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Family and work: how do you juggle it all?

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This has been a big week for my wee company, “MA! motherhood with attitude.” We were featured in Redbook Magazine, which has 2.2 million subscribers! My biz partner, Tiffany, and I have been working the clock at both ends (me in the early mornings, her in the late evenings) to give this exposure “legs,” so to speak, and we really hope this opens some doors for us.

But in the quiet moments when this “glamorous” exposure finds me sitting alone at my computer, pimping the company to bloggers around the country, holding up my end of myriad fun-but-tiring online conversations, and I feel my third baby kick me in the ribs, I wonder….

Tiffany and I launched MA! on Mother’s Day 2007 after many months of pre-launch work developing our mission, our brand and our products. We are both moms and quite passionate about the work that we do through MA! (Our aim is to expose “perfect parenting propaganda” as pure hogwash.) But the irony is that this business, which is so focused on supporting moms, sometimes distracts us from our own mothering.

I know there are a ton of creative moms out there developing their own businesses and products and, from what I hear, they often feel the same way. It’s like this push/pull – we have a fundamental need to create something bigger than ourselves (and something outside the routine of our mommy lives), but at the same time we need to – and desperately want to – be good, loving, attentive mothers!

Of course, I find myself thinking of this dilemma more often as this insistent kicking continues inside my belly. I’m 18 weeks away from having a newborn, something I never expected! My girls are in school full days now and I have long stretches during the day to do my freelance work (which helps pay the bills) and my creative/marketing work for MA! When I think of adding a newborn to my life right now, I find myself asking the cliché that moms everywhere ask, “How can I juggle it all?”

But again, “How can I not!” Tiffany and I return to this dilemma often because we both so love creating together and we want MA! to succeed! Now, with this Redbook Magazine article, we feel a renewed sense of faith in what we’re doing. (“They like us! They really like us!”)

I recently saw that the New York Times published an article stating that this recession has forced moms to head back to the office. Earlier this decade, the moms who decided to stay home rather than work were called “The Opt-Out Generation” of moms. Now, they’re headed back to work.

This phenomenon supports something I’ve believed for several years now: motherhood requires the ultimate change-agent. A mother’s life requires constant flexibility as her children grow, as her family’s needs (financial and emotional) change, and as her own dreams morph to fit this liquid structure.

So, as one of the ranks of change-agent moms, I can honestly say that I look forward to the newness that this new baby will undoubtedly bring and I hope I can continue mining the well of creativity that MA! gives me.

At the very least, I’m quite certain that this new baby will provide a new round of material for me to write about, and hopefully that can translate into symbiotic, balanced, fun momentum for MA!

Guest blogger Janalee Card Chmel is co-owner of MA! motherhood with attitude and is a Denver-based freelance writer. She was shocked at the age of 40 to find out she was pregnant. In honor of her Redbook Magazine feature, she is offering Mile High Mamas readers a 25% discount off her hilarious products that are perfect for any of your mom friends. Go to her Web site and enter the code redbook1.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  • comment avatar JoAnn September 29, 2009

    I think, as mothers and women, we can have it all. Of course, the definition of “all” is always changing, isn’t it? 🙂

    I once heard that the secret to juggling everything was realizing that some of the balls in the air were glass and others rubber. The rubber once bounce when dropped. The glass ones don’t. It’s okay to let the rubber ones fall every now and then as long as you catch the glass ones. 🙂

    I’m glad to read the next installment in your saga! Thank you for sharing!

  • comment avatar Beckie September 29, 2009

    I found your article to be so interesting. It is so good to hear that other moms feel the same way when managing a business and raising children. I feel our generation of moms is so different from my mom’s generation (I’m 41). It seems as though my mom and especially my mother-in-law who raised 5 children, were perfectly ok with raising the kids, cleaning the house, making dinner. I don’t know for some reason I feel like I want to do so much more than cook and clean and sometimes I feel guilty and I should be at peace with just raising my children, cleaning and cooking. I am so conflicted with myself at times. I know I am capable of so much more. I think it stems from the ideas that were planted in me at a young age, that I will go to college and learn more, do more….yet when my kids where born I did not want to leave them and I wanted to be here at the house for my kids, oh I always tell myself when the kids are both in elementary school I can get so much more done….one day, one day!ahhh the confliction!

  • comment avatar Heather October 18, 2009

    You’ve eloquently stated the yo-yo feelings that moms who work at mothering and also work at something “bigger than themselves” feel. Thank you for articulating it so clearly.

    Beckie’s honesty about her conflictedness is refreshing. That frustrating struggle of always being in your head can be exhausting. A funny wise woman once said it’s like tuning it to KFKD radio. Another said, “Stop letting other people move the furniture around in your brain.” My own personal rendition is that my mind is in the spin cycle.

    Conflicted is the new mommy normal.

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