All my life, I’ve had this fear of trying new things because I might look stupid or I might fail. It’s a fear of embarrassment, really…a fear of what other people might think. I remember vividly one summer when I was a kid that I was super nervous the night before starting musical theater camp. I loved to sing and dance, but I played sports. Other than singing and dancing in my living room to Spice Girls and Selena, I didn’t have much experience with performing at that time. And I didn’t know ANYONE going to the camp. I was totally afraid of sucking and totally afraid of having no friends. After BEGGING to go to this camp, I cried to my mom that I didn’t want to go the night before it was supposed to start. But, of course, she made me go, and it was AMAZING. I had SO much fun and made friends right away.
And, while this little anecdote is from when I was around 8 years old, the principle behind it really hasn’t changed, and I KNOW a lot of you mamas feel the same. Trying new things is SCARY. Even if it’s something you REALLY, REALLY want to do. We’re afraid of being judged, afraid of failing, afraid of looking stupid…but we’re also probably afraid of SUCCEEDING. What happens if we TRY and we THRIVE?! What happens NEXT?? And, once you become a mom, the mom guilt factor definitely comes in to play.
Well, when I was on maternity leave after I had my son, I really struggled with still being the old Jeannine. There were things I REALLY wanted to do, but I was completely afraid of how it would go. How do I go here and there with a baby? Where do I nurse him? How do I change his diaper in public? What do I do if he has a meltdown? What if he hates his car seat? What if he won’t take his nap while we’re out? Of course, I tried it – went to lunch or out shopping or whatever with Mason and it all went fine…or sometimes it didn’t, but I figured it out. And, as I went on more adventures with the baby, I no longer had those fears because I knew what to do.
But, once I could just figure out how to function as a normal human again, I still felt like something about the old me was missing. I thought it was because I was used to working. I have always worked and always planned on going back to work after my maternity leave was over, so I thought that, while I loved being home with my son, perhaps I missed the productivity and contribution I made outside our home. But then I went back to work and I still felt something nagging me.
After a month of being back at work, I figure it out: I WANTED TO START MY OWN BUSINESS.
Great timing, right? Start a new business with an infant as soon as I return to work from maternity leave? SO perfect.
Nope. Not perfect. Far from perfect. But I dreamt of having my own company for about a decade – I just didn’t have the right idea that really lit a fire under me to go after it. And, suddenly, my baby, breastfeeding, and struggling to find clothes that truly worked for me and fit my style in that season of life was IT. That was the fire.
Let me tell you that this road was ROCKY. And it STILL IS. First of all, I was SO afraid that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing in order to get started. I had to learn SO much on how to get a business off the ground, and I didn’t know if I had learned enough. But I took the leap anyways, even though it was scary AF.
I didn’t tell anyone, though, for at least 3 months. It was just between my husband and me. We would brainstorm after work. I would throw ideas into a word document. I researched and read and learned. Then, finally, one day, I decided to go register my business with the city and it happened to be the day one of my best friends was visiting me from the Bay Area. She was the first person (other than my husband) that I told. And it was SCARY TO TELL HER. I talk to this girl practically every single day. We tell each other EVERYTHING. And I was still afraid to tell her. WHY? Because telling her made it more real. Telling someone other than my husband meant I was REALLY doing the thing. It meant that people would SEE it. People could JUDGE it. And, if I fail, people would KNOW it.
But I ripped off the band-aid and it was FINE. The next step was overcoming some mom guilt. And I’ll be honest…it’s still a work in progress for me. I am a little bit attached to my tech. I’ve got my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone. And I work on my business any minute of the day that I can because it is my DREAM and it is FILLING MY CUP. Though I work a full time job, I still manage to put in at least 40 hours a week on my business. But that DOES mean that I have to work sometimes when I’d like to be spending time with my son. But I try my best to be really intentional with my time so I have the ability to have dedicated time just for him, uninterrupted. And I remind myself that I want to show him WHAT IS POSSIBLE and that he can go after his dream, just like I did – no matter how hard or scary it is. I remind myself that, for as much as this is MY dream and I’m doing this for MYSELF, I am ALSO doing this for HIM.
I will be sharing MORE of my story TOMORROW during my FREE masterclass: Finding Yourself in all the Milk Making + Motherhood on IG LIVE at 12PM PST! This masterclass is dedicated to helping you live your BEST mama life through doing the things that FILL YOUR CUP. You were someone before you were a mom and that person still matters, We want to see her SHINE. Join me TOMORROW, APRIL 1 at 12PM PST on IG LIVE (@ailana.j) for this FREE MASTERCLASS!