How Do You Balance Being a Mom and Owning a Small Business?

BeaumontDonationBeing a mom is a tough job in and of itself, but add owning and running a business to that and the question of “how does she do it?” often comes up. I sat down with two moms who do just that to answer some of those questions that most of us moms often wonder on the days when we feel overwhelmed.
Meet Julie Penn and Justine Vetor. Longtime friends met when their youngest children started preschool together and instantly clicked. Today, they own Just Me Socks, creators of fun, expressive athletic and street socks and unique fundraising opportunities.
As part of their endeavor, they knew they wanted to do something to give back to the community. Keeping work and production in Michigan was a conscious decision they made during start up. Because they have a website, they are still able to sell anywhere and have had orders across the globe.
They also found a way to do something for local children. Last summer Julie’s son was sent from Troy Beaumont to Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak for an emergency appendectomy. Although it was a routine surgery, it was a very scary time for their family. “They were so great with him and we were so thankful he was in good hands,” recalls Julie. “While my son was a patient there we saw so many sick children and I thought if there is anything we could do to make one of these children smile it would be great.” Hence, the SMILE socks were born. Both Julie and Justine delivered all of their children at Beaumont Hospital.
SMILEcharitysock
Q. What made you decide to start your own business?
A. Justine and I were both stay at home mothers  busy with our kids and had fulfilling lives but always would brain storm on different ideas to start our own business.  Eventually our kids were in school full time and we had more time to ourselves. We got to a point that we wanted to feel valued and contribute to our family. Our drive to succeed grew and we had full support from our husbands so we took the plunge and went for it. 
 
Q. Why socks?
A. That’s a question we asked ourselves as well. Our husbands love fun and crazy socks and while sitting in an airport waiting for a plane our husbands said “You guys should make socks,” and we said “Okay.” We all had a laugh and then over time and many discussions Just Me Socks came to life. We each have 2 boys and that is why we went into the sport sock direction which worked out great for us because they are walking advertisement for us.
 
Q. What’s it like trying to run a business AND take care of your family?
A. Busy, overwhelming, rewarding and satisfying.  Our biggest wish is that there could be more hours in a day to get everything done. I think Justine and I both agree that having an organized laundry room is never going to happen if we ever want to sleep.  Over all our families are our biggest supporters and they all are adjusting very well. 
 

Julie's boys: Caden, 12, and Carter, 9

Julie’s boys: Caden, 12, and Carter, 9

Q. What’s it like being your own boss?
A. That is the best part about owning your own business. It gives you a drive to want more and succeed and a feeling of self fulfillment because in the end we are the ones who are rewarded for our hard work. It also allows us to be the taxi to hockey practice and the room moms at school. We haven’t had to give up any part of being an involved parent the only difference now is we go to the office during school hours. 
 

Justine's children: Mason, 13, Stone, 9, Meadow, 7, Harper, 5

Justine’s children: Mason, 13, Stone, 9, Meadow, 7, Harper, 5

Here are their tips for working moms:
  1. Sometimes you just have to let things go and prioritize. As working moms, we may not always have the cleanest house and we may not always be serving gourmet meals, but everyone’s happy.
  2. Enjoy those moments now. There will be time for laundry later. What matters most is that your kids grow up so fast and time with them is valuable. 
  3. Keep a positive attitude.
  4. Work life balance is important. Sometimes they have to set work aside to attend to their children, but they know the work will be there once the kids are in bed or tomorrow, even. But that’s easier when you can have flexible working hours.
—Sarah Jo Sautter, Parenting Program Blog Editor and Publisher

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