"it takes a village"
Quite often I get asked “How do you manage 3 kids and running your own business from home?” And to be quite honest, sometimes I don’t feel like I am. I know that we are our own biggest critic, but I’m not actually trying to be critical of myself. I sometimes sit back and think, “how did we get through today?” One thing I do know for sure, it literally “takes a village” and I almost didn’t believe in that theory!
A little over 12 years ago, before our three beautiful girls were born and a few months before our wedding, I decided to quit my job as an administrator/bookkeeper at a custom cabinetry company and start my own bookkeeping business. I was young and had never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, but my soon to be husband saw great things in me and knew I could do it. Thank God for him or I would never be where I am today, managing my second business!
I decided to listen (which I was not good at back then lol) and got out there on my own. After completing some courses to brush up on my accounting, we launched my bookkeeping business.
Things went well right from the get-go and soon enough, I had built a great client base. Since business was good, we decided to buy our first home about a year after we got married. We didn’t want to move too far away from our friends and family but for different reasons back then, we had no idea that staying close to our parents would be a huge benefit once our first born came along.
Baby girl No 1 arrived in 2009 and man what a shock! You know, looking back on that time in my life I realize that no matter what anyone told me leading up to having my first baby, nothing prepares you for that. I now tell new moms or moms-to-be “No matter what advice I or anyone else gives you, nothing will come close to what you will feel emotionally during that first year, nothing”
I had planned to stay home with her and not work at all for three months. I thought that it would be enough time to get her ready to leave with the grandparents to watch while I went back to my clients and my work. Turned out she was ready, napping, eating and all scheduled but I wasn’t! I did not anticipate the guilt or how much I would miss her, even though I was leaving her for about 5 hours, not even a full day!
Eventually, I got better at leaving her and we got into a routine. This was new to my husband and I since we were so used to just picking up and doing whatever we pleased whenever. Not anymore! We loved our new life and we both embraced it because we felt so blessed to have this beautiful, healthy girl in our lives.
Again, arranging our life in a way where work for the most part and our parents who were helping us, were all within a few kilometers played a huge part in us being able to adjust to this new busier life. I remember days where I realized I didn’t have what I needed to make dinner and calling my mom asking her “can you come over so I can quickly go and grab a couple of things from the grocery store, I don’t want to have to lug a car seat and a baby bag with me!” And within 15 minutes, there she’d be, at my door making it possible for me to run my errand in less than an hour!
Before we had our second and third daughters, we decided to move to a slightly larger house because we knew we wanted to have more kids. We toyed with the idea of moving a little further west but then we quickly came back to reality and thought “what the heck are we talking about, we need to be near the people that help us the most” Not only that, I loved the fact that our daughter was surrounded by her grandparents, our siblings, their spouses and her cousins. There is nothing greater than having this connection for our kids and for us. This relationship has only grown stronger since having number 2 and 3, it has brought us all so much closer as a family. It has also given our girls the opportunity to bond with a different generation and learn so much about our culture and traditions. They have learned to speak Greek fluently, they have learned about our cuisine, they get to bake cookies with “giagia” and enjoy sleepovers on just about every other weekend where they have tea parties with “pappou” and get to stay up reading and talking about “life”
When we moved to our new home and the girls started going to school, something else happened, our village began to grow! We started meeting other parents that lived in our neighborhood and these relationships turned into friendships. These connections became part of an extended network of people that we relied on at times and vise versa. We were willing to help each other with this crazy parenting journey we were all on! From picking up kids at the bus stop when one of us was stuck in traffic, to grabbing a bag of milk for another while you were out doing your food shopping. From play dates so one could clean the house or work in peace and quiet, to taking a quick walk so the other could vent about a crappy day, we now had more shoulders to lean on and it was AMAZING!
As our family grew, so did our responsibilities and our vision for the future. We started to change and see things differently. Life now had a whole new meaning for my husband and I and we knew we wanted more out of it. We wanted to give our girls the best life ever, and that came with giving them the best version of us.
In the last 3 years since our third baby girl was born, we have made some big changes both in our personal and professional lives. My husband left a job of almost 20 years to pursue a completely different career path, one that made him happier. We realized that being happy everyday superseded the risk that came with a new career move. By the Grace of God, things turned out better than we imagined, and he has been able to enjoy our family and provide for us in a way he couldn’t before. After 12 years of building my bookkeeping business to a place where I needed it to be, I turned my attention to the health and wellness industry. I received my certification as a Pilates Mat Instructor and launched my health and wellness company, pureSELF that focuses on inner and outer beauty. I have become very focused on living my best life through my diet, exercise, personal growth and setting goals for myself.
A lot of the time I have had that allowed me to focus on my career and myself for that matter, has come from relying on the help and support of our family and friends. I include my husband in that group because without each one of them, I could not have done it myself. There have been so many times (as recent as last week) where my husband and I are stuck in meetings and we realize that we will not be able to pick the girls up from school on time. Quick call to the grandparents and it’s all taken care of!
So, if it’s one thing you take from this post, surround yourself with a “village” because the benefits, bonding and life lessons that come along with it are unmeasurable.