5 Tips on Balancing Motherhood and Business

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Gone are the days when women are “for home-use only”— days when women were expected to ONLY stay at home to care for the children and keep the house tidy. At that time, when a mother wanted to work, she’s forced to choose between motherhood or career. Being a millenial myself, I’m fortunate to belong to an era that wavered from this concept. I, together with millions of other women, have taken matters on our hands and created a work-life balance by operating a business.

Though it’s extremely rewarding (earning money, doing your passion, ensuing creativity, recognition, accolades), it’s not all peaches and creams. Behind all of these shiny, shimmering, splendid lies blood, sweat, tears and guilt. Yes, guilt. “Am I not giving enough time for the kids, the business?” I know because this has gone deep in me numerous times!

Albeit being fairly new in operating a brick and mortar business, I’ve somehow managed to create strategies that work for me; managing being a single mother (as of this time of writing) to a 4 year-old and handling the business.

Get organized & balance your time. Set goals for family and for business. Envision what exactly do you want in life; do you want to be a mother and also owning a business? Go for it. Follow through with your goals. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, points out in her book  Lean In, women need to approach their goals rather than pulling away; take that leap of faith. Also, when it’s time for the family, it should be family; when it’s for the business, then it is. I’m typically out around lunch time to take care of the business  and be back home at night ; I make sure that I take care of Saehee’s morning stuff and play/bond with her before bed time. It likewise helps waking up earlier in the morning than she does so I can have time to review goals for the day and set my self in the right track— ready to take on and make the day, my day. Haha!

Get children involved. Before opening the shop, I was already prepping Saehee’s mindset that mommy will be doing some things so we can have money to buy her food and be able to send her to school. Although her young mind was trying to comprehend, there were still instances that she would not let me go and ‘fight’ for attention. I decided to bring her to the shop so she can see what mommy is doing to earn the money; being the caring and diligent little girl that she is, she ended up insisting to help in small work loads like handing the plastic bags when customers purchase, arranging the clothes etc. Children love it when they feel that they’re a part of something; it might seem like play to them but they’re actually being taught at a young age some realities in life like earning money. Plus, it can be a good bonding time too!

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Hands me the clothes while mommy does product photography for online selling. #messyhairdontcare Haha! 🙂

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Mommy’s little helper

Get help. Asking for help in taking care of the kids while you work on the business does not make you less or a bad mother. It’s being smart. It’s cute to be a Superwoman but even she has to go back to her human persona and be, well, human. We are mortal beings. Mortals have limitation. Don’t be afraid of hiring a nanny or asking for a family or a friend to watch over the kids while you handle entrepreneurial concerns. Trying to do everything on your own, all at once, will drain your energy and your creativity/logical abilities will downgrade. I was in this situation recently and it wasn’t a pretty term.

Have & prioritize “Me Time”. Watching a movie, having a sip of coffee at a cafe, reading a good book , retail therapy (as long as it doesn’t hurt the bank account) or perhaps a bubble bath sounds good, yes? All of these, lady boss, should be enjoyed by YOU. Yourself. Alone. It’s important to do something that you love and enjoy (the type that doesn’t stress you) because it nourishes the soul. With the kind of environment that we have as mothers and business owners, the responsibilities at hand, can take a toll on us. This is where Tip numero 4 also comes into play. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can we give that to others?

Career moms are heroes among us who wear many hats. Whether they answer to the call, “mommy” or “boss”, they are constantly on the go. Personally, I take pride of this path that I took because at the end of the day, I look back and say, ” I wouldn’t have changed my life for a second”. Makes it all worth it!

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Mompreneur— Yay or Nay?

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Image from Stocksnap.io

 

I was in Manila from April 30- May 8 to:

1. Have a meeting with Ms. Ginger Arboleda, CEO of Manila Workshops, to discuss a venture that’s brewing (she’s freakin’ awesome, by the way! Yes, I’m fan-girling. Hihi!);

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With Ms. Ginger Arboleda, CEO of Manila Workshops; Content Creator at Mommy Ginger blog

2. Have some sort of a vacation…? Haha! And it was superb! Business mixed with pleasure, oh yeah!

Then, May 8 came and there was that feeling that I despise— I was torn between wanting to go back to Iloilo and staying in Manila. The reason? My little one, Saehee, is going to spend more time in the capital city upon my parents’ request. I had to go back to Iloilo because my shop’s waiting for me.

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I’m both a hands-on mom and a hands-on entrepreneur.

And the thing is, I want to succeed in both areas.

I was one of those little girls who would say, “When I grow up, I want to be like my mommy”; yes, also, literally being a mom. And I wanted it while I’m still young. I fancied ‘growing up’ with my kids. Haha! True enough, God graciously granted my heart’s desire for I brought Saehee into this world when I was 24 years old. Though it wasn’t in a favorable circumstance ’cause I was unmarried and financially not prepared for her arrival. However, having her is still one of the greatest blessings that happened in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Seeing your heart beat outside of your body is just priceless!

In between those moments, I also envisioned myself as a successful business woman (I wasn’t acquainted to the term ‘entrepreneur’ back then). I remember being asked in a beauty pageant that I joined years ago the classic “how do you see yourself 10 years from now?” ; and I clearly remember my answer, “I see myself as a business tycoon and providing jobs to people”. So far, I still have a few years remaining when I started to provide jobs to people. Not yet a tycoon, though, but getting there. Haha!

 My goal is to be triumphant in both careers and I know that IT IS POSSIBLE.

Juggling through being a career mom entails good time management, sacrifices and [trying] to focus. A few weeks upon opening the shop, I had very little time spent with Saehee— I am at the shop from 11 AM to 8 PM or 9 PM tops and when I come home I would usually cut short our bonding time because I felt really exhausted and it’s her bed time. It’s a good thing that I managed to make Saehee stay with me at the shop now (since it’s summer vacation) and it’s wonderful that she gets to see (i also explain to her) how we earn the money; she likewise helps out with light work loads and if she gets bored or antsy, we have her books/coloring books/tab to shift her focus. I had to make changes with our arrangement so that there’s going to be a win-win [situation]. If you find yourself in a similar situation that I was, putting a few tweaks on your footing will yield you a favorable result.

Sacrifices. Hmmmmm.. where do I begin? Haha! Anyway, I was talking to my boyfriend before I proceeded writing this blog post and he was telling me that he will go to the cinema after we talk to watch Captain America: Civil War (he’s in Poland); I told him, “Lucky you! There were a few movies passed that I wanted to watch in the cinema but I haven’t seen any of them until now”.  Also, I own a thrift shop that sells second-hand clothes from abroad but my closet is in its “loose” stage as of the moment. Haha! I give away unused/unwanted clothing every Christmas to some family members or charity but for this time frame, I wasn’t able to refill because my priority is to make the business work. I have to be extra mindful of my spending since I’m still on the process of figuring out things in this business. And, sleep? What is that?? Haha! Seriously, I’m a self-confessed sleep deprived woman. I resume all my unfinished business after I put Saehee to sleep and that means less [sleep] for this momma.

If I’m in the shop or planning on how to make it forward, I try to be present in the moment. That means, I block myself from worrying about other things not related to the business. If I’m with Saehee, I try to give her as much of my undivided time and attention. I have to be honest that this is still the area that I need huge improvement on. Nevertheless, I do the best that I can to serve its purpose.

Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

This is the time that I’m mostly exhausted but I feel happy. I know that I’m finally accomplishing something not just for my family but for my goals, as well. I mingle with people from different walks in life, I (finally!) am learning and imposing how to be smart with money (yey Geline! Haha!), I get to be more creative, I pursue my passion and most importantly, little by little, help people by providing them jobs.

Being a mompreneur (mom + entrepreneur) is challenging, I’ll give you that. But if deep in your being you know that it’s what you’re set to do, give it a shot! Age doesn’t matter. Ray Kroc founded McDonalds when he was 52; Mary Kay Ash started Mary Kay at age 45. Even your status in the society won’t matter— Henry Sy, from a sari-sari store vendor to the “shopping mall king” of Asia; Lucio Tan who owns Philippine Airlines, Fortune 300 Tobacco (among 300 other businesses) are some of my favorites who have rags-to-riches stories.

It all boils down to YOU— what is it that you want? What are your goals? Start from there (we all need to start somewhere, don’t we?) and work your way up.

Tara! Let’s go for our dreams!

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Why I Love Thrift Shopping And Why You Should Too!

 

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Credit goes to photo owner

I vaguely remember the time that I was introduced to the marvelous world of thrift shopping or “ukay-ukay” for us Filipinos; but boy did I fall in love with it! It makes me shiver with a lot of blood pumping on my system each time that I find myself on my way to thrift shopping, almost like being in a long distance relationship and you finally meet the love of your life in person! Or, maybe just seeing him/her after a long time of separation. Whatever, but you get what I mean right?

To fully understand my fascination with this bustle, I’m giving you my top seven reasons why I love thrift shopping and why you should too!

Mother Earth- friendly.  We’re all aware of the capitalist modes of production— produce at high rates with the lowest cost possible. These procedures have been extremely detrimental to the human life and the natural world. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle. You can donate clothes and buy more clothes, eliminating waste in the process.

Economical. Have you heard of the saying, “More bang out of your buck”? I guess this was tailored to thrift shopping. Let’s be honest, most of us go thrift shopping for this reason: bargains. The last time I went thrift shopping, I spent 200 PHP (approx. 5 USD) with five items on my hands; whereas if I went shopping for brand new clothes, that amount wouldn’t even make me purchase a single item that I like!

Finding designer or high-end brands. Yes, and at a fraction of its cost! Personally, living in Iloilo (Philippines), we don’t get a lot of designer or high-end brands in malls. My eyes get big whenever I see at thrift stores Armani Exchange, Dolce & Gabbana or perhaps J. Crew pieces that I like; but wait ’til I discover that it only costs 100 PHP (approx. 2 USD) per item! I cry. Seriously.

One-of-a-kind pieces for fashion. Purchase clothing from malls and you’ll most likely run into someone wearing the exact thing. Thrift stores have a more diverse assortment of clothing. Also, with these pieces that you can find you can definitely mix and match, discover your style and have a unique one, too!

Hunting for treasures. There’s something about entering a thrift shop that is just packed with potential. Shopping for second hand lets you dig through the racks for your personal treasures; and since there’s still a little bit of stigma associated with it, there’s not much competition as there should be for designer brands or vintage items that can add a spike to your fashion statement. Then, you can find items that are no longer being made.

Instill good shopping habits to your children. For parents, taking your kids to thrift shopping is passing on to them knowledge and a strategy of finding good, quality products while saving money.

Fun, fun, fun! I don’t know about you but digging through the racks and trying to think of creative ways to style clothing is fun for me. There are items that only need upcycling or re-fashion and they’ll make a bad-ass addition to your fashion collection. It can be a good bonding moment with family and friends,too!

I’m sharing to you my latest “Ukay” finds and how I styled them together:

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Black basic tee from Uniqlo, chunky black & gold necklace from a boutique called Gorgeous, huge faux gold watch from Von, white worn-out jeans from Elegance. I like wearing basics because I can have fun experimenting it with accessories and it definitely looks classy.

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