Multitasking Fail

Moms have monopolized the market on the ability to multitask.  I mean, honestly, The Husband isn’t even capable of driving and plugging his cell phone into the car charger at the same time without veering into the next lane. Meanwhile, I can drive, eat and talk on the phone all simultaneously. Not that I recommend doing that because I’m sure all of those things together equals extremely distracted driving. It’s not something I strive for but we’ve all been there. Haven’t we?

But even the best of mom multi-taskers can have an epic fail from time to time.

Exhibit A

IMG_0131

I was making a new bulk batch of pears for homemade baby food so I had them steaming on the stove. I left them there while I put Little Man down for a nap. I checked them afterwards and they still needed a little bit longer so I decided to go to my office to reply to an email or two. Big mistake!! God knows how many minutes later, The Husband walks into my office and says “Is something burning?” Immediately I know. Fortunately the pears survived. And so did the pot but not without 2 full days of soak, comet, scrub, repeat.

I guess even the best of multi-taskers need to not be so ambitious sometimes.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Embracing Imperfections

You know what really sucks about coming home from a vacation? Catching up on….well, everything!

Unpacking turns into 27 loads of laundry. Groceries are either non-existent or everything has expired. All that work that I said could wait until I got back now haunts my every waking moment.

All of my imperfections are slapping me in the face as I try to keep this household, this family and this business afloat.

Just breathe. Prioritize.

Side Note: Yesterday afternoon I realized that I hadn’t showered since Saturday. SATURDAY, people!!!  Immediate priority #1: personal hygiene. Sometimes us busy moms need to be reminded of this basic need.

It definitely takes good prioritization when you’re a working mom. But, I feel like a Stay-At-Home-Mompreneur requires prioritization to the maximum amount. And, despite my momentary lapse, I’ve always felt like I’ve done a pretty good job of prioritizing my life…at least when it comes to the big things.

The big picture of priorities in my life looks like this:

  1. God
  2. Husband
  3. Son
  4. Work

Now, within each of those pieces falls about a million tiny little tasks to accomplish on a daily basis. But, I’ve found that when I keep the big picture in focus, all the tiny pieces fall into place much easier.

The true struggle for Entrepreneurs is that we deal with the blessed curse of allowing our work to define us. It’s so easy for us to find our value and self-worth wrapped up in our businesses. Unfortunately, when this happens, everything suffers. Our familial and romantic relationships become secondary and, over time, can dwindle down to non-existent. Our health suffers due to lack of sleep and high amounts of stress. The list goes on. But what I realized a few years ago that was a game-changer for me is this:

Erica Weddings is what I do. Not who I am.

Who I am is an imperfect child of a perfect Savior, a wife and a mother. Just saying it is a weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do and I’m blessed beyond measure to be able to do it. But if I let it take precedence over my God, my husband and my son, then I become tired, burnt out and resentful. I know this because, unfortunately, I’ve been there and I hope to never be there again.

So what does this prioritization tangibly look like day in and day out? For me, it’s waking up with my son around 7am and enjoying some time with him. The Husband may watch him for a bit before he goes to work and I’ll get a few things done around the house, reply to a few emails, etc. Once The Husband is gone then it’s Little Man and I against the world! When he is awake, I’m with him – soaking up every minute. When he naps, my butt kicks into high gear (showers, work, dishes, laundry, eating, cooking, etc.). And when The Husband gets home, work is done!!! He helps get us through our bedtime routine and Little Man goes down for bed around 7pm. Then The Husband and I have the whole evening to ourselves! We are usually just lazy couch bums but we like it that way!

You may look at everything I laid out above and see my priority list and wonder, “Where is God in all this?” I wonder that myself sometimes but I guess the answer is: God is IN everything I do, all day long! I squeeze in my quiet time whenever I can during the day and I’m singing praise & worship music pretty much all day every day. That’s one of the extraordinary things about Him: keeping Him #1 is so simple. All it takes is a genuine love and appreciation for who He is and what He’s done and you’re golden…you can’t help but meditate on His greatness.

No single day is perfect. Some days the laundry doesn’t get done. Some days my email inbox has one too many emails left unanswered at the end of the day. Some days (or 4 days in a row!!!) I forget to shower. Some days I get stuck on a phone call with a client and my son is stuck playing alone on the floor with his pacifier to keep him quiet.

Bottom line: I’m not perfect. But none of us are. So, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Thank God that His Son was perfect for us so we don’t have to be!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Houston…We Have Milk

I suppose the title should say Tulsa instead of Houston. I don’t live in Houston. I didn’t travel home through Houston. I’m getting off-track here…

I’ve returned home from our glorious 5-day vacation in Riviera Maya, Cancun with my breast milk 🙂

While I do believe the resort lost about 20 oz. of my milk, I’m not up in arms about it. I still came home with about 90 oz. of milk that is now stashed in my freezer and I’m confident my breastfeeding journey can continue for a few months to come because of it. For that, I am grateful.

It was a lot of work keeping up with pumping while enjoying an all-inclusive resort vacation. I mean, who wants to leave the beach to go pump in their hotel room? I didn’t want to, but I did.

Major props go to our personal concierge for being so nice about storing all of my pumped milk in the restaurant fridge for me. The mini-bar fridge, obviously, was not big enough so he came running whenever I called him so he could take it to the restaurant kitchen. God bless that sweet young man!!!!

Traveling home with 90 oz. of breast milk in tow was nerve-wracking to say the least. When I got all of my milk back from the restaurant as we were packing to leave I noticed they had stored it in the freezer instead of the fridge. So now I was faced with the task of keeping it frozen in transport. And, of course, the missing 20 oz.-ish was a little frustrating but, again, not the end of the world.

As I approached the security checkpoint in the Cancun Airport, my stomach was in knots. It was at least 100 times leading up to that spot that I read/heard (signs, intercom announcements, baggage check-in personnel, etc.) to discard of all liquids over the 3.4 oz. limit. While putting my belongings on the conveyor belt to be scanned I motioned for the security guard to come to me. As I read in the TSA instructions to do, I alerted him that the bag I was holding was full of pumped breast milk for my baby. Of course, he barely spoke English so we had a little difficulty back and forth before he understood. I think my hand gestures signifying “baby” (cradling arms) and “breast milk” (grabbing my boobs) really helped out here. Although, they may have looked a bit bizarre to any on-lookers.

I walked through the scanner and awaited the security team’s next move. The same guard came back to me and asked me where my baby was – another thing I had heard was a common question from security in traveling with pumped milk. I told him politely that my baby was home with grandma and grandpa.

My milk made it through the scanner and a different security guard brought the bag back to me and said he was going to have to look inside. Fine. I expected this. He dug around a bit – destroying my beautifully organized placement of milk to ice pack ratio but now wasn’t the time to throw a fit about that. LOL. He then called over the security supervisor. They spoke to each other back and forth in Spanish for a bit. I didn’t recognize a word of what they were saying except “leche”. But the supervisor gave me the go-ahead and I was on my way. WHEW!!! I’ve never been so relieved in my life!!!

I’m really thankful for this experience because it has given me full confidence in my option to travel in the years to come when I have a nursing baby at home. Something that I had previously thought would be impossible – or, at the very least, not worth the hassle.

On a related note, I’m so happy to be home with my little man! My heart ached for him while we were gone. Especially the last 2 days of our trip. I am at peace today. We’ve nursed. We’ve played. We’ve ran errands together. And he’s been all smiles the whole time.

Little Man
Little Man

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Mothering, Entrepreneuring and Vacationing. Oh My!

This week, the Husband (Russ) and I are preparing for our first real vacation since our son (Rory) arrived. Really it’s a business trip for Russ but he gets to bring a guest and it’s all expenses paid to an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya Cancun so we’ll take it!!

But it’s requiring a lot of plan-ahead and organization on my part for 2 VERY BIG reasons:

1. Erica Weddings has TWO weddings this weekend, while I’m away.

2. I’m a nursing Momma. Need I say more? But I will…

The weddings taking place while I’m gone are not of huge concern to me. I have an amazing staff who I trust to get the job done and represent my brand well in my absence. But the breast milk issue. Has there ever been a subject matter more stressful to a working mom than the issue of breast milk? Keeping supply up, pumping milk, storing milk, keeping milk fresh in travel, getting milk through security (specifically in another country), etc.

I’ve done my research. I know the TSA guidelines. I’ve spoken to other mommas who have done this exact same thing and the vast majority of these women have nothing but positive experiences to share. But, if I’m being honest, I have this awful, dreadful nightmare on replay in my head that I’ll be watching over 100+ oz of my pumped milk being thrown in the trash as I try to get through security at the Mexican airport on my way home. Just the thought of this possibility makes me well up.

Why so emotional for me? Well the breastfeeding moms certainly understand…no explanation required. For everyone else, here’s some background. I’ve breastfed Rory from day one. He’s never had any formula (no judgment to the formula mommas!!). I built up a great freezer stash in the early months of his life which I’m so thankful for now as it’s gotten me through some dry spells AND it’s enabling us to take this baby-free trip. BUT, taking this trip will be wiping away my freezer stash completely. There’s no way I can breastfeed up to the 1 year mark as planned without coming home with a fresh stash of pumped milk to put in my freezer. Enter these 100+ oz I will be pumping while I’m in Mexico. THIS milk is critical to my sons nutrition – I need it to supplement in the coming months as my supply goes through it’s peaks and valleys. I know having to supplement with formula will not be the end of the world. It’s just not my Plan A.

Maybe everything will be fine and I’ll breeze through security on my return trip home. But, until it actually happens, I’m going to worry about it.

I’m fully prepared with my breast pump, pump supply cleaning materials, insulated carry-on bag, breast milk storage bags, travel gel-cool packs, print out copy of the TSA guidelines regarding this matter and a copy of Rory’s birth certificate (in case I need to prove I actually have a baby). But if any of you Mommas have any experience with this that you can share I welcome it!! Every positive story relieves my stress a little bit.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Did I Really Choose This?

I have moments of doubt daily. Moments when I wonder why I chose to own my own business instead of working for somebody else. I mean, I have a college degree. I could go get an office job where I’m paid a comfortable 5 figure salary. A job where I can clock out at 5 and work doesn’t follow me home. A job where clients and customers don’t have my personal cell phone number to be able to text/call me at all hours of the day and night. A job that gives me all major holidays off. A job that gives me Saturdays off! Oh glorious Saturdays how I miss thee!!!

The other option would be to not work at all. I always wanted to be a mom and now I am one. I work from home so I have the privilege to earn an income and take care of my son. But the income isn’t critical to my family’s well-being. We don’t NEED it. So why do I keep on keeping on? Would I be fulfilled being just a stay-at-home mom? A lot of women are…I admire them. But is that me?

So these moments of doubt and seeming regret creep in. Then, without ever seeking it out, I manage to come across something that reminds me why I DID choose this. Today, it was a bank statement.

You see, I keep ALL of my bank statements for my business. Every. Single. One. I don’t know why. I know it’s probably completely unnecessary but, at this point, it’s habit and I’ve built up quite a collection. As I was adding my most recent bank statement to my binder, I saw my very first business account bank statement from September of 2007 right there on top. This 3 page statement outlines one transaction for the entire 30 day statement period: one $300 check deposited. It was my first payment from my first official Erica Weddings clients. I remember making that deposit and I suddenly recall how far I’ve come as a business owner. Never mind the fact that it disgusts me how little I was charging but, I digress.

So, how far have I come? FAR!!! I was still living at home with my mom when I started my business. I was 23 years old. I had just graduated college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (focus in Meetings & Destination Management) and I had a Training Certificate from the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants under my belt as well. I still held a full-time job as the Administrator at my church. I wasn’t married (although my husband and I were dating). I had no kids. And I was just young enough to have the guts to do just about anything to build my business. Only those things which were ethical of course LOL. Things like walk into a wedding vendor networking event where I didn’t know a single person there and I had ZERO weddings to showcase except for the few I had done for friends, pro-bono, in the years prior.

That’s where I started. Where am I now? Well, I am now working my business full-time. I am a founding member of a local wedding vendor networking group (The Tulsa Wedding Society) that has grown from 5 founding members to over 30 of my hometown’s most elite wedding professionals. I employ 6 girls on my staff/team (all part-time). I have completed nearly 150 weddings. My company has been featured on national wedding blogs and in magazine publications that have a very wide circulation in my home state. And I get multiple calls/emails every week from young girls looking for jobs. I own a company that people actually want to work for?!?! Is this for real?

So, today, I’m thankful for that bank statement that reminded me of how far I’ve come. It’s all the motivation I need to make it one more day in this crazy world of entrepreneurship!

Now to folding my son’s laundry while he naps. Oh wait, I hear him. He’s waking up. DANG IT!!!!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

The Inauguration

I’m taking the leap. Maybe I’ll succeed. Maybe I’ll fail. But I’m going to at least try.

My life is crazy-busy. My plate is always full. What’s one more thing, right? A blog is just like a diary. Isn’t it?

Do I have time to add a blog to my plate? Probably not. But, as you can read in my bio, I’m a chronic over-achiever so this has ME written all over it!

I’m not sure how often I will be posting. I’m not sure how interesting or non-interesting said posts will be. But my goal is brutal honesty. The real-life, behind-the-scenes, all the gory details of what it means to be a MOMpreneur!

How do you balance being a wife, a mother AND a business owner? How do you keep your business on the upswing and still give your child all the love and attention they deserve? How do you meet all the needs of your clients while still finding time for your marriage? How do you separate your business life from your personal life? How, in the midst of all of this chaos, do you keep God as the sole center focus? And, when time is not on your side, how do you find the time to binge-watch Netflix? <—— come on! It’s what we all want isn’t it?

It’s not easy. I don’t have it all figured out. But I try. Every. Day.

Visit the bio page to learn more about me: who I am and what I do. That’s all you need to know before you embark on this journey with me.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~ entrepreneurmomma