What’s It Like to Work on a Start-Up as a Stay-At-Home Mom? Awesome and Hard and Exciting and Stressful and ALWAYS Messy

This is my Family. Brad (forever age 29), Bennett (8),  and Blythe (4).  I'm Cara.  Mid-Atlantic Director at Camp TimeOut.  Truly, this is the most coordinated our outfits have ever been.  We also have a dog named Barnabus (age 2) and our cat is Bogart (age 70 in cat years). They will show up later in this post. 

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I have lots of company in my office (aka playroom) except for Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for 2 hours when Blythe and Bennett are BOTH in school.  (Yes, there is a bag of chocolate chips, foam sword, and a dryer sheet on my desk.  “non-Pinterest life”)

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Blythe’s favorite spot to play is right behind me in my chair.  I’ve learned to make it work.  She keeps me warm, provides lumbar support, and ensures that my multi-tasking abilities are on point!  Bogart and Barnabus are usually nearby, too.

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This is what my work break looks like

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Sometimes I put Blythe to work.

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There is always a mess or house chore that is calling to me, but I am learning to push that to the side for the sake of the business😊  Sorry, Brad.

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The crockpot has become my most important appliance.  (Vegetable Korma from this week is pictured…not my best recipe)

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Both my parents and Brad’s parents make it possible for me to travel.  They take turns watching our kids so that I can help run or scout camps.  They drive from North Carolina and Tennessee to Maryland, so it is no easy feat for them.  This picture was taken while I was away at our October camp.  I had to miss Bennett’s birthday, but thanks to Brad and my in-laws, Bennett had an amazing cowboy celebration and a pile of Maryland crabs for his birthday dinner.

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When my parents (and Christin’s) aren’t watching my kids during camp…they come to camp!!  They help make everyone feel welcome, sweep floors, keep the coffee supply fresh and anything else they see that’s needed.  Kudos to my Dad for waking up before everyone to make sure we had a roaring fire in the giant stone fireplace before sunrise each day. (Yoga, in front of a fire, as the sun rises, with a view of the lake…is just as magical as it sounds) Thanks, Dad!  I have a family tribe of support that makes it possible for me to work on this passion project.

 Sunrise yoga with this view and a roaring fire!

Sunrise yoga with this view and a roaring fire!

 Mom and Dad at October camp in Western Mass

Mom and Dad at October camp in Western Mass

One hard part of the job is the rejection that comes with working on a start-up.  Some people just don’t get/care/want what we are offering, and Christin and I have had to learn not to get discouraged. At the beginning of last year, I would get one answer for every 10-15 emails I sent requesting meetings with gym owners. Gym visits were (and still are) awkward at times. Camp registrations were slower than we projected for last year.  The tide is changing now, and word of camp is spreading.  There have been so many little victories lately, and each one feels like Christmas.  It's so fun when we connect with gym owners who are really excited about camp, or when we find a great sponsor who will thrill our campers with fun product (most recently SMASHMALLOW!  Gourmet s’mores anyone??)  

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The other hard part is finding balance.  I love working on all things camp, and I love taking care of my family.  There is always some way to be working on building Camp TimeOut, but there is always a little face (with or without whiskers) that needs me. The crockpot, grocery list, laundry pile, animals, vacuum, and gym all vie for my attention.  Each day I make a “to do” list of priorities and go from there.  Everyday, I feel a little guilty for not giving enough attention to the business, my kids, to the running of my house or to exercise (exercise is really getting the shaft these days).

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The awesome part of this job is collaborating with Christin.  She is inspiring.  Entrepreneurship is her calling.  She creates a solution for every roadblock, and constantly generates innovative ideas.  She acts quickly.  She finds people who are good at what they do and allows them the freedom to be creative.  She is humble, accepts feedback, adopts clever ideas if suggested, and manages to always remain true to her vision.  She is also funny and random😊 This picture is from our scouting trip in Colorado.  She saw a sign for a “mining museum” and thought it would make a perfect pit stop.  She dressed up like this for Bennett’s benefit (besides cowboys, he’s into the gold rush era) While she is serious about her business, she doesn’t take herself too seriously!!

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Camp scouting is another awesome part of the job.  We get to meet great camp directors, spend time in beautiful natural environments, and dream about the camp weekends we could create at these properties.

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However, the best part of the job is spending camp weekends with our awesome team, and delighting our campers!

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So what’s it like to work on a start-up and be a stay- at- home mom?  Totally awesome, sometimes really hard, occasionally very exciting, definitely stressful and always very messy…but I feel really fortunate that I get to do what I love while around the people I love. 

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Special thanks to Brad, who quietly supports me through it all.

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