Article written by Mary M. “Mickey” Swortze
As a mompreneur (i.e. a mom who is an entrepreneur) I have struggled to find where I “fit” in the world.
After the birth of our son, I worked from home handling the financial and human resources of our business. Because I wanted to be a hands-on mom, I was thrilled with the flexibility business ownership provided me to enjoy our son’s formative years. However, this move took me out of the hallway conversations, key meetings and exposure to our clients. At the time I didn’t mind, partly due to the sleep deprivation and lack of interest in hygiene, and because I had “done” the corporate track and I was excited to be on “mommy track” at this stage of life.
Fast forward to when our son entered full-time school and all of sudden I realized the impact of my decision. I wasn’t the stay at home mom working on craft projects in her spare time. And when I tried to join a group of moms like that, all I could think of was the work stacking up in my inbox. and how much I hate crafts and that the woman across the table really needed to stop whining about her kids’ behavior and just discipline them. Nor was I the full-time employee who was scheduling evening dinners with clients and traveling to trade shows. Although that looked a lot more fun, I was committed to being home and hands on. I had a foot in each world and didn’t fit in either of them, and a rare woman who understood my challenges at home or work.
During this time I would find a connection at work or with one of my son’s classmates mothers who understood half of my life (the “mother” part or the “worker” part) and that would fill some of the void, but I felt like I was a secret agent. Don’t talk to Susie about “work” when I go to the school carnival, or make sure not to mention to Bob the late nights due to the soccer schedule this fall. Geez, I wasn’t robbing banks in the middle of the night and afraid of getting caught – but the way I kept my “two lives” separate I might as well have been doing something covert.
Then a couple of years ago I discovered a couple of national organizations for business women that have been a breath of fresh air for me! I tried a couple of our local chapters and settled on Women’s President Organization (WPO). In this group, professional women share the 360-degree view of their lives – work, home and everything in between. Finally to sit across from another woman, experiencing very similar circumstances and share her struggles or celebrate her successes, and she mine, it’s life changing. I walk out of monthly meetings with renewed determination to tackle whatever is being thrown at me and a list of phone numbers to call or text for impromptu questions that may arise between meetings.
While I may be tempted to act like a secret agent around certain groups of people, I have found a place where I belong and can come out of the shadows and celebrate all facets of my multidimensional life.