I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom. I didn’t have anything against children, but I was career driven, selfish, and didn’t feel “the tug.” Once my first child was born, and I looked into his brand new, just-arrived-on-the-planet-eyes, I was transformed. Madly in love. Nothing else mattered. Almost 18 years later, I am still equally smitten. Now, as a single mother to two teenagers, I am sentimental, melancholy, excited, and humbled by this journey I have been given. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been deaths, disappointments, and divorce. But there has been so much connectedness, laughter, cuddling, sharing, meals, trips, lazy days, crazy days, traipsing around the zoos, aquariums, children’s museums, music lessons, sports, science expeditions….we have had ADVENTURES.
I get up every morning and drive my kids to school. There’s a school bus, which they take home, but this is how we started and what we continued to do. Getting up at 6am in the cold, dark mornings of winter is not my favorite thing, but I love the quiet morning with my son as I drink coffee, we chat in a relaxed manner, and make the 3 minute trek to school. Then I come home, and do the same with my daughter, who starts school a little later. These snippets of time are like jewels I am collecting. I know they will be gone, and we will evolve into new routines as a family. But in the meantime, I am acutely aware of what I have, and how much joy it brings me.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a business owner. (There’s a recurring theme here, in case you hadn’t noticed). But a business owner I became, because I had mouths to feed but couldn’t figure out how to incorporate traditional work with my desire to be around my children as much as I possibly could. My days are busy; filled with calls, emails, appointments and meetings. As the head of the RightTime KiDS Drop-In Childcare franchise, there’s a lot of networking, reading, researching, planning, marketing and relationship building that goes on. As a micro-entrepreneur with a skincare company, where I have the opportunity to partner with the doctors who created Proactiv and are now tackling the $3 billion + Anti-aging market along with acne & other skin issues, I am busy talking to people, sharing the vision and helping other would-be entrepreneurs reinvent themselves or secure their “Plan B” career objectives. I feel extremely lucky to have the flexibility I do, and to have found these opportunities that allow me to work from home, and be fully present for my family. But it really isn’t luck at all, when you think about it. It was a desire. A dream. A hunger for a lifestyle that offers me choices. It has taken an awful lot of hard work and discipline. The funny thing is, though, that it doesn’t feel hard.
I love RightTime KiDS. It is a brilliantly necessary concept. Parents can be SPONTANEOUS again. Days, Nights, Weekends. They drop their children off in a safe, happy, professional and very secure place where they have a blast and get to do the one thing most kids love: play with other kids! It has been a labor of fun and creativity. My kids loved to go when they were smaller. My son had his first job as a “junior staff member” at the North Raleigh location. My daughter planned her “playdates” at the center while I was there tending to business. It was a perfect balance between my personal and professional life. I am very proud of what the incredible staff and I, along with our courageous, smart, visionary franchisees, have been building. I am very much looking forward to seeing it grow, and believe that it is going to do just that. When you are having fun doing what you do, it doesn’t feel like “work.” It feels like “life.”
The busier I have become, the more alive I have felt. Although I adored being a stay-at-home mom, and think by being one I provided my children with a great foundation, I am also loving this professional version of me. When I started working with skincare, it was in part because the opportunity was too good to pass up. I felt like a stock option had been offered to me, with the one exception being that rather than be powerless to impact its success, I had the ability to make that stock soar. (And soar it has. What a wild ride so far!) With kick-butt products, patented innovative technology, ongoing training and support, millions of media hits each year, and international expansion on the horizon, industry awards including One of the Fastest Growing Companies in San Francisco, 2013 Stevie for Consumer Products (previously won by Apple!), Global Products Award (although not yet launched internationally), and the DSA Award for innovation and vision, this is exactly the right place at the right time. I am so excited about this business also.
As my children come home (by bus) and I am on calls or tapping away at my keyboard, we share a little about our days. (This seems to be my daughter’s time for communication and any emotional sharing; she seems to be focused elsewhere other times of the day). I love that my day includes them. I don’t know what it will feel like when they aren’t bursting through the door mid-afternoon, and I hope I have the courage to face that evolution without being too clingy. I can tell you this: when your babies are born, everyone tells you, “Enjoy it; it goes so fast…” And it does. It’s not a myth. You will blink, and they will be asking for the car keys. (They may do that now, while wearing diapers, but at least now you can still say “no”).
If you aren’t happy doing what you are doing (70% of Americans are NOT)….if you aren’t earning what you need….if you wish you had more time with your children, your spouse, your aging parents, your dog….then make a change. Take a step. Be courageous. You might fail if you try. But you definitely will not succeed if you never take the chance. There are many ways to create flexibility in our lives. Entrepreneurship is one of them. Your local Chamber of Commerce can guide you. (Our local chamber, the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, was very instrumental in my business’ growth). As can community colleges, and the many organizations out there whose sole focus is helping people to create, invent and grow.
I didn’t think I wanted kids. I didn’t think I wanted a business. Sometimes, we don’t really know what we want, or what will be good for us. I’m glad there were forces greater than me that lead me to a path I might not have chosen. I am loving my story. Do you love yours? Learn more about these opportunities at: www.righttimekids.com, and www.rtkusa.com. Or click Reinvent Me to explore a Plan B. It’s a new year, and a time for new beginnings. Are you ready for yours?