Confessions of a self-employed mom

Feb 6, 2018

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It’s 9 a.m. I’ve already dealt with a kid drama, a pet catastrophe, AND written a press release.

Yes, I’m a “mompreneur.” That’s mom combined with entrepreneur (or in my case, solopreneur).

I started my business 18 years ago, before the kids came along. I’d always been the independent type, the one who wanted to go her own way.

I paid my dues in the corporate world, working in full-time roles for several companies and at an agency, even a non-profit or two along the way. But, in my mind, it had always been about launching my own business, hanging out my shingle.

When the time felt right (let’s face it, if we waited until we were actually ready, would it ever happen?!), I did it—I left my full-time job and struck out on my own. Once things got on an even keel and I knew my business would be successful, we decided to start our family. Our son was born—and I couldn’t have been happier. I could stay home with him and still serve my clients. It was a dream come true.

A few years later, my daughter came along. Once again, I was so happy to be able to stay home with my baby while still doing the work I love.

Although it’s a great fit for a working mom, does working for oneself and being a mom always mix? Not all the time.

Like the time I was on a conference call, and the baby started wailing (thank goodness for the mute button). Or the time I had an important strategy meeting and the sitter canceled at the last minute (that’s what grandmas are for). Or that day when I was on the phone with a brand new client, and the kids decided to have a major blowout argument before I could get out of earshot (good thing the client had a sense of humor). Yes, I’ve literally run from room to room with my laptop and my phone in hand to escape squabbling children.

Nah, not so good on those days.

But, I’m happy to report, that on MOST days, it does work out quite nicely. Juggling mom duties with my career as a writer and PR consultant has been one of the best moves I’ve ever made.

My kids are accustomed to their mom working from home. This means they recognize there are times when I can’t get them a snack or referee a disagreement. To them, it’s worth the wait to have mom at home. It teaches them a lesson in patience and respectfulness.

Another upside is that they get to see an entrepreneur in action. I hope the fact I started my own business inspires them to realize if they want to do something, they can. I was inspired by my parents who were both entrepreneurs. I remember they never worked a day for someone else when I was growing up. I’m sure it inspired me to work for myself.

And work-wise, I definitely get more done working from home. My office (with a door) is completely set up for me to be my most productive.

Some say working from home is distracting. I say working in an office can be distracting. That co-worker who wants to chat every time you get up from your desk. Those unnecessary meetings you get pulled in to. That well-meaning boss who just has to pop by your cube to ask about your weekend. Yeah, try getting some writing done in that environment.

So, does being a mom and working for oneself always go smoothly? No. Absolutely not. But, the trade-offs are worth it for those of us who do it—and love it.

Michelle Garrett is an award-winning writer, content creator and public relations consultant. Her articles have been featured in Entrepreneur, Freelancers Union, and she's a regular contributor to leading PR blogs Ragan's PR Daily and Muck Rack. She was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica.

Michelle Garrett

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience.