known that the normal route to a career just wasn’t for me. Entrepreneurship is even more challenging for a mom. Making the transition from working a traditional schedule outside of the home to becoming an entrepreneur is different for a single person than it is for a woman or wife with a child or children. The load of responsibilities is different, and so are the major considerations.

I learned that there’s no decision I can consider or any business or financial move I can make without first considering my husband and children. In fact, I can’t even plan my day or create a schedule for running my business without taking into consideration how it all will affect my family. By happenstance, I became a day care mommy entrepreneur. It was a struggle. All the basics of running my own business became so unrealistic, like spending time on the computer, responding to emails or sourcing new clients because caring for my baby 24/7 was my daily priority.

This year taught me so much about myself. I’ve been forced to face the reality of my strengths, weaknesses and work ethic. I’ve questioned my gifts and my talents. I’ve scrutinized my every goal and desire to figure out if what I’m pursuing could be a mere hobby or newest weekend trend. I’ve asked myself a million times if what I’m striving for will truly satisfy me and if I’m doing it all for the right reasons.

I’ve always said that the difference between the next person with the same dream and me is what they are willing to do to achieve it. I’m not always the most creative: Am I willing to take some marketing courses? I’m not the greatest at math: Will I need an accountant or financial adviser or are there some resources I can learn myself to stay on track? What will be necessary to do on my own before I have an assistant, team, staff, contractors or business partners? How will my daily schedule flow? Will I need to travel?

I also learned about faith. Prayer is part of the work that’s required to successfully thrive as an entrepreneur, wife and mom to more than one child. I’ve prayed countless times, asking God to make clear what He’s called me to do. Faith is an absolute necessity.

I spent 2015 as a wife, second-time-around mom and entrepreneur — an amazing journey on so many levels! This past year, I learned planning is 100 percent necessary for leaving full-time work to become an entrepreneur. I also learned prayer is essential to the sanity needed to be everything to my husband and children. And to top it off, I’ve learned to prepare as much as possible — but, ultimately, life is going to play out unexpectedly a majority of the time.

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