• Ana Lewis
  • Journey of an Entrepreneurial Mother
Journey of an Entrepreneurial Mother
Contributor
Written by
Ana Lewis
April 2010
Contributor
Written by
Ana Lewis
April 2010
Part 1 - the birth It was 1982 in a Seattle suburb, when I realized I needed to work. Our little family of three - dad, mom and baby boy led a simple, frugal, active life. Container gardening on our small patio, owing one car, walking to the grocery store, daily runs at the nearby track and visiting the u-pick farms for annual canning and freezing fruits and vegetables. To the outside world,we were living a nice life as a young family, but for me, something was missing. The missing link for me wasn't money or things - as we lived within our means. It wasn't boredom or loneliness - as we were constantly busy. It was fear. I was afraid of being 100% financially dependent on another human being. It would eat away at me and my then husband could not understand my fear at all. Luckily I had girlfriends. Lots of them, mostly through my La Leche League group. I admitted to everyone at a meeting that I wanted to find a way to work/earn, but did not want to leave my son. The ideas came pouring in: How about you become a doula? We can landscape together! You're creative - let's make things! Such a supportive and wonderful group of mothers. I decided to go to one of the member's homes and check out her chocolate making business and the choice proved to be the right one for me. Surrounded by evergreens in the classic Seattle motif, my friend's home was spacious, warm, inviting and chaotic. Mothers and children were everywhere! Business was booming and candy makers, wrappers, packagers took up every possible space of table top, as the children played together. It was like a working playgroup. We pack our lunches three days a week and went to work and play. My son carefully helped pack his lunch - choosing healthy snacks and drinks and caressing his "big boy" lunchbox while "we" went to work. After being part of the chaos for six months, the business owner asked me if I would like to be a partner. I would need to get my kitchen inspected by the health department, get my own business license and therefore, double our work space. I jumped at the opportunity and within the first month, I tripled my income - while working from my own home and on my own schedule. We were very busy. Orders were coming in daily and it got especially nutso when I gave birth to my second son in the autumn of 1983. I learned 2 very important lessons during that time.: 1. you should probably wait more than 3 days post-partum before going back to work. And 2. Tears and chocolate don't mix well. My mother was very upset with me for resuming work so quickly and I paid with a fever and exhaustion. I was a mess. I was too young to know that the world does not end if an order is delayed. But nooooo! I packed up my newborn son into his Snuggly and wore him all day long so I could work, while my oldest son played with his friends and rode his Big Wheel all around the house. My then husband thought I had lost my mind. The chaos spread to our home. Cases and cases of chocolate filled our pantry. Children were everywhere. I was thrilled. "Are you deaf?" he would ask me. No, but for some reason, the sounds of the children playing, laughing and singing never bothered me. And, lucky for me, it never interfered with my ability to focus and work. In order to prove that we didn't "need" my income, my then husband (he was quite macho and that's one of the reasons we are not still married) asked that instead of me helping pay the bills, I would deposit the money I earned into our joint savings account. I was okay with that, as eventually that money accumulated enough to allow us a to put a down payment on our first home. While my inspiration was fear, my ultimate goal to be with my children was met, my journey as an entrepreneurial mother began, and continues to this day. Next segment will talk about our relocation and how that impacted my journey.

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