The way a day sometimes unfolds for an entrepreneurial mom…

guest post by Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette + amyturnsharp.com

Editors note: I invited Amy Turn Sharp-writer, entrepreneur, inspirational mama, and all around beautiful woman to share this story with us for our motherhood theme. I first found it in November 2010 on her blog and it was the first time I had read a piece of her writing. It’s raw honesty and truth went straight to my heart and I’ve been online stalking Amy ever since. You should too-it’s not often you find someone living their truth so passionately while also building a successful product line for little ones. I love the dichotomy and how Amy brings it all together so that both of those pieces fall into place and complement each other. This story is a gritty, real snapshot of mamahood at it’s most difficult, cursing and all (so censor it if you need to), a day when you’re just trying to get through to bedtime & things fall apart around you. For any mama who has ever had a day like this, you are not alone….

amy turn sharp, little alouette, entrepreneur stories, mothering and small business

I am more than honored to be on this gorgeous amazing space. Jessika has created a paradise here- I find her a true thought leader in handmade and I am so pleased to share. I wrote this post last year right before the holidays when life was wild. I had a new baby in the house and needed to vent a bit. I actually wanted my friends and family to see a day in the life. I have loads of people in my life who see the amazing cool bits of my world through my two blogs {the speaking conferences/trips/blogging opportunities/shows etc} and I feel it important for them to see the reality of what it is like to do this- to forge out and make yr own way in the handmade world. It is different. We started this to be with our family more and at times it has been so hard to keep the reigns of this true and steadfast, but we will. We will continue to keep our thoughts on the NOW of life. It’s all happening now! Right now. We can’t see the future. We don’t know what will become of all of these businesses right? We just have to hope and dream and enjoy the freedom and flexibility we have to be carving out a handmade life. xo

The way a day sometimes unfolds for an entrepreneurial mom who is not wealthy. How sometimes it’s harder than anything & even when you have amazing things happen to yr small business it’s still so hard you sometimes have to lie down on the floor and sob.

4:00 am You wake from crappy sleep to feed baby and sit silent on the sofa while staring at blackberry  and viewing twitter updates.

5:55 You hear the screams from Blaise, “MOM. I WANT TOAST!” every day. Like flipping clockwork.

6:50 You prepare lunches for everyone. You hate yrself for not following the instructions of all the mom organized bloggers you read. You NEVER do anything the night before. Brew the coffee. Take the baby up to sleeping daddy

7:30 You start to work on Little Alouette while boys eat breakfast. No one has ANY SOCKS CLEAN. EVER. They look at you like you disappoint them in laundry. You do.

8:00 You take Finn to school while Blaise goes back upstairs to annoy the hell out of Joe. Joe searches for underwear and deodorant like groundhog day. You silence him mid shout nearly every day with “ON THE COUNTER TOP. IN THE LAUNDRY BASKET.” Feed the baby.

8:20-10:ish You try and write and work without guilt- You ignore the all. My friends/family that you love call you and want to chat. You never can.

JOE LEAVES FOR THE WORKSHOP and you cry.

Feed baby. (2 precious days a week Blaise goes to preschool-he loves it but for you it is a source of annoyance & uncomfort as one of his teachers hates you- lol-fun times- whole other post someday)

10ish- 11am Light saber duels with Blaise while talking on phone (doing bizzz as Blaise calls it) while rocking baby in cradle. You rock back and forth at your desk even when the baby is asleep and untethered from you. Like a lunatic you rock. You play Lego and think about how early is truly too early to drink a glass of wine.

11:00-12:00 Free play time (really code speak for ignoring Blaise while you work some more packaging toys and getting items ready for post office) You play music loudly and it sort of makes up for it all. You grimace. You dance with them in dirty socks and messy ponytails.

12:00 LUNCH and feed baby. Work on invoices and other such bizzz things.

1:00- 3ish Blur of motherly duties while taking emails, phone calls, and moving money around from one account to another. Tiny amounts of money but it matters. It sucks and you wish you would have NEVER been an English major. You speak daily to yr children of lofty career goals for their futures. You know this is highly contradictory of what you really believe but being poor sucks. Real bad.

3pm Finn is home from school- brought to you by one of yr two darling neighbors. They tag team bringing him home with their kiddos because early on they sensed you were about to stick yr head in the oven from the stress of the day. They rock. You talk at them in high volume and speed, pleading them not to go from yr stoop because they are adults and they are smiling and pretty.

3-4pm It’s mofo MOVIE TIME. yay. I have come around a bit. YES THE CHILDREN NEED an hour of TV. We all do dammit. You descend upon Internet like a banshee with Scout strapped to yr body in a sling. You try and stay current on trends, customers, emails, competition, social media etc. because you know… it’s hard out there for in the digital marketplace. Truly. One day they might not love you anymore. You worry. You fret.

4-5pm Homework. You stop everything for interaction that is real and needed with the boys. One hour without the noise. Only sometimes you are so tired that you are cranky. And then you feel bad. And then you cry. You have impromptu cookie baking or play dough making session to temper the guilt. The kitchen is destroyed.

5pm-7ish. Post office. Errands. All the children running amok round the city. Daily. And then dinner. Unless you can convince the babysitter to come for a while. You text her with pleading texts like this

Tata! Please come over after school? PLEASE I LOVE YOU. I need you! PLEASE? xo u r the best.
She is 15 years old and super cool. You are sure she shows these texts to her BFF’s and they laugh at you.  You would have laughed at you back then. You are old and not cool.  You have too many children. You are still wearing flip flops in November.

7:00-8ish The witching hour at yr house. bath bed book book water book book water cry.
Feed the baby. Frantic texts to Joe. He will be home soon. You have not had a shower. You have on the same pants as yesterday and you slept in them the day before. Shit. You have to go to TARGET!

8ish. You sit at the kitchen table and look at yr surroundings. It is a mess beyond belief. You put the baby down for a little snooze and try and write. Joe comes home and his dinner is always cold. Poor hard working Joe.  He puts his hands on yr bent over like an 80 year old shoulders and you melt into the hard wooden chair.  You feel guilty because you truly did have plans to seduce your husband in the playroom hours ago. Now you are tired and want to have a bath and take Advil.

9pm. Joe unwinds. You wind up for more work. There are always more things to do. When you work for yourself and you are responsible for bringing in each cent you never stop. It’s like a disease.You pay the bills. The insurance that costs so much that you actually do for once LOL. The other bills. They are like a plague. You move the money around again. You put items in yr basket at saks.com just for fun and pull them right out like risky teenage sex. You feed the baby. You eat snacks. You chug a beer. You kiss Joe. You tell each other everything is going to be alright. You say things like, “one day we will look back blah blah blah.”

11pm You have to write. It’s what you love and you have to make time for it or you are not a writer. You have to read and burn bloody eyeballs. You have to do this because this is important you say. You fall asleep with phones and pens and pacifiers all around you. You pray tomorrow is a better day.
You drool into the crease of yr neck.

But in the middle of the night when you are awake… you look at them all asleep.
Even the newest one. So tiny and plump with possibility.
You look at them and some semblance of calm washes over you.
You take it and wallow in it if only for a moment.
It’s enough though. It’s enough love and faith to make you get up again.
It always is. And you cross yr fingers it always stays so sweet.
It always stay so goddamn sweet.

Can you relate? Share your entrepreneur meets motherhood thoughts in the comments + be sure to follow & connect with Amy on Twitter @amyturnsharp & @littlealouette

21 comments

  1. April says:

    Oh my god this was me! When my first son was born in 2007 I was a few months into a new business venture on a mission to leave my career as a Civil Engineer. When my son was born, not only did my business take off, but I had a colicky, cranky, crying baby that left me exhausted to tears and coping by drinking cola and eating chocolate every day. I also had a very active 21 month old daughter at home and would literally call my husband at 2 pm every day begging him to come home because I couldn’t do it on my own. He never did.

    I would go to sleep with the baby, have my husband wake me up at 11 pm and then work until 1 am or whenever the baby needed to be fed. I was cat napping, not getting enough sleep and started to become depressed from the exhaustion despite the fact that my business was becoming more and more successful.

    Four years later I had struck the perfect balance until I learned I was pregnant with my third child. I was terrified to repeat the above scenario so decided to sell that original business to focus on Anointment with a new outlook and setting more realistic goals and routines for myself. I again have a baby that I can’t put down, who doesn’t sleep much – but I have better mechanisms in place this time. My mom and dad live close by, and my husband is taking 4 months of leave from his job to help me at home. It’s made a world of difference.

    It’s not so glamourous sometimes! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Isa says:

    I love Amy + Little Alouette! I’ve never told Amy this but she is my inspiration for trying to make a living from home with my kids around me. I still have a print out of the Little Alouette Quit your day job story that was on Etsy and I vowed that I would work towards my dream of running a business whilst raising my kids.

    No, it’s not easy. There have been struggles and times I’ve sobbed from pure exhaustion but seeing my daughter taking her first tentative steps, seeing a tooth sprout right before my eyes, or my toddler discover something new are all things I would miss if I was in the office all day. It makes it worth it and I feel truly lucky I can do this. So thank you Amy for sharing this truth with us, you are so brave, and full of life. I admire you so much.

  3. margaret says:

    Amazingly honest. Thank you so very much for being open and honest. A lot of my days have been feeling just like that and I only have two little ones running around my feet. It’s nice to hear even us “poor” moms can ulitmately run a small business without giving up too much of our childrens attention- although a little extra sleep for a tired mama would really be nice.

  4. ncrew says:

    I can so relate to this post. Having a craft business that I love, a 5mth old infant and a 7year old, and studying for a professional exam, oh yeah, it seems the baby decides she needs me the most when I’m about to bead or study lol. All these while trying to be a good wifey is just plain overwhelming a lot of times. This post makes me feel so normal lol

  5. Jahje (Baby Jives) says:

    Amy this is so honest and wonderful – thank you for sharing. Your company is amazing and I am so glad that you do what you do so that kids and parents can have amazing handmade toys and teethers to bring art and joy into their lives.
    I discovered your store on Etsy a little bit before I opened mine for Baby Jives and you are definitely one of the people I look to as a total success model. Reading this even with all the challenges in your day I think the last line sums it up – It always stays so goddamn sweet. So true – all the challenges of being a mom, wife, and business owner can be overwhelming but in the end you get to have light saber fights with your son while you work. That’s what I remind myself of daily when the laundry piles up, the dishes sit in the sink, and the dust collects. I feel lucky to be making my work (and not sitting in some soulless office) and having time for the important things like kisses and hugs. It’s all crazy but it’s only temporary.

  6. Very brave and honest. Wllwritten and very, very moving – of course I can relate to this. Been there, many times, probably will be back there as well. But seeing the kids asleep in their beds truly works miracles. Thanks you for that important reminder. For sometimes i’m too tired to walk up to them and check on them, smell them, stroke them over their sweet little heads… So climbing that staicase right now! Thanks for all of this, Diana

  7. amy, i think you wrote about my days. thank you for sharing. its true those who don’t have their own business & young kids at home have no idea what it all entails.

    i have 4 young kids (2- 6 yr olds & 2-22month olds) i had to laugh about not showering or wearing dirty clothes because i have been there more so when i was nursing my babies every 2-3 hours. i joke about getting more laundry baskets because they are always full of clean clothes just begging to be put away. if i get 15 minutes to myself i squeeze in email, printing, drawing, etc. over a shower, laundry or cleaning the house. thankfully we moved close to my parents & my mom watches my kids 3 days a week because i fall so far behind in the other 4 days. although i can’t close the door or there will be tantrums thrown, but in the middle of designing or production i can hear the laughter, or see their smiles in my doorway, or they stop in to give me a hug or kiss or i hear something exciting which reminds me why i’m doing this. when its one of those, i’m falling behind, i’m so exhausted, i’m crabby and sobbing, i look in on my sleeping kids at night and the same feeling of calmness washes over me. then i am reminded all is right in my world.

    thanks again!

  8. Helen says:

    Thank you so much for this, sometimes we really need to hear just how much we’re not alone! My littles are almost at the preschool/school stage and I’m hoping those 2 1/2 hours a day of quiet starting in September will be magically productive. I’m a teensy bit scared however that I might just do the drop off then either go back to bed or have very long baths to make up for the last 6 years!
    I keep telling myself it will get easier (and it certainly is easier than the baby/toddler stage) and ultimately more profitable. And yes whenever my kids talk about being artists as both myself and my husband are, I try and steer the conversation to other more profitable career options. Like erm anything else!
    Thanks Amy, truly.

  9. debbie says:

    oh my goodness… so good. so true. so funny. i just read the whole post to my husband and said, “see, i’m not the only one!”. i’m a work at home mom w/ a creative bizz and 3 kids under 4 years old {and also an english major, ha!}… i can relate! i’m going to have to stalk your blog now.. thanks!

  10. claudia says:

    Amy cracked me up at Alt Summit and now she made me cry. I remember those days! Wearing your clothes that you slept in? yup. I would have killed someone for a shower! Amy’s honesty is great-love her and her friendliness is contagious!

  11. Sash says:

    I also loved the Little Alouette quit your day job story on etsy, and can’t believe Amy knows exactly what my life is like… though I only have 2 babies and a useless degree in interior architecture. Thanks for keeping it real!

  12. I can relate to so much of your day Amy. My children too never have clean socks- if it’s warm enough to not snow it’s warm enough for sandals around here. My little guy announces he NEEDS a turkey sandwich every single morning. I finally given up trying to explain that turkey sandwiches aren’t really breakfast food. I’m just happy he eats something and stops repeating that he needs a sandwich every 10 seconds. A full belly makes for a quieter kid in our house.

    I sneak in bits and pieces of printing, packaging, designing, writing and all that other toys biz stuff in through out the day.

    Sometimes I can even convince my 6 year old that yes, it is fun to help mama stuff boxes with packing material or that putting Priority mail stickers on boxes is awesome.

    Thanks Amy. I think it is hard to remember that it normal for our real lives to be chaotic and not super perfect.

  13. mel mccarthy says:

    Now THAT is keeping it real! Sending you a hug: one of those “hugs-from-a-total-stranger-who-was-very-touched-by-your-words-was-also-an-English-major-who-ended-up-crafting-and-BROKE” for when you have another one those days. Thank you for your beautiful creativity.

  14. Amy – you are simply a breath of fresh air.

    Every new mum should read this – whether they have a craft business or not.

    The images of perfect mummies and families do nothing for our confidence, but your writing lets us know we’re not alone and that we’re doing okay…

    …even if we are wearing yesterday’s clothes and feed our children chips and fish fingers.

    Your honesty is refreshing (and so is that of the lovely OMHG readers).

    PS I’ll be practising my social media training session in front of my 3-year-old tomorrow – he always gives insightful feedback such as “Mummy I’m hungry” and “I wanna watch teeveeee” (side order of guilt anyone?)

    Thanks again my gorgeous gals, Lucy xx

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