Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them: Babes Who Hustle
Written by Amanda Wagner
In October 2015, my husband and I ventured into the world of restaurant ownership when we bought a wine bar. A cute little place in the heart of our city, it is cozy and charming and a place we want to see continue to thrive. At the time, we had two girls; a 5-month-old and 2-year-old. Some might call us crazy. I would argue we aspire to be better, do more and chase after something bigger than ourselves.
As a mom of young girls, I have goals and I understand the importance of pursuing those goals. With a wine bar to run, a desire to write more and ultimately build a business around that passion, I must keep working and keep moving forward, even on the days where things are hard and it all feels impossible. There are things I want to accomplish and I must prioritize how to do that in addition to my other responsibilities.
I also want to be present for my girls. I will always make every effort to attend their activities, show up to their school events and ensure they have opportunities as they grow. I want to show them the value of hard work while still leaving time for fun. I want them to know if you set the bar high, you can achieve anything—but most things don’t come easy.
As part of a recent preschool activity, my eldest daughter was asked what her mom likes to do. Her response—work. How do I make sense of this? Is her response a reflection of my priorities, or just the fact that she’s nearing 5 years old and doesn’t understand that despite having to work (for myself, I should add), my schedule is flexible so I can prioritize time with my girls throughout the week? Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile how your child perceives you with how you perceive yourself. Do they understand that hard work is necessary to achieve big things?
I recently read Rachel Hollis’ “Girl, Wash Your Face” and took away two important points related to parenting and pursuing one’s dreams: First, our children have no point of comparison. I’m they only mom they have ever had, so the way I choose to raise them is all they know.
Second—and perhaps even more enlightening—is the idea that I am exactly the parent my girls need me to be. The example I set, my decision to do more and better and to chase after what seems out of reach, will set them on a course for their own lives. It will equip them with the mindset and perseverance to continue on and succeed, even when things get hard. Ultimately, in everything I do, I’m setting a strong example for my girls about what is possible when you make the decision to reach for more.
I know my children are always watching and listening. From pretending to adjust the bread order when talking on a play phone, to commenting on the nose of a wine (smells like flowers), I know the example I set and the choices I make show my girls that hard work matters. That passion is worth pursuing and great risk has the potential for great reward. For those who want it all, to raise strong children, pursue their personal passions and still have the ability to enjoy life in all its glory, consider this.
Know what you want
For my entire professional career, I have hated the question, Where do you see yourself in five years? I didn’t know what I wanted to do in that moment—how was I supposed to know where I wanted to be in the future? I’ve realized while you might not always know what you want, it’s important to continue to work towards identifying what you’re most passionate about. This means you must take risks, try new things and get out of your comfort zone.
Writing has been a part of every job I’ve ever had, even restaurant ownership. But it was the act of purchasing a wine bar that made me realize I want to be intentional in continuing to write. I started freelancing for a community lifestyle magazine, and that only fueled the fire behind this passion. It was an unlikely path, but ultimately it led me to something that excites me, provides endless opportunity and has incredible potential.
Balance is a myth
In the workforce, there’s a constant conversation about balance. Is it possible to excel at work while still having a life outside of work? When one decides to build a family, the myth of balance escalates. Is it possible to be a working mom and a present mom? I believe the answer is yes, but I also think that those who are seeking balance are chasing a moving target. Balance isn’t about spending the right amount of time at work and home. Balance is about being passionate in facets of your life.
When you find joy in the work you do, it doesn’t feel like a punishment to put in extra time and effort, because work is more demanding. Likewise, when you enjoy being with your family, you savor the time you have together and find joy in the simplest things. You take those memorable family vacations, attend important activities and stay present because that’s what’s important and where you find value. You push yourself at work because you know you are capable, strong and worthy of professional fulfillment.
Make time for what matters
Let’s be honest: this is hard. Time is our most precious resource and the only thing we can never get more of. That makes it critical to differentiate between what needs to be done well and what just needs to get done. Popular books today suggest outsourcing anything that can be done by someone else for less, but that isn’t always an option. In the end, it comes down to prioritization—which isn’t easy, but is a skill worth mastering (for your own sanity). It will allow you to focus on what is most important while minimizing the time you spend on everything else. Set criteria for identifying what matters and the process of prioritization becomes much easier.
Know you can’t do it all
As women and moms, we often carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, wearing all the hats, all the time. But sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious: Our efforts are noticed and enough; we are leading by example, even when we are working hard and have to make hard choices about current priorities. When we try to do everything, we do nothing well. It’s better to take a step back and ask for help when and where you can.
Parenting is hard, and parenting while also managing a career—as well as personal priorities—is even harder. All you can do is set the best example possible and show your children the value of hard work and discipline. It won’t always be easy, but even when things seem impossible, the right mindset and a focus on forward momentum will ensure your continued progress and eventual success.
Amanda Wagner owns a small wine bar in Minneapolis and runs a side hustle creating content to help brands tell their story. When not hustling, she and her husband are raising a house full of girls and enjoying the little things in life. She received her Master of Business Communication from the University of St. Thomas where after graduating she managed graduate business alumni relations (always interesting to communicate with an audience of which you are a part). Learn more about Amanda’s content hustle at www.greenhousecontentco.com.