My son, Parker, turned 9 this week. I remember feeling worried when I was pregnant because Mimi & Lu was gaining momentum and I wasn't sure whether it would stall with a baby in the picture. I was past my due date and requested to be induced on a Friday so I could get back to work on Monday. This is the absurd thinking of moms who own small businesses.
My most memorable mom juggling moment involves one of the senior buyers at TJMAXX/Homegoods company. My sales representative was handling the meeting in LA but this buyer had some specific product questions and called my cell during the meeting. The phone rang as I was in the middle of changing the biggest blowout diaper imaginable. I knew I had to answer. This was a big meeting and she was a no-nonsense, hard-headed buyer. I was home alone and I'd have to handle this. With the phone squeezed between my ear and shoulder, I politely answered her grilling questions while simultaneously cleaning my son's diaper masterpiece. Here I was, having scored a meeting with this major retailer only to take the call sitting on the floor, hunched over my poop covered baby talking about gold, but taking care of poop. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I cannot believe this is how Im going to have this conversation."
I am sure everyone growing a business from scratch has a similar story. It's that sort of do or die attitude, that hustle till it hurts sentiment. And I found myself getting further and further into this grind and rush and empire building mania that I had never intentionally set out to do. I moved into a studio downtown, I had a team making the jewelry and shipping the orders and we were selling across the country and sprinkled throughout the world. It felt like I was running and jumping hurdles, simply because that's what came next. It was all in motion.
Until it stopped.
The doctor never said the words, Parker has cancer, because I knew the moment she said, “I'm sorry”. This would be where our world tilts and it never really straightens out. Things are just sliding around. When your world tilts, your perspective changes. I started to reevaluate whether I actually enjoyed the hard hustle and the meetings and the travel and the person I'd become in the process, which felt somewhat distant from who I actually was.
Shifting focus or scaling back often feels counterintuitive to business owners who are programmed to hustle, but being forced to zoom out created clarity and opportunity. I've been able to add to the business by beginning to develop new Mimi & Lu products such DIY Kits or online courses and some of the hustle is now allocated to home life which allowed us to uproot everything for a cross country road trip adventure to explore life on the other coast. Life will still bring the diaper disaster moments, just with better perspective and permission to pause.
Cheers to the hustle you choose.