Balancing Motherhood and Business: Meet Two Inspiring Moms
By Michael Milch
If there’s one thing parents have in common with small business owners, it’s the feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. It takes a special kind of perseverance—and the ability to function without sleep—to pull off parenthood and business ownership at the same time.
“It’s a challenge, but totally doable,” says Allison Mahaffy Barnes, a mother of two young daughters and the founder of SOL Yoga, a ten-teacher studio in Seattle. Where some people might be overwhelmed, she embraces all the demands thrown at her. “When a lot is going on, you can do a lot, so why not pile it all on?”
When she opened SOL in 2012, Allison promised herself she’d find time for things like school pick-ups and drop-offs and in-classroom volunteering opportunities. That’s gotten a little easier as time’s gone on.
“I do maintain a schedule now that allows me the flexibility to ‘do it all,’” she says, whereas when her studio first opened, “I was run pretty ragged by it.”
Christina Kauffman opened Blush Organic Sunless Tanning in 2010. Her boys were both under age two at the time—in fact, her youngest was only three months old. “I was going a little stir-crazy,” she says. “It was just a side thing at first. I didn’t expect it to take off as fast as it did.”
But that’s exactly what happened.
In the six years since Blush opened, that “side business” has expanded to four states. There are now Blush locations on both coasts, and more opening soon. Even so, Christina prioritizes family in many of the same ways Allison does.
“I’m able to work from home three days a week, and I don’t work on weekends, so I’m able to be with my kids,” she says. “I drop them off and pick them up and go to all their sports games, but that does mean that once they go to bed the laptop’s open and I’m getting work done.”
One of the things that enables Christina to work that way is her MINDBODY software. “The convenience of having web-based software and being able to access it from anywhere is huge,” she says. “It makes it easier for me to be where my kids are in the moment, and not in the salon.”
While Christina and Allison own businesses in completely different industries, they’ve both embraced their roles as business-owning moms.
“There’s this beautiful—and at times delicate—dance between the business owner and the mother, and that rang truer for me the past couple years,” Allison says. “I’m just so grateful I can dance between those two roles and make it work.”