On a snowy Thursday morning in NYC, I bundle-up my three-month-old daughter, Hadley, and head out to a mom’s group on the Upper West Side. Within a few minutes I find myself next to someone I’ve never met and we start chatting the typical mom talk. Conversation naturally turns to the question: “What do you do?”
Just because it is 11am on a weekday doesn’t mean you can assume someone is a stay-at-home mom without a job. As a newbie to the motherhood scene, I continue to meet the mom-slash-blogger, stylist, interior designer, jewelry creator, writer or event planner.
I find it just as fascinating to discover what these moms did B.C. (Before Child). Some may have stayed the pre-baby course, but an overwhelming number of women that I meet have completely changed direction. They’ve left the corporate workforce, and they are doing something they love.
Why do you think having a baby gives us the push we need to do something we are passionate about? I applied a little self-assessment since I recently left my 9-to-5 job as a high-end event planner to launch a tech startup, Availendar, for the event industry. Here are my thoughts:
Priorities shift. When my eyes locked with Hadley’s, I knew life would never be the same. All of a sudden my worries about financial comfort and long-term career aspirations did not seem so intense. The desire for a desk in an office building and having a boss to report to was replaced by an even deeper desire to be there for my daughter. This provided an overall peace about my decision to not return to my job – no matter what others thought or said. Because of this shift in priorities, I was given the push I needed to take control of my life and do things on my own terms.
A new perspective on fear and believing in yourself. Let’s face it -- Tower of Terror, Chucky, and “me before coffee” have got nothing against the fear surrounding labor, at least for a first-timer. Considering I have the gestational period of a giraffe (I went through 42 weeks), I had plenty of time to build up anxiety about what was going to happen. But when it is all said and done, we are blessed with a beautiful baby and a whole new perspective on what our body and mind can accomplish. We just created a human life! Suddenly, creating a tech startup did not seem so far-fetched. Once again, my little baby pushed me one step closer to the reality of owning my own company.
Setting an example. I want my little girl to grow up knowing two things: I was there for her when she needed me, and that I did something I was passionate about. I love event planning (and still swoon over all things wedding-related), but the travel and working weekends really took its toll. I want Hadley to grow up and do whatever is going to make her happy, but I had the realization that she would only be able to do that to the extent she saw me doing it. Those tiny feet gave me yet another kick toward starting something that I had been dreaming about for years.
Footsteps to follow. I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with amazing mompreneurs like Carley Roney at XO Group, Jennifer Fleiss at Rent the Runway, and Ceci Johnson of CECI New York. These savvy businesswomen and wonderful moms have paved the road for anyone looking to journey down the same path. We can confidently step in front of investors knowing that there are proven case studies of women running successful businesses and having children at home. I launched our beta site when my baby was just 8 weeks old, and I am looking forward to pitching investors over the coming months. If they ask me about my family life, I am proud to say that I have two babies to take care of: one named Hadley and one named Availendar.
So the next time you see a mom walking down Broadway, phone in one hand and stroller in the other, she may actually be building the next global brand or tech empire…..all during naptime.
Photography of Amanda and Hadley by Judith Rae.