When E was 8 weeks old, I went back to work part time. But as I worked for an ad agency with networked computers and servers (and email, the best invention of all time), working from home was a total option. Plus, I'd always had side clients who couldn't afford agency rates, so between the regular paychecks and the freelance work, I had plenty going on for a new mom who really wanted to work from home.
For awhile, anyway. Loooong story short, and without placing any blame one way or another, the agency and I eventually parted ways in January of this year.
At first, I freaked the &a@#! out. No regular paycheck? No health insurance? Hubby was working for a local sports team, and it was definitely a job for a single 20 something, not a man in his 30s trying to support a family. But we support each other, because we're a team (seriously, I should make us T shirts for the amount of times we've reiterated this to each other the past year). So we talked, we freaked out together, and we realized that we'd make it work, no matter what. We had savings, we had motivation, and we had each other. And we had moms willing to help how they could—one subsidized rent, the other E's (incredibly pricey, but that's for another post) insurance. Thank you again and eternally to you both.
And then, because this is how things tend to work, a new job fell into his lap. A good union job with incredible benefits in a big company with plenty of room for growth. But it's also at the low end of the totem pole for now, so he's not making enough money for me not to work.
So, that. Not working has never been an option for me, anyway. I've got seven years of full time college education, two degrees, and enough debt to tell me that not doing what I love and pursued as a career would really just be, well, stupid unfulfilling.
Plus, I love E. He's incredible, he's amazing, he's breathtaking. I love being his mom. But I am still me, first. I decided to become a mom in addition to—as a part of—being me, not to redefine my life. I have the utmost respect for women who want and are able to be stay at home moms…it's just not for me. I need to be creative. I need to share the talents I've spent the past 10 years honing with other people. And I need to do it for a living and feel like I'm helping to financially support my family.
And so now I'm a full fledged small business owner. Sole proprietor, according to my taxes. I get to work from home, I get to work part time, and I get to do what I love. I've been on my own for almost a year now, and I've never been happier. I've added clients locally and nationally, small and large. It's been, in a word, great.
Is it hard? Oh my god, unbelievably so. I work in an industry with deadlines, and I've got a 20 month old son with plenty of deadlines of his own. And his come first, but I'm not about to tell my clients that (though the vast majority of my clients ARE parents, as well as small business owners themselves, so I really don't have to). He has needs. They have needs. And I constantly have to find ways to balance that.
Priorities, people. He's showing me leaves.
We struggle financially, seeing that some months I'll get 8 checks and some months I get maybe 2. I miss the stability of a regular paycheck, but we're making ends meet, so that's really all I can ask for at this point. Plenty of small businesses fold within the first year, and knowing that, I can hold my head up and say we're doing just fine.
But I'm still really looking forward to daycare when he turns 2. Mama needs a nap herself now and then.
~ Pam Huber of Seriously Yum
Need logo/branding help? Brochures or business cards? Invites or other event collateral? We recommend checking out facebook.com/PamHuberDesigns or pamhuberdesigns.com for more info. And Pam can always be reached by email at pamhuberdesigns at gmail.com — she's great to work with and perfect for small business owners (just check out our cool logo on this site!).
Since we're talking books this month on Salt & Nectar, we thought now was the perfect time to share the newest book from a dear friend of both Sarahs — Jenny Feldon of Karma (continued...)! We are the next stop on the virtual blog tour promoting Jenny's new book Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo.
Here's the summary:
KARMA GONE BAD: HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE MANGOS, BOLLYWOOD, AND WATER BUFFALO is what might happen if Carrie Bradshaw wrote Eat Pray Love—a memoir of culture shock, self-discovery and transformation, in one of the most inspiring places on earth.
New Yorker Jenny Feldon had only been married for a few months when her husband came home with news that would change their lives forever: They were being outsourced. To India. Effective immediately.
She thought she’d be living a glamorous ex-pat life. Instead, she found herself asking questions she never thought she’d face: Can you wash your lingerie with a coal iron without everything smelling like a barbecue? How do you deal with having servants? And how do you adapt to a “home” that doesn’t seem to have a place for you in it?
Honest, hilarious and hopeful, KARMA GONE BAD awakens readers to the possibility of what can happen when we let go of our expectations and learn to take joy in life’s smallest moments—to “love life for the mangos.”
From Sarah Stewart Holland:
I met Jenny at BlogHer this summer and we had an instant connection. I thought maybe we were soul sisters (and still think we probably are) but after reading her warm, engaging memoir I've realized I'm probably not the only one who loves her instantly.
You root for Jenny and her new ex-patriot adventure from the first page of Karma Gone Bad. You want her to connect with her new neighbors and her new friends and her new culture. As she faces struggle after struggle, you stay on her side, despite her own (admittedly) bad behavior.
In fact, I think Jenny's willingness to admit her own weakness — to expose her own vulnerabilty in facing a life she never expected — is what makes her story so special. This wasn't a novel filled with rose-colored visions of moving to a new country and finding passion and romance. This was the story of real woman facing the journey of a lifetime — a journey filled with as much disapointment as success — with the man she loves.
Jenny made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me enjoy every page of Karma Gone Bad!
Follow along on the Karma Gone Bad Blog Tour!
11-Nov- Laura Rossi
12-Nov- Baby Zone
14-Nov- Back ‘n Groove Mom
16-Nov- House of Prince
17-Nov- The Top Shelf
19-Nov- Perfectly Disheveled
20-Nov- These Little Waves
21-Nov- Alexandra Wrote
22-Nov- Practical Parenting
I see a California and Kentucky DIY in my future.
Do you think maternity leave should be paid?
A chic update to my old school sneaks.
Giving to give.
Child Tracker: Do or Don’t?
Gargling with coconut oil.
~ The Other Sarah