After a long, hard winter that included my mom having major back surgery, losing my father-in-law, ongoing struggles with work/life balance, & a lot of cold weather, I really needed a little lift in my spirits. Hence the carb overload this morning.
I must say that my day yesterday was a huge boost! Yesterday was a simple day, yet just what the doctor ordered for me. Sometimes all we need is a little regular routine to feel back in the groove. When life gets too hectic, and we stray too far from our sense of balance…..a little sense of “normalcy” (what is that?) is the glue that puts it all back in order. Nothing super special, just good old-fashioned life.
Last Friday, our country woke up to the devastating news of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. For me, it was hard to concentrate on anything but the media coverage of this terrible natural disaster, and hoping and praying for the safety of those affected. It is in times like these, that we are thankful for the little things in life, and take pleasure in what we have around us. I took comfort in my 2 boys and the opportunities that are in front of them. The boys’ creativity, vibrancy, and outlook on the world is so reassuring. I decided to reflect a bit on these 2 mini-entrepreneurs.
A few years back when my older son was in kindergarten, I had a good friend that worked at his school. This friend lived right near a place that sold my fave low-fat brownies (I know – they were probably 1000 calories a piece, but that is another blog). It was a great set-up: my friend would get a week’s supply of low-fat brownies, put them in my son’s backpack at school, and I would have my most indulgent nighttime snack all week-long. It was my own personal low-fat brownie underground operation. UNTIL, one day in the carpool lane, I received a phone call from another mom saying she owed me money for the chocolate treat?!?!? I had NO idea what she was talking about until I pulled up further in line and my son got in the car.
Guess What? My son, who was 6 years old at the time, decided to turn the carpool waiting area into an entrepreneurial venture. He opened up the packs of brownies (2 per pack) and sold 1 brownie for a dollar each! At the time, there were still vending machines at school. so some kids had money for snacks, and for a few close friends, he issued credit. When I suggested that he return the money, he said “No Way!” He argued that the kids had their brownie and ate it, and it was only fair he keep the money. What he did not account for was that I was his financial backer with the brownies, and he would have to take the initial investment out of the gross (his first lesson in biz). This was the day when I realized that I was dealing with a kidpreneur.
My older son is lucky to have a little brother that is never afraid to speak his mind, thinks out of the box, and acts as a “profit coach” of sorts. Together, the two boys make up a great pair – one is very serious and “crosses every T and dots every I”, and the other brings the ingenuity and creative thinking. They appear to be on equal footing in their biz ventures because each one holds a different skill set, and they realize that! This is another valuable lesson in business for them – know your strengths and weaknesses and align yourself with someone who can fill your gaps.
On most days I am a mompreneur until 4 p.m., and then I am a basketball mom until bedtime when I become a mompreneur again. Sort of like Cinderella changes at midnight, I turn into a basketball mom as soon as my boys finish school. I do not want to change this – I love hanging at the gym, watching the boys practice, and I even love that I do nothing else than watch basketball on the weekends – usually 6 games/weekend. These are memories and time with my boys that will be with me long after I am no longer needed in the role of basketball mom.
The other night, we were at a championship game (which is funny – an 11 & 12-year-old championship game, but very serious). My son’s team started the game off faced with a big challenge. What was the challenge? Their team only had a total of 6 players with one on crutches with a broken foot, and then a 2nd player showed up on crutches to the game. Now, they were down to 4 active players. The refs made the decision for the two teams to play 4 on 4 (whew). With two of the team’s strongest rebounders on the bench, the team still managed to gain a little lead and stay there the whole game. With a few minutes left, a player on my son’s team fouled out AND now they had to play 3 on 4 with a narrow lead. The exciting news is that my son’s team WON even under crazy reconfiguring and challenges.
What is the overall point of this story? While my son and his teammates are all good little players, the two teenager coaches really led the team to their victory. Over a celebratory ice cream, my son recounted to me all the little details that his coaches filtered to the team. The coaches had a game plan mapped out as to how they were going to face the challenges. Again, what is the point? The point is that being a mompreneur has many similarities to this situation of these teenage coaches and their dwindling team of active players and very narrow lead.
Just a little tribute to being a mother of boys……
Tomorrow is a special day – I am going to the Steelers Game with my oldest son: it does not matter who they are playing (well maybe a little – it is the Jets & potentially the game of the year); it does not matter that it is going to be 20 degrees and starting to get dark at 4:15; it does not matter that I have a list a mile long for Monday Morning; all that matters, is that I am going to the Steelers Game with my oldest son. A few years ago, I started a tradition with my oldest son (whose religion is sports) of going once a year to the Steelers Game – just the two of us. It all happened by chance. We were given two tickets to a December game, and I decided to take JB as a special treat because his birthday is in December.
There was a certain magnitude to the event, and I am not speaking about the absolute magnitude of Heinz Field on Steelers Sunday. If you have ever been to Pittsburgh or Heinz Field on a Football Sunday, you know what I am talking about. If you have not witnessed this first hand, let me explain there are football fans and then there are Steelers Fans. As Pittsburghers, we are born with football in our blood – We are a part of Steelers Nation. The whole ground shakes around Heinz Field during a game because the crowd simply goes crazy! The city pulsates with anxiety and excitement during Steelers Games.