Okay, okay, so I know some of you are probably tired of hearing about the Southern C Summit. I did promise, however, to share some of what I learned during the event. As I mentioned earlier, it was an unbelievable gathering of incredibly talented, Southern-based women (and a sprinkling of men) – artists, bloggers, designers, and other creative small business owners – that came together to share start-up stories, tips, and practical know-how. And while I was genuinely struck by the ingenuity in the room, I was also struck by how many of the Summit participants were mothers.
Now, why I would find this a surprise is beyond me. I’m a mother myself, of a 3-year old boy that likes hot dogs, sunflowers, and Spiderman. I also work full-time at a “real job,” while juggling my husband and son, blogging at night, contributing to Broadway+Thresher, and managing my other pursuits. Some days I feel completely overwhelmed (and exhausted). And when I look at other people who are doing what I would like to do more of, I think – “Oh, they must not have kids. Or, they must have an inordinate amount of help. Or maybe they’re just Wonder Woman? Otherwise, how could they do it all?”
Many of the women I met last week, however, were “normal” moms that were also juggling. They talked about Girl Scout troop meetings, and how softball season affected their work schedule, and how their teenagers learned to get dinner started. Which brings me back to what I learned at the Southern C Summit. And this is that you can be a mom and an entrepreneur and a creative and somehow make it all work for you. Wanting to start a business doesn’t make you a bad mom, and being a good mom doesn’t mean you cannot run a successful venture. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman, you just have know what you want and block out the unhelpful noise. (Supportive family and friends go a long way, too. Mr. M., for one, has been great these past few months.) Yes, there will be some sleep-deprived nights, but to me that’s better than never having tried.
Clearly, I have not invented sliced bread here or anything. But it was really helpful for me to see firsthand (as opposed to in a magazine, super-hyped book, or other stylized account), that real women are loving their families, loving their creative endeavors, and defining their own success — even if it does mean lots of coffee.
And don’t forget this Sunday (May 12) is Mother’s Day in the States. It’s a hard job, so show her some love!