6 Things I Learned About Being a Mompreneur

Where did you spend your morning? I spent mine rubbing elbows with some of the greatest mom- (and non/future-mom) bosses in South Florida. They told us about how they are able to be both kickass entrepreneurs and masterful moms. I’m going to share with you what I learned from them.

The panel was held at Brand New Mornings headquarters and was hosted by Gaby Guzman and Nadia Payan. Today’s topic was Entrepreneurship and Momhood, and the guest speakers were: Daniela Garcia, Nicky Dawkins, and Kay Richardson.

We were treated to some free delicious mom-shaped cookies (from La Romi Bakery) and coffee (from Cup of Jose Coffee), so the mommy in me felt right at home munching on her cookies, and the caffeine from the coffee meant that the writer in me was ready to learn and take notes. As a mom to an almost-three year old, a mom who wants to become a writerprenuer (yes, I made up that word), I hung on the speakers’ every word. And this is what I learned:

  1. Ask for help.

Kay inspired us to ask for help when we need it, “Don’t be afraid or shy to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all alone.” Ask family, friends, anyone who is willing and able to help.

2. Create your own space.

All of the panelists and the hosts agreed that having your own space(s) is essential to successfully running a business. Nicky disclosed that she rents an office space because working from home is too distracting for her. Another kind of space that is important is a space to meditate. Daniela has a sacred shrine in her home. Nicky has her own meditation space at home where she burns incense. And Kay meditates early in the morning outside on her patio. Mediation is an essential element of self-care that keeps these amazing mommy-boss machines running.

3. Organize and prioritize.

Nicky likes to organize her day by writing out a list by hand, “because it feels so good to cross things off.” She assigns different levels of priority to her tasks, and tackles the more pressing ones first. Gaby reminded us that one advantage of being your own boss is that you can organize your work schedule around important events for your child. Kay became an entrepreneur so that she could attend all of her sons’ football games and other important events. Being present at our children’s important events shows that we support them and that they are important to us.

4. Time management is key.

Daniela said, “While the kids are in school, you make sure to work, and only work.” Stay away from social media, leave those dishes in the sink, and work. Focusing on work while they are in school will allow you to dedicate quality time to your kids. Instead of trying to work and be a good mom at the same time and spreading yourself thin, make sure to block out a chunk of time for work, and a separate chunk of time for your kids, so you can perform each of your duties well.

5. Make sure to dedicate some quality to time to your kids.

Daniela suggests dedicating 20 minutes to only your children after they get home from school; the undivided attention that you provide during this time with strengthen your bond with them, and since they feel secure in their relationship with you, they will act out less, leaving you more time to get things done around the house or simply just enjoy being in the company of happier, more tranquil children.

6. Include your children.

Kay includes her children in her work. When you show your children what you do, and explain why you do it, they learn, and they are more understanding of the time that you dedicate to your business. Nadia described value of growing up as the child of an entrepreneur (her mom, Fatima Tricha Payan, is the owner of a Montessori school and was present at the event today): her experience being a part of running her mother’s business — sitting in on financial meetings, being a janitor, looking after children — taught her the intricacies of running a successful business. Daniela described how she has her daughters help her do chores around the house by making a game of it, “We play Cinderella, and they help me clean the house.” Including them in performing household chores will teach them the skills they’ll need to run their own household. Nicky told us, “My son is my job… I started my business when I was pregnant with him, and now my job is to write about him.”

I shared the main points from the meeting in no particular order, but the one that struck a chord the most was the last one: Include your children. As a fairly new mom, I have been finding it very difficult to integrate my daughter into my work. She is such a huge part of my life, and I’ve been struggling with the urge to compartmentalize my different identities. While my daughter is at school, I’m the writer. When she’s at home, I’m mom. I never thought to include her, and become mommy the writer.

When the meeting was over, all of the panelists and hosts stayed to get to know the attendees or answer any questions, I thanked all of them individually, and when I got to speak to Kay, she gave me some wonderful advice on how I can integrate my writing life with my mommy life: “When you’re writing, and she comes to see what you’re doing, give her some paper and crayons and tell her that she can write with you.” A beautiful picture formed in my mind’s eye of my daughter walking up to me with a curious expression to see what mommy is doing. Then I pick her up in my loving arms and share my passion for writing with her. My eyes well with tears at the thought, because that is the kind of mom that I’ve always wanted to be — an open book with open arms and a warm smile. I want to show her what pursuing a passion looks and feels like, so that hopefully, one day, she’ll have the courage, confidence, and a bit of skill to pursue her own — whatever it may be.

I am so lucky to have met such beautiful, talented, and strong women today — even among the attendees (Shout out to Josie and Heidi!). Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms that I had the pleasure of meeting at Brand New Mornings; you’ve made me feel like a Brand New momprenuer. And happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who took the time to read this.

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