In my recent post “How I put to “save babies” on my to-do list and you can, too!”, I shared how motherhood changed my life by awakening the activist within me. In this post, I expose the personal experiences that led to the deep desire to make a difference and align priorities. This was my intersection between being a working woman and becoming a new mom.
When my husband and I decided to get pregnant, I was determined to continue my career at a fast-paced marketing agency and be the best mom and wife I could be. What I wasn’t prepared for was the toll this would take on my health. I had a very “easy” pregnancy but struggled as a new mom. I faced many challenges like having the time, energy and adequate diet to breastfeed my baby while working from home. Working from home is overrated, especially when you are expected to be “on” 24/7. I also had the challenge of having to pump, store and transport breastmilk while away on business trips halfway across the country. I pushed myself to keep up with work, to keep a clean house, food on the table and a happy husband and breastfed baby. I seemed to be keeping up with my long, new to-do list (just barely maintaining my sanity in the midst of it all.)
The “Aha” Moment
Six months later, I ended up in a hospital bed with mastitis accredited to high levels of stress. I was in the hospital for a week while my mom stayed home to help care for my 6-month old baby. My breastmilk production suffered in the process and I wasn’t able to keep my goal of breastfeeding for the first full year. I was told to take some time off work and relax. After what felt like a marathon, I finally slowed down. I did some much-needed soul searching. I came to the realization that I couldn’t allow my work to hinder my role as a mom. That’s something I would never compromise again as a working mom. I also remembered the time in my working life that I had felt most fulfilled. I longed for a work-life balance that I could be the creator of. One where I could choose meaningful projects and travels, and choose when it was time to be with my baby. That’s when I knew it was time for me to move on and start my own business.
Social Enterprise Fits My New Reality
After much research, I found the social enterprise business model was one that could cater to me as a budding entrepreneur, new mom and millennial. This business model suggests that purpose and profit can co-exist while having a positive effect on the community and the environment. My sister and I partnered up to start a coffee shop that would allow us to use coffee and co-working as a means to social change. That’s how Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op was born to reduce infant mortality. Becoming a social entrepreneur gave me permission to reinvent myself in this next phase of my life as a “mompreneur”. The journey has been full of twists, turns and surprises. But, one thing that I can say is that aligning my priorities is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m at peace knowing that I’m on the path I need to be on. Each day I’m reminded that it was always about the journey and not so much the destination, after all.