As I sit here on this Friday, amongst the chaos of our house remembering the driving force in my determination to own and run a small store (Doree's Habit), I wonder what I was so afraid of. Having been a stay at home mom of three kids for 10 years, I think I was trying to figure out how much of what I was doing as a stay at home mom could be delegated to my husband, how had the kids needs changed since they started school and what exactly I wanted to accomplish in life. There was a very distinct fear that I would be making a very selfish decision. Would my kids be resentful of me if all my time wasn't dedicated to them? Would my husband be able to fill my shoes in some situations I couldn't be there? Would it be possible to take on the extra responsibility of being a small business owner and not let it impact our kid's lives too negatively?
"A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life."
How do the decisions we make impact other women and girls?
Pretty soon the answer to this question became clear to me when my daughter was surprised that not all moms are stay at home moms. First, I should say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom. In fact, I think the world would be a better place if people were able to make that choice, both stay at home moms and DADS! But our society doesn't make that possible for most people and, ultimately, it isn't always the choice everyone makes for themselves and their families either. I also noted that my sons seemed to assume that my husband was the person controlling the money and I didn't "work", I was the chef and the cleaning lady. All they really saw was Grandmothers doing the same thing. My mom, having been a stay at home mom my whole life and my mother in law, who works outside the home as an ECE but fulfills all the traditional female roles in the household. They just couldn't fathom a woman choosing to go to work. This is what made me wonder if I was making the right decision. I wanted my kids to see that women could be successful as both a mom, a stay at home mom and a working mom (without having it all BTW). At no time have I ever entertained the notion that women need to be everything and have it all. We're just human, we can't always be everything to everyone and always put others before ourselves... so you know what, my house is a mess, my dishes aren't always done, sometimes my kids watch too much tech, sometimes I can't get to everything the minute it needs me and most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing.
I shouldn't have to say, but unfortunately we still live in a society where I seem to have to say, that I am lucky to have a husband who supports whatever choice I make. His life most likely wouldve been a hell of a lot easier if I had decided to just stay home. I also cannot stress enough how we are very privileged to be able to have this kind of a life. It is not lost on me how many people don't get the luxury of deciding whether they want to work, let alone if they want to buy a store during a PANDEMIC!
How did I know what the right decision was for me and my family?
There isn't any crystal ball or way to tell the future when making important life decisions. I am certainly one to know that self doubt can play a very significant role in the decision making process. I wanted to share these points with you to show you how I came to the conclusion that owning and running Grace + Sparrow (form. Doree's Habit) was the right choice for us.
1. Follow your gut.
Seeing that my kids thought that a woman's role was to be a stay at home mom was the clincher for me. Nothing irritates me more than someone else telling women what they can and can't do or what they're capable of. I certainly wasn't going to let my daughter think that she couldn't achieve her dreams. Even if her dream was to become a stay at home mom, she needed to see that it was a decision she made for herself, not dictated by anyone else. There was such a strong feeling that I wasn't doing any of my kids any favours by letting them think that the women in their lives are only here for them, to cook for you, clean, take care of... It took a giant realization for me to see that they also have a DAD! Their dad has as much responsibility as their mom to provide and care for them... not only that but, my outdated thinking was DEPRIVING him of the opportunity to do that. Again, placing the role of father as second to mother. It brings to mind this quote from Gloria Steinem, “Women are always saying,"We can do anything that men can do." But Men should be saying,"We can do anything that women can do.” I needed to give him the chance to step up and fill his role as equal to me. There will be a nagging feeling in your gut that you're making the right or wrong choice. No matter how much research you do, or even soul searching, that feeling is there for a reason and it's to help guide you to the right choice.
You can't always be perfect.
2. You know what, I'm not perfect. I don't expect to be and I don't expect you to be. Show me your messy house! Please! I am so tired of the perfection of online! Sometimes I scour the pictures I see online just to find something out of place... a messy kitchen counter??? Toys on the floor???? Aren't we all tired of this facade of perfection?? As a woman we are held to such a standard that we can't ever expect to not let someone down. We are taught to live our lives for others, and really, any other choice is just pure selfishness. When have you ever heard some one as a man how he attains a work/life balance?? F/O never! Because he isn't expected too... and we are the the jailers of our own prison if we don't say enough is enough. There comes a time when it's all too much... perfect mom, perfect wife/girlfriend/friend, perfect house, job and the list goes on and enough is enough... what you do is enough.. you aren't always going to be there for everyone, not your spouse or kids or family, job.. you are one person. We are trying our best and you know what, that doesn't always mean we can have it all or even that we want it all. Society isn't going to let us give up these stereotypes until we just don't care what anyone thinks anymore.. and really, would you care if your best friend didn't have everything perfect?? No??? Then afford yourself the same grace.
When it came to owning Doree's I had to accept that I wasn't always going to have everything done perfectly. Sometimes the grandparents might have to pick up the kids from school, sometimes I might order something that didn't sell well, I might not get instagram right, hiring, cooking, cleaning... and the list goes on. It came down to accepting that I may not always be perfect, but I don't expect that of anyone else, so just maybe they don't expect that from me.
Can I figure this out on my own?
Ya... probably not. Accept help.. even when its hard. We are all slaves to our own ego but realizing we don't know it all can give us a great sense of freedom. I am not one who claims I can take criticism without hurt feelings. I definitlely still struggle with accepting tips, advice, help from anyone without thinking it is a direct judgement on what I'm doing and I usually think they think I'm doing something wrong. It's hard to accept that you might need help from outside sources. We cannot expect to have all the answers.
When I started with Doree's Habit in October 2021, I thought I would just blow it out of the park. I thought my marketing ideas and know how would just surprise everyone it would be amazing. Well, guess what, I didn't and don't. I still don't. I may have plenty of ideas but I am certainly no expert in this. There is help out there. Ask people you know. Read books. Accept that there may be a lag in sales, knowledge, change until you have a better understanding of what you're doing.
The other aspect of this, asking for help, is recognize that as a mom, if you have friends and family who offer to help with the kids, they mean it. They want to help. Let them help you. I'm sure you would return the favour if they are ever in the position of needing it.
In the end...
In conclusion, this blog post should indicate to you that I am not someone who claims to have all the answers. These are three tips on how I came to the conclusion that owning a business, being a mom and a wife, was the right decision for me. As one female, to another (in all inclusivity), you have the power and the right to make the decision that is right for YOU. You are not selfish. We are here waiting and hoping for you to succeed. We are rooting for you and are in your corner. No matter the choice you make, work, SAHM, WAMH, no kids, no partner, etc. You have the right to live the life you feel in your gut is the right one for you and I would love to support your on your journey.