It has been a year and two months since we have added a third person to our lives and business – Jaxon Pierce Gray joined our team November 7th, 2013.
(image by DavidMolnar.com)
It seriously has been such a blast having a kid, but as with any new addition to a family, there’s always adjustment that takes place. Many of you have wondered how we are making it work and so I (Jody) thought that we would dedicate a blog post to share not only our journey of adjusting with Jaxon now being a part of our lives, but I also wanted to let other full time moms who are also business owners share how they are balancing the act of being mom and business professional.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a… business!
I always thought that I would be one of those women who needed a career once I had kids… just for sanity’s sake. You know, trading the shirt covered in spit up for a cute top and have some good ‘ol adult, human interaction.
Then I had our first kid and that all changed :)
(image by DavidMolnar.com)
A little over a year and a half ago, we found ourselves pregnant, and because we had no idea what to expect, we planned and prepared to take a few months off once Jaxon came into this world. Our little Jax was born, and it was a fun time of stepping away from our business and just being able to focus on this new little person in our lives.
Soon, it was time for both of us to head back to work. Zach was ready to go at it (honestly, he was getting a big stir-crazy) and I was ready too, but it was way harder than I expected. For those of you who may not know me very well, I’m a type A personality. I love being focused, I love things being done right and perfect :), I love tasks, To Do lists, and I love getting up and working and ending the day knowing I worked hard and gave it my all, and of course checked off my little boxes on my To Do list! Checking off To Do boxes means I accomplished something that day!
Weeeeeeell, let’s just say with a little one that all became a LOT harder.
I would start the day with these grand goals of accomplishing all these tasks, and feel frustrated at the end of the day when I only completed one task because my time with Jaxon didn’t go as anticipated. Even with the great sleep, eat and wake routine he was on, it still flexed so my work time wasn’t set in stone every day, so that would throw me off because I couldn’t work at the specific time I had in mind (expectations!). So then, I’d put him in a bouncy seat facing me but he’d coo and make noises here and there and it kept pulling my mind and attention away from the work I was trying to get done. And that of course, didn’t make me feel good either!
My son was familiarizing himself with my profile instead of my face and ME.
And then it got really bad.
I started getting frustrated not at myself or at work, but at my son.
As soon as that happened, I knew something had to change, but I didn’t know what or how.
I remembering posting this image online and saying the below:
I love this little man so much, but I am definitely relating to the other women out there who work for themselves at home and have to get stuff done but also have kids who need them simultaneously. Luckily, I’m not alone here and have Zach, but I am definitely in the midst of this struggle and do NOT like my focus and attention being divided between two important things (one a bit more important than the other :). I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. Looking for the happy medium…
Quite a few women wrote some great encouragement, and some of the comments really stood out that I would like to share for those of you walking through the same struggle:
“True success is providing for and loving my family deeply. The evil one wants to steal those precious moments with you. Be on guard.”
“God has given us women a VERY important role when he blesses us with a child/children. We need to do absolutely whatever we can to make sure we raise them and train them up to be lovers of Christ and we need to set that example through not only our words, but our actions. Parenthood is the most important job you will ever have in your life and they aren’t going to be little for long. You will never get these years and moments back. Ever. Now, I’m not saying you should quit (obviously) but thankfully you do have Zach. I would seek The Lord very strongly about where He is leading you for the time being. Here is a little poem that is hanging on my girls bedroom wall that I read often and it has such a huge impact on my heart: ‘Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow… For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs… Dust go to sleep… I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.’ “
I reminded myself: Jaxon was important. Jaxon is what matters most.
Not my To Do list.
Not my job.
Jaxon is my To Do list.
Having Jaxon was (and is :) a gift, and the whole reason we work for ourselves is SO we can have the flexibility to honor what is most important – our son.
I don’t want to leave my kid five days a week so I can work and get my “adult” time in. I thought that would be me, but that’s not me. My calling is him. (And to those of you who have day jobs: please hear me out – I’m not saying you’re a bad mom. We all have different paths for us and there is nothing wrong and it’s totally ok if you are a mom who has to go to work every day. More power to you that you are able to do that. Luckily, there are amazing care givers out there who can love on our precious kids while we do work!)
I would love to tell you the ways I made it work. I would love to tell you all the tips and tricks that enabled me to miraculously balance being a full-time mom and a full-time business owner all by myself. I would love to tell you how I rocked it. But I can’t. Yes, I made it work, but not in the way I initially thought.
After a lot of prayer, talking through things with Zach, and speaking with a few mentors in my life, I made the decision that I needed to pull back from the business. Not completely. Our business is “Zach AND Jody” afterall, but there were things that I could let go of (ouch! So hard) and entrust in Zach’s hands as well as to our office manager.
I could already see Zach being willing to step up to the plate and start to take over tasks and responsibilities that I always took care of (who is this man and what have you done with my husband?). God was beginning to show me that I could step away from the business a few days a week and it wouldn’t fall apart.
A hope began to spark…
We could actually maybe make this work.
Here was what we did:
#1. Selected days that I would be Business Owner and would work in the business
#2. Hired a nanny for those days
#3. Designated the remaining days for me to be Mom
We decided I would work two days a week (Tues & Thurs) and those would be the days our nanny would come to the house and watch Jax.
The days our nanny isn’t here, my To Do list for that day is to be Jaxon’s mom. To love on him, nurture him, and be there for him. He is my top priority, he is my To Do list. And hey, if he goes down for a nap and there’s a few things with work that I can catch up on or check in with, awesome, but if I don’t get those done, no worries, because it’s not on my To Do list that day. It’s a bonus.
This really helped my head space and has been amazing.
It’s crazy just how changing the expectations on myself has made a WORLD of difference. When I work, I can be fully devoted to work, and when I’m with Jaxon I can be fully focused on him.
Was the transition easy?
Yes and no. It’s always hard bringing in someone to watch your kid because first off, they aren’t you, and also, they don’t know your child like you do (at first). They can’t tell the differences between their cries, they don’t know that when your kid makes this certain face he needs something in particular, or whatever. It takes time to communicate everything and for them to begin to understand your child. So that was a transition to be made. Once it’s made it’s AWESOME. Jaxon adores our nanny Makinze and the days she is over are great days because I know Jaxon is in good hands and I can focus on work (she even does some extra house cleaning for us, which is amazing and so helpful).
(Jaxon and our nanny, Makinze!)
The transition of letting go of some tasks was hard (and still is) and sometimes it takes every fiber of my being to try and not micro-manage our business but I’m trying to get better.
So that brings us to the reality of where I currently am with functioning as both mom and business owner. My time is limited. How do I practically make it work?
I know I don’t have it figured out yet (heck, I’m only a little over a year into it) so I thought that in addition to me sharing some practical tips, I thought that I would enlist some other mom’s to share what they have done to help make this work!
Stay tuned for Part II where I will share the Top Tips for Mom-tographers!
Can you relate to what I shared? I’d love to hear from you and engage with you in the comments below :)