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How Starting My Own Business Gave Me My Life Back

The journey of finding myself (and an income) after motherhood

by Christine OKelly  |  4421 views  |  7 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Before I went into business for myself, my life had spun out of control. We were overextended financially, miserable, and I was not giving my kids the attention they deserved. I was trapped in a marriage that had become miserable because I could not afford to leave. I know so many women in this situation… perhaps you do, too.

Motherhood is tougher than I think most people admit. It often requires that you depend on others for financial stability because motherhood, perhaps the most important job in our society, does not pay a wage. It requires that we reinvent ourselves in a new, unfamiliar role while retaining some semblance of ourselves.

I have gone through many transformations in my journey of motherhood, as I am certain you have. Though things began picture-perfect, they didn’t remain that way for long. Eventually, my marriage and my financial situation hit rock bottom. I shudder to think what may have happened if I hadn’t taken control of my life and gone into business for myself.

The Susie Home-Maker Phase. After bringing home our sweet baby girl, my husband and I were smitten with love for each other and for our new family. Determined to stay home, I left my job, cooked great meals, planned shopping lists two weeks in advance, and cared for our baby non-stop. When my husband came home, I would listen to his successes with swelling pride, admiring the sacrifices he was making for his family. We loved familyhood so much that we decided to have a second child, who was born 17 months after the first. Now we were "real" adults and feeling more disgustingly cute than ever before.

The Bored, Resentful Housewife Phase. By the time both kids were old enough to climb into cabinets, throw wild temper tantrums, and make gigantic messes with the touch of a tiny sticky finger, I was bored stiff with my life in general. Was this as good as it gets? When my husband got home, I made sure to let him know how bored and miserable my life had become. Though I went through the motions of "good" motherhood, I felt as if I were operating my body from a control room somewhere else. As the kids got older and needed me less, I realized that I had lost my own identity along the way.

The Workaholic Absent Mother Phase. My husband, who by then was growing resentful of handing over his paycheck and having no control of the finances, made sure to tell me repeatedly how much more important he was because he made the money. After years of believing this, I took matters into my own hands and went back to work. Because we didn’t want the kids in daycare (and couldn’t afford it anyway) I took a position working 4 p.m. to midnight at a 24-hour insurance company. Not only did this schedule allow us to keep the kids out of daycare, it allowed us to completely avoid each other.

About the Author

Christine OKelly is the author of the blog Self Made Chick and the founder of SEO Content Solutions.

Read more by Christine OKelly

7 comments so far...

  • I love your story!! It's so familiar and close to my own story!! I too haev started my own ome based business and I NEED to make this work!! I would ove to talk with you andpick your brain for details as to how you have become so successful!! CONGRATULTIONS I wish you nothing but GREAT things! I envy your persistance, your drive and your determination!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by HelpingMomsWAHU on 2nd July 2008

  • I can totally identify with everything you've said. I am in a similar situation. I have three beautiful childen from ages 13, 10, 3 yrs. I am in over my head in debt trouble. I have no income coming in no savings. I collect SS, and receive food stamps. I' not ashamed to say this. But his (baby daddy) mother sure makes me feel that way. I get no support from him waht so ever. And we've been together for 11 yrs. It wasn't always like this when I iwas working everything was great. But once I had our last child with alot of complications with that pregnancy everything went downhill. We now live with his mother and aunt. My life is at a standstill. I'm depressed have high blood pressure, my kids are depressed and don't want to stay with "Grandma" anymore.
    The only thing that has helped me is the dream my goal of owning my own B&B with stables for horses. But with no finances, bad credit, where do I start? I've done alot of research in secret for fear of someone shoot down my dreams. No ones about this you are the first person I've told. So yes it is liberating to finanlly know what I want to do, but scary at the same because I keep hearing you have to do this because your under MY MOTHER'S roof, etc, etc. After awhile you feel defeated.
    I just need the support of others like you and myself, and to know that they're people out there going through the same thing doesn't make me feel so alone anymore. So any information or advice that can point me in the right direction will be greatly appreciated. I love this site!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by PullingmyHairOut on 5th March 2008

  • Thank you Mary - that story is a work in progress! I hope to learn a lot more along the way :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine OKelly on 28th February 2008

  • Amazing story -- with a happy ending (and still in progress!) appropriate to the 21st century.

    We'd love to hear more about how the "Liberated Entrepreneur" came to be!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 27th February 2008

  • @ momof2lovelies - Thank you! Isn't it crazy how so many of us are sharing the same experiences and yet we feel alone in it? I'm so glad you could relate!

    @ Nataly - wow! There were definitely some ROUGH times in the beginning - but I think if we follow our passions, life can go from dull and gray... to exciting and full vibrant color! I hope that every mom out there takes the path of following her dreams :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine OKelly on 20th February 2008

  • Your story is compelling! Thank you for sharing.
    As I was reading your story, I said to myself "did she write this just for me??" Obviously not...but there was so much in there that I could and can relate to.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 19th February 2008

  • THANK YOU so much for sharing this -- your experience is so interesting and sooo empowering!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 19th February 2008