Today we’re giving a special shoutout to all those hustling mamas out there who are looking for a little camaraderie amid the chaos! Below, Kera Thompson—owner and curator of artisanal home décor brand Interwoven—is candidly sharing her methods for balancing motherhood and creative entrepreneurship. Although she admits that it isn’t always easy, Kera draws strength from numerous unique sources—and you can do the same! Read on to absorb her wisdom (and, if you please, start your own conversation in the comments section!).
When I was a young girl, I never knew exactly how to picture my life as a grown-up. I knew I wanted love and companionship, but I also wanted to be a rich and famous supermodel/singer/hippie with dreads who made and sold handmade skin-care products. Oh, the dreams of the young! As I got a little older, more realistic ambitions of becoming a journalist, museum curator, shop owner and designer danced in my head. All of those dreams abruptly changed, however, when I found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
At the tender age of 20, I found myself blissfully married. In the mountains of Utah—and far away from the glamorous, big-city life I thought could be mine—I wanted to start a family almost immediately. My wish came true, and while I did go to college, my mind was on raising my children and being at home full time with them. We had our first two boys, and then, quite unexpectedly, my husband’s career took us overseas to the United Arab Emirates. In the desert, 7,000 miles away from home, I happily continued my commitments as a stay-at-home mom—but I was approaching my 30s, and I felt a stirring whenever I contemplated what I wanted the next 30 years of my life to look like. “Is this it?” I asked myself. “Is motherhood my greatest calling? Or can I ‘have it all’?!”
The life we led in Abu Dhabi was wonderful and life-changing on so many levels. It gave me a completely different outlook and perspective. Enduring trials and triumphs there opened my eyes to the fact that I am a strong, blessed woman, completely capable of creating any life I want. Just after having my third child—and right before my 30th birthday—I started Interwoven, an online boutique of thoughtfully curated artisanal home décor. The brand and concept combined my interests and skills (not to mention the crazy dreams of my youth!). With the support of my husband, and full-time help from a lovely woman we hired on as a nanny, I was able to successfully get Interwoven off the ground and manage it from our beautiful beachfront home. I actively engaged in all facets of the business, which was something that I was proud of. Perhaps I really could do it all!
Five years in the UAE passed quickly, and before we knew it, it was time to make our way back to the States. Moving a business and a family of five across the globe was not an easy feat. My children will always be my No. 1 priority, and being at home with them is something that is still very important to me. But maintaining the business (and my sanity) after three years of not cleaning a toilet, vacuuming, dusting or cooking regularly was a wake-up call! I had to completely readjust my working schedule (which is still constantly being revised, as the kids’ activities are always shifting). I quickly found myself feeling overwhelmed. I felt like I couldn’t give my all to any aspects of my life, and I didn’t know how to navigate. I felt depressed and inadequate.
The good news is, now that we’ve been back just over a year, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it all. In no way do I claim to have all the answers on maintaining balance, but I’d love to share with you some easy tips and tricks that have helped me this year!
Don’t rely on rigid schedules. Working in a home office can be especially difficult when there are children present. You have to be prepared to expect the unexpected. Adhere to a flexible routine (as opposed to a strict schedule) that works for you and your family.
Prepare. We all know that preparation is the key to success in any endeavor, especially in this context. I know that if I try to start work without doing the necessary prep to keep my children cared for and entertained, I can certainly expect them to be whining and banging down the office door within minutes.
Delegate. When it comes to finding balance, I think one of the most important beliefs to get behind is that it takes a village! We all have our limitations, and it’s impossible to thrive in something as important and complex as motherhood or entrepreneurship on our own. It’s vital that we assess our strengths and weaknesses in all areas, and that we never be afraid to ask for help.
Utilize aromatherapy. This has really helped me cultivate an awareness of the present. I usually keep a bottle of my favorite blend near my desk, and when it’s time to work, I spray the air and breathe deeply to center myself and establish my intentions. It always does the trick!
Set timers. It’s interesting to see how much work we can get done when we’re under pressure! If it’s a crazy day and I can only dedicate one hour to the shop, I like to set a timer to help me focus. This works well for cleaning the house, too!
Avoid distraction. Once you’re in work mode, keep your distractions to a minimum. Try to get dressed and ready before beginning a workday. Outline your objectives daily to avoid getting off task. I try to listen to calming instrumental music, and I also try my best to stay off social media unless it’s work-related.
Glitter Guide readers can enjoy 20 percent off their next Interwoven purchase by using the code GLITTERGUIDE20 at checkout! (Applies to U.S. customers only. One order per customer.)