It didn’t take me overhearing my then 4-year old saying, much to my chagrin, “Cheesy kwist, I can’t find the popickles!” while rooting around in the freezer to know that my kids are constantly soaking up what I say and do (besides “brush your teeth” and “we need to go, now“). You’re setting an example for your kids with everything you do (and don’t do).
Yup, everything. They see you eating your vegetables and using your inside voice. But they also see you sneaking chocolate from your secret stash and hear all the colorful 4-letter words that slip out of your mouth.
So, what will your kids see when you start your own business? How will your entrepreneurial goals influence your children?
Cyndi explores these questions in Chapter 4 of Motherhood, Apple Pie, and All That Happy Horseshit. Additionally, she offers the reader tools to develop and implement their vision of an ideal mother-child/family relationship (don’t worry, she isn’t coming after your secret stash of chocolate).
My husband and I started our business when our second child (that’d be Mr. “Cheesy Kwist” from above) was a newborn. There I was—with a rambunctious 3-year-old, a newborn who wanted to nurse around the clock, and an extremely sporadic showering schedule—deciding to add a business into the mix.
That was seven years ago. I now have two rambunctious kids, no nurslings, and a slightly better showering schedule. My family and business have grown up together, and each has shaped the other. Here are 5 values that being a business owner has allowed me to model for my children:
- Be flexible and adventurous. While my business has always kept me busy, my time is still mine. Our family prioritizes travel, and we get to schedule it whenever we want. It’s also much easier to deal with sick days and appointments.
- Know your numbers, know your truth. We freely discuss our personal and business finances with our kids. Little sponges that they are, my kids understand how it all works (at an age-appropriate level).
- Fail forward. Sometimes things don’t work out. When we had a product flop, we shared that with our kids. We model that failure is just part of learning.
- Moving on and moving forward. In 2021, we sold one of our original ecommerce brands. I’d poured so much love into that brand and it was met with so much success. But, as my husband and I grew professionally, our interests pulled us away from ecommerce. It was a hard decision, but selling that brand was a choice that allowed us to continue growing.
- “If my mom can do it…” When you’re a child and a young adult, your parents are the most ordinary, mundane people in the universe. I’m just “Mom.” I have lame dance moves. I’m the worst because I don’t let my tween wear crop tops. And my level of knowledge about Pokemon is seriously disappointing. From their point of view, if I could start a business and create a life of my choosing, certainly they could. By choosing this path and normalizing this road less traveled, I’ve made it accessible to them. By redefining ‘normal’ for myself, I’ve taught them that they can do it, too.
Are you considering starting a business? What values will flow through your business to your family? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
Julia Nardelli Gross
Julia is a mom to two energetic school-aged children and the founder of Acorn Mom. Before establishing Acorn Mom, Julia was an e-commerce entrepreneur, an online communications professional, and a lawyer. Julia is also an active volunteer with PTA and the Girl Scouts of Western Washington. In her downtime, Julia enjoys reading, strong tea, getting her butt kicked at Monopoly Junior, Speyside scotch, vegetable gardening, black licorice, and long walks with her dog, Clementine.