SARAH LUX Not a mom…yet.

*Editor’s Note* We have a very special guest on the Parent du Jour today — a young entrepreneur from California who has yet to become a parent.

Sarah learned about our site from her friend Kat Gordon, who was profiled here, and she sent us this note:

I work but I’m not a mother, yet. I own my business and just recently turned 30. I’ve been married for almost four years. The older I get, the harder it seems to be able to see how a family will fit into my life — a life that I love and I’ve worked hard for. I do want kids, but don’t know how to make all of that work.

We invited Sarah to write a post about her feelings and to ask the question out loud to our readers: 

How did you know you were ready to become a parent?

We invite you to add your thoughts in the comments section at the end of Sarah’s post.

AGE   30

HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, but I now live in beautiful Palo Alto, CA.

@TWITTER   @UforiaStudios

ON THE WEB   Uoria Studios.com

My blog: http://www.uforiastudios.com/blogs

DAY JOB   I run a boutique fitness studio that specializes in bringing fun back to fitness through classes like Zumba, Revolutions and Hooping (yes, hula-hooping)! The studio is in one of the oldest buildings in the city, an old historic church. The vibe is very welcoming and inviting. We know that if you enjoy your exercise, you’ll stick with it. Starting a small business has been more than I ever imagined, the highs are truly high (I met the president this year) and the lows are low (coming home and crying for hours).

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Very happily married for almost 4 years

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   Almost anything by Roald Dahl.

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Zero

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

This is actually why I’m writing this post: I’m not sure how to balance work and family.

Growing up, both my parents owned their own companies. I always looked up to them and I knew very early on that I wanted to own my business, too. I think when you grow up in an entrepreneurial family you see that ‘a work day’ isn’t 9-5. I was very fortunate to have my parents be available for my sporting events and school trips because they had flexible schedules.

In high school my friends thought it was pretty cool that when they would come over after school both of my parents would often still be in their housecoats. While we got a good laugh out of times like this we also had a somewhat less structured schedule. Dinner usually wasn’t until 7 or 8 pm.

I guess you could say I was destined to follow in my parent’s footsteps.

Now, the difference between my mother and I was that she was flexible in her career as a history professor and author. She was able to delay her career until we were grown up, which gave her the time to be a great parent when I was young. She is now at the peak of her career and loving it.

My husband is wonderful. He has a full time career in technology and is also very involved in Uforia. He also grew up with entrepreneurial parents, so I guess we were both exposed to this crazy life a long time ago. We definitely don’t fit the traditional family mold.

I guess what I struggle with most is how to have a family (ok, I think I can figure that out). More so how to be a good parent who is available for my kids, while still growing my business and career. I wouldn’t say I’m especially selfish, but when it comes to thinking about starting a family I can’t possible figure out how to do what I want with my career and be a good parent, too.

DID YOUR PARENTS ENCOURAGE YOU TO HAVE A CAREER?

Yes. My mother was infamous for reminding my sister and I very loudly that we can do whatever we want in this world and that we are just as smart and talented as any man. She is a die-hard feminist and I love her for that and for encouraging me along the way.

You don’t learn in school or university how to mange your career and family. You are really just expected to figure it out or marry someone who can do it, or hire someone who can help.

HOW DO YOU VIEW CONTEMPORARY PARENTS AND FAMILIES?

I’ve gotten to know many new parents through Uforia. We offer childcare, so I see first-hand a wide variety of parenting skills.

The main thing I’ve observed is that parenting is exceptionally hard and will make you very tired.

I have a wonderful niece and nephews and many young cousins so I’m close with many great kids, and I get to see the really rewarding aspects about having a family. I love all the hugs and ‘snuggling’ on the couch and playing soccer and hide and seek.

All the women in my family who have had children have taken time off for their families. Many have gone back to work and some haven’t. I do have friends who have re-entered the work force quickly so I’ve seen both sides of the work-parenting dilemma. But, none of them were running their own company while being a parent. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to do both and I’m struggling to make the decision to focus on one or the other at this point in my life.

I recently told my mother that I have another ten years before I ‘need’ to have kids and she actual choked on her drink. Maybe I don’t have that much time. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and couldn’t imagine my life without raising a family, but I’m wondering how I can do it all.

What advice do you have for me?

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

How did you know you were ready to become a parent?

This week on the Parent du Jour, we offer a view of motherhood from three distinct angles; Jill assists women entering motherhood as a birth doula, Macy talks about developing a “mother’s heart” before she even became a mother and lovely Sarah from Saskatchewan, has yet to become a mother herself — and she’s wondering if she ever will.

Which brings us to this week’s question. To all the mothers and fathers out there reading along, please tell us:

How did you know you were ready to become a parent?

We’ll do a round-up and post all the comments at the end of the week.

* * * * * * *

Would you like to participate in our project, by submitting your own profile?
Write us at info@theparentdujour.com for details.

Lisa Duggan

Lisa Duggan is the Founder and CEO of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

14 thoughts on “SARAH LUX Not a mom…yet.

  • May 1, 2012 at 10:19 am
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    Hi Sarah! It sounds to me that you will be a great mum….an not just because you are Canadian (I love Canadians!) Funny enough I just wrote about this subject on my own blog (culturebabyblog.com) where I chronicles my adventures as an entrepreneur and a mummy. I didn’t actually start my own business until after I had my son but it has been a wild and ultimately very rewarding ride so far. I didn’t know I was ready to become a parent because there is no ready. There is a desire to be one ultimately and no good or bad time to take the leap.

    My advice to you is pretty much what I say in the blog. That the work-life balance isn’t about watching the scale everyday and trying to make sure you are portioning out equal numbers of hours for baby and business. Rather are you ultimately thriving? It sounds to me like you will get great joy out of raising a baby with your loving hubby. You will love the bond it creates between you and you will love passing on your mother’s wisdom to a little boy or girl. While the days might be nutty, the years will be fantastically beautiful. Good luck to you!

    Reply
    • May 1, 2012 at 11:29 am
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      Thanks so much Culture Baby – I’ll have to check out your post.

      Sarah, I echo much of what CB says here. It’s not about measuring out equal hours to each portion of your life. It is about the quality of time you spend on /with each. My best advice, as a woman who became an entrepreneur after having her daughter: have LOTS of help lined up beforehand.

      Help with your business (employees, managers, partners); help with your housework (paid housekeepers, even 1x month); help with taking care of the little one to be (nannies, au pairs or babysitters). In other words, get your Village lined up as much as possible before you have a baby — but keep in mind that Village-building is an on-going process. You will need different kinds of assistance as your family grows. In the first five years, you will need more assistance with the physical responsibilities of having a child — caring for them while they eat, sleep and then start to move around.

      Later, when they enter school you might need help with the the more nuanced, emotional side of parenting, the kind of care it’s harder to hire out. Your son or daughter will need your assistance in making and keeping friends, adjusting to school, dealing with fears, learning their way in the world.

      There is no reason to believe that your business cannot grow and thrive along with your children, and yourself. If you’re lucky enough to have a co-captain — a husband or partner to co-parent with, or co-manage a busines with — that’s awesome. But if you’re a single parent or single business owner — it can still be done. In both parenting and entrepreneurship, the key to success is having a great team.

      Either way, I wish you the very best in all things!

      Reply
  • May 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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    Don’t wait. There is never the right time. Once you have the kids, you will figure it out just as you figure out your business as it grows and evolves. It isn’t about the entrance strategy it is about the exit strategy. You don’t want to be 70 when your kids go to college. You want to be young, engaged and involved and enjoy the moment. If I had to do it all over again, I would have had my kids at 25.

    Reply
    • May 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm
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      Christina, Joanne,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Excellent advice, points of view from those who have Been There, Done That. It’s never going to be easy, but you will regret more what you didn’t do, than you will ever regret what you did do.

      Reply
  • May 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm
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    Thanks for all the advice! Especially the advice about building my village, smart advice Lisa. I love hearing how other entrepreneurs and moms can make it work. I look forward to that chapter of my live. Thanks all!

    Reply
  • May 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm
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    I’ve gotten similar questions from 20-something women on my 40:20 Vision blog. Here are a few favorite 40-something responses that are relevant here! :

    “There are so many unknowns. You’ll be always be facing yet another issue. There will always be something. There is all this advice and all these parenting books and eventually you just sort of let go and go with what’s right for you. You will learn about yourself through your child. Your kid will be fine. You’ll be fine.” – 40-something, photographer, Santa Monica, CA

    “There’s no right time to have a baby. I just decided to go with the certainties over the doubts and make the rest up as I went along. But I’d be really unhappy if I had given up on a job that I liked. I think kids are happier with happy parents who are busy doing things they like than they are with parents who are resentful and unfulfilled, and that would have been me.” – 40-something, teacher, Los Angeles, CA

    Reply
  • May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm
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    Hi Sarah – I just started working out at Uforia and can already tell you will be a great mom! You have a such a calm demeanor and positive attitude.

    The most important step is just knowing that its going to be hard work – a lot of moms-to-be don’t realize that. You have done an amazing job with Uforia and parenting is just another job that you can do well if you work hard at it. Plus, the rewards of parenting are so meaningful. Also, I think you will enjoy the flexibility of your schedule. And, like your parents, you will be a great example to your child(ren) as you show them how its possible to have both a thriving business and a close family.

    My mom didn’t work but she always told me she would have been a better mom if she had – finding balance in career and familiy is something I strive to do every day. Some days it works better than others – but I just keep trying and have learned to appreciate every happy moment.

    Jennifer Dunne, mom of 3 and freelance writer

    Reply
    • May 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm
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      Hi Jennifer! Thanks for the advice. See you at the studio again soon.

      Reply
  • May 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm
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    Wow. Thank you all so much for the wonderful advice. I’ve known Sarah longer than I haven’t. We’ve been married for 4 years, were engaged for a year before that, dated for 5 years before that and were best friends for 5 years before that. She’s my closest friend, my strongest business partner, and the love of my life. She’s talented, smart, beautiful and so ambitious. I have no doubt that she’ll be a great mother.

    We’re both from Canada originally and our families are still there. We’ve always been close with them, and I suppose in our minds always imagined that we would be in Canada near our families when we had kids. And yet, over time California has become our home. Our careers, our friends, our lives are now here.

    So, since so much great advice has already been passed our way I have one more question: how do we keep our future kids and their extended family (grandparents etc.) connected when we live so far apart?

    Thanks again for all the great advice!

    Reply
    • May 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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      One of the things that is great about the Bay Area is that there are so many people who are drawn here for jobs, great weather and wonderful communities. Once they have kids (when most people usually move back), they don’t want to leave.

      We also live far from my family – I am the youngest of 5 in a close Italian family. I miss them every day and now that my children are getting older, they always ask, “when do we get to see grandma, grandpa and our cousins?!?” It breaks my heart. It is harder in some ways, emotionally and logistically, but living far also gives you an opportunity to rely on your partner to figure out those tough parenting moments. It makes you a stronger couple, I think.

      I actually just wrote an article about this for Bay Area Parent which describes several families who live far from extended family and resources to help create a support network and to help fill the void.

      Do-It-Yourself-Family
      http://sanfrancisco.parenthood.com/directory/article/do-it-yourself-family.html

      Reply
  • May 2, 2012 at 12:21 am
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    Just go for it and don’t overthink it. Being a parent is another wondeful business to be in!

    Reply
  • May 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm
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    Probably nothing earth shattering in here but here are things I wish someone had told me…

    1) There is never a right time to start a family. If you wait, you won’t get around to it.

    2) Get help. You don’t have to do it all yourself.

    3) It’s ok that you will miss some of their childhood. You might miss their first steps, but you’ll be there for their second steps, the 104 degree fever at 3am, their first recital, their first homerun, their first crush (and broken heart) and, and, and… You might not be with them every minute — but you will be their mother forever.

    4) Every family is unique. Every mother, father and child is unique and the resulting combinations are endless. Just because your parents, sister, neighbor, friend, or the latest childcare expert did it one way — that doesn’t mean it would work for you. Don’t force yourself into someone else’s solutions.

    5) Make plans on how to balance work and family — but be ready to change them as situations change and as you learn more about what your family needs. For example, I went back to work much earlier than I’d planned (6 weeks postpartum), but conversely only worked part time *much* longer than planned (3 years).

    6) Don’t just take care of your kids, but enjoy them. It’s trite, but true — they change and grow up at an alarming speed. Every age and stage has its fleeting joys.

    Reply
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