A Working Mom, Making It Work!
I was a touring musician up until I had my son at 38. And although I continued playing in bands, I wanted to provide some stability for my son. I had bartended, waited tables, and worked in part time sales, but I had no luck finding jobs in those areas. Years ago, I opened a vintage clothing store during a summer in Northern Michigan. I also had many booths, flea markets, and the like through the years. And, I have always loved thrift shopping! So making the decision to open “Grow Kid Grow” felt very natural for me and I felt our neighborhood really needed this kind of store. In the past, I had worked part time for a print & design company in downtown Los Angeles, and had worked with two great guys there. They became my partners and together we opened the store.
How did you manage starting a business, playing music, and being a mom?
When the store finally opened, my son was three. That was a tough year. I worked a lot of hours. But, at that time, my partners helped in the store. So, when I could not be in the store or if I had to pick up my son from preschool, they would run it. Before we opened, there was so much to do! So, often I would work all day, go home to see my family for dinner, then return to the store to work until all hours. Sometimes, I didn’t even make it home. We used to joke about the cot I was going to set up in the back. I was pretty darn exhausted! But I'm lucky to have my husband, a great dad, and huge support, too.
My husband and I married in 2009, the same year I opened the store. I remember people asking me how I did that and I would say “you know, it just kind of came together.” Then one day, my husband stopped me and said “Please stop saying that. I don’t think you realize it, but while you were opening your store, I nearly planned our entire wedding. It didn’t just come together.” I felt really bad when I realized that I was so caught up in “Grow Kid Grow,” I hadn’t noticed his efforts.
You adopted a second child in 2013. How do you maintain a healthy balance of work and home life with two children?
I don't think you ever really find balance. Some weeks you give more of your time to family, and some weeks it's to the business or other parts of your life. You have to be flexible. It helps to separate work life and home life. When I first adopted my baby girl, at two days old, I was grateful to be able to take a two month maternity leave. But that was only because I had an incredible store manager in Dani and two great employees to boot. During this period, I would pick up bags of laundry and huge bins of clothes to price. I would sit in my living room with my new born and a bottle, surrounded by bins of clothes and a pricing gun, price away, then drop the bins off the next day. But, one habit I developed from the beginning was to book all appointments, by phone, from the store. Although I check my email everyday, the wall calendar is in the store, so all correspondence and bookings happens there and I don’t have to take it home with me.
Any tips for new moms that are considering going back to work?
I am passionate about my store, and this is what worked for me. Find what suits your life. For me, the flexibility is invaluable and I LOVE my customers & serving the community. If you are intending on starting your own business, try to create boundaries, hire some great people to help you, and just be prepared to work your butt off the first year. Once you get through that first year, you can find your pace and your people and come up for air. But again, be prepared for that first year! It’s a tough one!