For the past three years I’ve been on an unexpected journey of being a “mamaprenuer”. In my own definition, a mamaprenuer is a stay-at-home mama who is at the same time an entrepreneur or business owner. She not only balances caring for a home and children, but she also regularly maintains a business (whether a small craft shop or any larger entity). Mamaprenuers often carry different expectations on their shoulders since their work is right alongside the dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and toys strewn across the floor. In being a mamaprenuer myself, I am passionate about encouraging other mamas living in the glorious tension of home and business—with our eyes glued to Christ as our Savior.
In my childhood dreams, I never expected to be a stay-at-home working mom. When Well-Watered Women (formerly Life Lived Beautifully) began growing into a full-time job several years ago, both my husband and I made the decision to keep the ministry going after having our first son. We agreed that the opportunities we had through this online ministry and business would outweigh the cost that would have to be “spent” time wise in the long run. Because in order to “yes” to one thing we will have to inevitably say “no” to something else. Once we had our son, several changes were implemented regarding our work schedules, production, and ministry pace, and they are constantly evolving as our son grows and his needs change. Being a mamaprenuer means embracing flexibility and being willing to transition from one season to the next.
EMBRACING THE TENSION
I type these words with a lot of hesitation, because I know that from the other side of the screen it always seems like other peoples lives are perfect. I know that I’ve thought that same thing before and have fallen into the comparison trap more times than I can count. So I have to be honest with you, being a mamaprenuer is hard and there are days that feel more overwhelming than others. Most of the time, when I feel overwhelmed or discouraged, I can pinpoint my lack of vision all the way back to my goals—am I seeking to build my “kingdom” or God’s? Am I doing all things for His glory—including the laundry, picking up after a toddler, and writing new Bible studies? Ultimately it all goes back to a matter of my heart, and this is a shift I have to continually make as a mamaprenuer.
However, as much as I’ve messed up and had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way in this journey of being a mamaprenuer, I have found several tools that have helped me keep my ministry, business, and home running. These three tools have helped me focus on the right goals, cut what is excess, and stay on track. I hope that for any of you who are mamaprenuers and are struggling to get it “all done” that you’ll find these to be practical and helpful in your day-to-day life of donning multiple hats. But first, I have to challenge you with a question the Lord halted me in my footsteps with the other day.
THE QUESTION THAT SHIFTED MY HEART
It was an average work day and I was nearing the time I needed to pick up my son from his daycare. I currently work three days a week from home, and those work days are often mingled with appointments or meetings on top of my project load. Apart from these three designated work days, I take off my mamaprenuer hat and seek to embrace my mom role fully (though I do this imperfectly at best). On this particular day, I was working feverishly to finish a blog post before ending my day and glanced over at my planner at the long list of goals I had for that particular day. NONE of them were marked off. Sure, I had made some progress on a few projects, but I couldn’t show that I had “accomplished” anything. The “to-do list lover” in me cringes at the sight of a to-do list with no mark throughs. Immediately I wanted to sink into my “pity pit” and complain to someone who would listen that “I don’t have enough time go get my work done.” That’s when the Lord challenged my heart with this:
Perhaps it isn’t that you don’t have enough time, but you simply have too much to do?
Conviction. Right away I knew this perspective issue was at the core of much of my daily struggle with time management over the past few years as a mamaprenuer. My goals were bigger than my time allowed and it was stealing my joy—in both motherhood and ministry.
This realization was just a few months ago, and, since then, each day I’ve been adjusting my perspective, asking the Lord: Am I doing too much? Will You guide my steps? Help me cut what doesn’t need to be done. And faithfully, He is answering, pruning, guiding, and sanctifying. After all, being a mamaprenuer is ultimately an avenue to be sanctified to become more like Jesus.
PRUNING MY TIME
Along the way, He is also using these practical tools to help me refocus and remain on the narrow path, and I hope they are helpful to you to choose what you need to do each day, and lay aside the rest at the feet of Jesus.
- The Day Designer—I met Whitney English, founder of the Day Designer, several years ago at a conference and was immediately drawn to her authenticity and wisdom. Since receiving my first Day Designer three years ago, I’ve purchased one ever since. The setup of this planner has helped me integrate my home, ministry, and work schedule and to-do’s in one place. One feature of this planner that shifted how I planned my days is the section that asks for “Todays Top Three.” This has helped me narrow down my big goals for each day to being realistic and practical. My Day Designer is filled with notes, lists, dreams, prayers, and shadows of the cross as God daily creates a new heart in me. You can find the Day Designer here!
- PowerSheets—The PowerSheets have been a favorite tool of mine since I first started business. They are not a planner, but more like a goal-trackers, focus-shifter, and purpose-reminder. Each month you fill out monthly, weekly, and daily goals. My PowerSheets are an extension of my Day Designer. I take meeting notes in them, write out product/Bible study ideas, and can easily track progress each month. If you invest in a set of 2018 PowerSheets, you won’t be disappointed! They will help you focus on what matters most in your marriage, ministry, motherhood and mamaprenuership.
- Business Tracker—Lastly, I highly recommend the She Works His Way Business Tracker! This is a new product that I will be using in 2018 and can tell you that I already love it. Michelle Myers, founder of SWHW, has a burning passion to equip Christian entrepreneurs with tools to do business well while keeping Christ at the center of all that we do. I’ve already filled out the first portion of the business tracker and been challenged by Michelle’s wisdom to be a learner, serve others in Jesus’ name, and work hard for His glory. The Business Tracker is coming soon, and if you are interested in purchasing one, go here to sign up to be notified when it is released! You can also follow Michelle’s ministry, She Works His Way, for more practical, biblical advice on being a business owner!
As you continue to walk the narrow road of being a mamaprenuer, remember Who called you and why you do what you do. Ultimately, our mission is not to be the most efficient time-manager, the best business owner, or the most successful what we do. Our mission is to glorify Christ and spread the good news of the gospel, and we can do this through our businesses and endeavors.
Keep on keeping on, mama. The race is worth it and the Prize is priceless.