Take out a business loan!
You should go on Shark Tank! (I still don’t understand how this one applied to me…)
Get a nanny!
While the thought of bigger and faster seemed exciting, I was constantly striving to stay true to the entire purpose of my little handmade hobby-turned-business.
My handmade shop was born out of needing a creative outlet while I was at home with my young kids. And while I did occasionally hire babysitters or go out of town to sell my handmade goods, I did my best to stay true to my purpose in this season.
Maybe your goal, like mine, isn’t to “blow it up big”. Maybe your goal is to create a product or a service that is meaningful. Maybe your work is about depth rather than breadth — reaching few on a deep and intimate level versus reaching many on the surface. This does not make you or your creative endeavors less ambitious, honorable, amazing or worthy.
As life goes, I now have twice as many babies and commitments as I did when I started my sole proprietorship in 2010. When I recently looked up to reassess what my purpose is and who my business serves, I again had to shift.
When my third child was born, my business was growing at a speed I couldn’t keep up with. I feared that if I let my foot up off the gas now, my business might not grow. And I believed that a venture that wasn’t rapidly viral-overnight-success-growing, would be labeled or treated by others as a “hobby” or less worthy of time and attention.
As I was sewing a scarf at my sewing machine, and leaning over my son, boobs out and nursing, one of my best friends was over at my house cutting fabric to help me. On this day I was especially frazzled, taking on more work than I could handle and she said, “I just don’t want you to look up in a couple of years and not remember Oscar being a baby.”
Sometimes it is just as brave and hard, if not harder, to say “no” to the things we think could be that one big break or that one big opportunity. Passing on this one thing does not mean other opportunities will not come along. Your creativity or art is worthy EVEN IF AND WHEN it isn’t making millions. Being an entrepreneur and being a mother are NOT all-or-nothing endeavors. You are not less of a mom for being ambitious and having a side hustle, and you are not less of an entrepreneur for building at a sustainable pace.
My point is this.
There is absolutely no shame in growing low and slow.
I will say that again because it is worth repeating. There is no shame in growing low and slow. This is counter cultural, unsexy and maybe boring, but oh so true. And the people who have built big, beautiful, important and ambitious things know this to be true. Overnight success is mostly a lie, and something we forget in a “viral” society.
I share this because maybe you, too, have been surrounded by the message of MORE. Do more. Make more. Push more. BE MORE.
But I believe that you are worth more than your hustle. And you know who else is? Your family. Your tiny babies who quickly become big kids. My oldest is just turning 10 and I’m learning now that big-kid needs are as big and important as baby and toddler needs, just at different times and not nearly as easy to decipher. This is how I know that right now is not the time to grow “big” for me, but the time to grow deep.
Mama, you are enough. You are enough with or without any of the extra stuff. The extra stress, the extra money, the extra house. Your creative endeavor and your dreams are enough and worthy. Your passion for what you do is likely more than enough (or, like me, sometimes a little too much!).
You are enough and I am too. No amount of extra titles or money or things contribute to you and your worth. Your worth and your rest are not earned. They are inherited.
Anna is a wife, mom of four, and blogger at asalwaysanna.com. She writes about finding peace among the chaos that is mothering. In a culture of helicopter parents and mommy wars, Anna opens conversations about purpose and meaning in an effort to ground herself and her readers.
Anna writes to find herself, her voice and her groove after a full decade of growing and nursing babies. She shares her journey to seek joy and humor in everyday life in an attempt to reclaim her joy in motherhood.
My personal favorite is this post on how she dresses her shape