Entrepreneurial Role Modeling
Like more and more women in this recession, I became a stay-at-home mom by circumstance. I had a full-time job I loved which I was laid off from just as I was trying to get pregnant with my second child. I was afraid to step off the treadmill of income earning, and I quickly found a part-time consulting job in the same field. Taking the contract job allowed me the window to get pregnant (as a FT employer would be upset that a brand new employee suddenly had many doctors appointments and such), and it gave me a more relaxing pregnancy, keeping me “in the game” while we waited for what the recession would bring to our family. Upon the birth of my baby in 2009, the ad agency was facing tough times, and the gig was up. And that was that. I was a “SAHM.”
I love wearing blue jeans every day. Every night I am up multiple times with the kids, I am ever so grateful that I don’t need to be showered, dressed up, awake and articulate at work the next morning! I love seeing all the developmental milestones with my second child that I missed with my first. I am grateful that I get to hear about their school days the moment I pick them up and I have the time in the afternoons to make a healthy dinner. We no longer scramble to leave work to take sick kids to the doctor. My husband and I are lucky we’ve been saving and have held off moving to a larger apartment in order to keep our expenses lower.
Despite all these blessings, a voice in my mind reminds me I must work. I must generate. For every woman given the gift of making a choice in this matter, the decision is difficult and heavily informed by the experiences of their own mothers. My own mother felt fortunate to raise us full time for 12 years, as her own mother had to work through her life. However, when my mother was forced to return to the work force as my father’s cancer worsened, she really started over from square one. She landed at an amazing company and loved her work and colleagues, but she was not making anywhere close to what she would have made had she remained in the work force those 12 years. Meanwhile, my father, who owned a home remodeling business, was my entrepreneurial role model. I saw the good times and the bad times, but remember checking out job sites with him, going to the hardware store, and helping with office work after school sometimes.
When I started Me On A Tee in Spring 2010, it was a venture to make money, to learn, to keep my marketing skills fresh. It was important for me that it also be a way for my older daughter, now 6, to see products created and to be a part of it. Not only is she the model for many of the shirts, but she helps me open the boxes when they arrive and we look at the shirts together. She helps me at fairs sometimes, passing out cards or helping me at the table. I want her to learn what she can about business and sales and to feel a part of its success.
Not all small businesses survive, and hopefully Me On A Tee will take off. Ultimately, I hope when my daughters are old enough to consider their options for careers and motherhood, that they’ll remember us all helping to grow a fun business.
How did your parents and their experiences raising you inform your decision to start a company?