The Balancing Act: A Working Mom’s Story of Survival

This is my story of combining 3 kids (5, 7 and 9), 2 businesses, 1 husband and striving for sanity.

I certainly don’t have all the answers and I feel like I don’t quite get it all done every day. But I have a hunch that most women feel that way, too. Working moms think they are not getting enough done at home. Stay at home moms believe they are not getting it done the way everyone else does on Pinterest. Moms who work from home (like me!) feel constantly stretched in all the wrong directions and like your brain will never stop spinning.

I’m choosing not to let that thought process take a hold of me, though and instead, working towards surviving and thriving. {I think that’ll preach- John 10:10, right?} Here are 4 things that have worked for me and I hope they give you some encouragement.

Give up control.

I didn’t give up control of the company, but I have given up micro management and the control freak tendencies of my personality. When it comes to details, in general, we train our team, and then I let them do their job. Yes, there are mistakes (as there would be if I was doing that one thing they were doing) but my goal is to be their biggest fan. Period. These amazing people are the key to my sanity and the growth of our company.

This is a biggie that I had to work with personally and spiritually, as well. Let’s just say I had to have a Come to Jesus with Jesus about it. I was so into my kids and every tiny detail that I was killing myself. I’m not saying we should not be involved with what they do, see on TV or eat, but there is a median that you have to find that works best for your family. Here’s a perfect example for you: when our oldest son was a toddler, I would keep a calendar of what he wore, what he ate and a mental note of what toys he played with so I could rotate them at his eye level.

*Give me a minute here to stop laughing.*

*Oh law!*

*If I could bless my own heart from 10 years ago, I would. Bless it.*

We’ve come a long way, baby. This same child showed up to church last week in the gym shorts he’d slept in and a polo. And we got out of the car at church and I said, “What happened to those khaki shorts I gave you to wear?” and he said, “I couldn’t find them, so I just went with these”. And you know what? It. Was. OKAY. I’m not encouraging your hygiene standards to drop like a rock- like ours CLEARLY have- but those little things are not of the utmost importance to me any more.

Did that child go to church and was he surrounded and encouraged by people who love God and him? Yes.

Could he have possibly played basketball in the church gym comfortably? Double Yes. And that’s okay.

Invest time into friendships.

There are also fantastic friends who make it happen. One day, I was working at the store and got the call that our middle son left his lunch in my car. The same car that’s at the store I couldn’t leave. So a friend (Kyla the Amazing) was in our store shopping, heard me talking to the school, and said, “Oh, I’m headed that way. I’ll drop it off.” Y’all. That’s a good friend, because I know for a fact it was out of her way. But she’s a mom and she gets it. We also have friends for carpool, games, birthday parties, etc. Once your children outnumber the parents available, I would highly recommend loving on your friends and getting used to the phrase, “Can so-and-so ride with you to that party? I’ll take so-and-so to this practice.” This is a key to survival. Invest the time into relationships with your kids’ friends’ parents. If you figure out the ones that are a little bit goofy (or maybe ‘a little bit like you’- which for me is goofy) and you can team up with them- that is a secret of how it all gets done.

I have a lot of help.

I mean A LOT: there are amazing, wonderful people on our team who make it happen. First and foremost, I have a family and husband who support me 100%. Some days I work late, always early, on weekends, travel, etc. With planning and prep between us, Jason is magical and makes it work. {Girls, if you are looking for a husband, look for one who is not afraid to step up and be awesome. It makes all the difference.} We also have a housekeeper, a summer babysitter (for my non-babies- what’s the right word here?), 4 part time employees for Mint Julep Monograms and 15 showroom owners inside our store- Mint Julep Market. That is a large group of people making me look like I have my stuff together.

Remember how Kate Middleton walked out of the hospital looking like a model with her hair and makeup done (vs. how the rest of us looked like Marilyn Manson, but with greasier hair, after we delivered a baby)? And remember how we all laughed about her having a hair stylist and make up team at the hospital? Yes- it’s that. There is absolutely no shame in me telling you there are a ton of people helping me. Still waiting to look like Kate, but whatever…

This group, in general, just steps in as needed. They clean up the stock room at the store, call customers or take incoming monogramming orders. These are the people who sweep our office floor, organize the files on my computer or remind me to go to meetings- at school… for my own children… There is no way on God’s green earth that I could do all of this by myself. Period. Of course I did it all at the beginning on a much smaller level, but as our business grew, I slowly realized that I needed to sleep– and adding people to help you is the key to that. Finding the right people to be your team is the best thing you can do. They are rock stars.

erincobb-107

MJM staff at opening

Oh my word! I just realized I’m wearing the same sweater here! We can play who wore it best- because I win both times! hahahahah

Up top- the phenomenal Mint Julep Market Team (March 2015 with the help of the talented Erin Cobb) on the bottom- the incredible Mint Julep Monograms Team (October 2013 at the store Grand Opening).

I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

Last week the boys were at Camp Invention and our oldest son got up at the end of the week showcase and demonstrated his invention. Then he said, “I want to start my own company like my mom”. And then I became the puddle of mush.

o camp invention showcase

There is something about following your God-given dream that is super fulfilling. I am SO grateful- on every level- to be doing that. But I have wondered- oh 892 times- if I’m doing the right thing for my family- for our kids. This mommy works often and hard (I think all mommies would fit in that category no matter what you do)! But I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. (That is something I struggled with for years, so if you are currently struggling, I feel you! Hang in there!)kids workingKids pitching in to make it happen! September 2014

I’m praying to give our children love and confidence. I hope they find a marriage one day where they are on the same team. Above all else, I hope they get the chance to follow their dreams– even if- and ESPECIALLY if- they are hard and a little bit crazy. They get the crazy part honestly and I’m pretty sure we passed it down in full. 😉  

Hillary Dunham