How I became a Startup Founder while being a Stay-at-home Mom.
I have been unemployed for almost 2 years now and I can’t believe I’m about to venture into possibly one of my most exciting and nerve wrecking project — my own startup company. And I must say my journey to creating it (accidentally) is in itself, a liberating experience.
In the beginning, I was really looking for a job.
When we moved to London, I was almost 36 weeks pregnant (yep, we flew in just in time when I could still meet airline requirements for flying pregnant) so many were quite surprised with our decision. Beside the fact that I was almost due, I was leaving a very stable and growing career, an uncertainty most would not be willing to take especially when you are starting a family.
But my husband & I wanted to be closer to our family in Europe and have a new, different and enriching experience. We also told ourselves, it’s London, I have an MBA, a strong senior management and corporate experience, surely I’ll get a job whatever and whenever I want to. And then…
I gave birth, and oh man, having a baby took all my energy, time and effort trying to succeed with strategic thinking. Oh yes, I did a lot of research, planning & “operational tactics” about taking a care of a baby! My plan of polishing my CV, sending out applications and networking completely went to oblivion. Nonetheless, I tried getting out there, applying & would receive calls but they won’t progress, something was off and I was totally out of my element.
Sometimes, it’s in the midst of “normalness” that we find inspiration.
When my son was 8 months old, I noticed he would grab my phone whenever I was facebooking or chatting. It was then I realised that it has started, my son is now fully aware. Aware if I’m actually spending time with him or if I’m just in the same room but nowhere present. My time with a device now means time away from him. So I did my research, looked around for possible solutions on how to use my device to spend time with him. All I saw were articles warning me against it and that it makes family spend time apart. I thought, it can’t be! We are in the internet age (and there’s no stopping it) surely something is out there that can be good for us. Oh was I disappointed!
Having found none, I thought I’ll make an app of my own. But what? I don’t have an idea of what app to build. Heck, I don’t even have any background in IT! I must be daydreaming, or just purely frustrated of even thinking of making one. Until one day, while putting my son to sleep an idea came to me.
After reading a book to my son for our nightly story time, I thought that it would be great to have a story to read with my phone. But I wanted it to be not just any story, I wanted a story to be tailor-made for him. Complete with all the values I would like to teach him. So now that I have the idea, I just need to build the app.. should be easy, and so I thought.
As my mom would always say, “Will it, It will!”
Making an idea into reality.
With my husband’s suggestion, motivation & full support, I took an online course to study Android App Development. Learning a new (as in, I really don’t have any background in software development) skill is hard, but trying to do it with a baby in tow felt impossible.
It’s funny how people think that when you become a full-time stay-at-home mom, you’ll have all the time in the world to do anything, when in fact it’s completely the opposite. Sure you have time, but you’re not really in control of it. You see, when you are taking care of a baby, you can say goodbye to your calendar or any scheduling app. When it’s time for a nappy change, nursing or just pure crying feat, there’s nothing you can do but to throw whatever you’re doing and attend to your child. And don’t forget, you still have a household to run (Why can’t that dishwasher just load and unload on its own! …sigh)
With a few adjustments, and when I say few I mean reduced shower & sleep time, I’ve managed to squeeze in a few coding hours in a day. After 6 months, I finished my first version of the app, I called it, My Little Adventurer. Inspired by my son, who is always on-the-go, exploring things.
It’s a brand new challenge and I’m loving it!
The feeling of using, showing and sharing the app I created to my family and friends was both scary and exciting. Scary, because for the first time I’m showing something I created with my two hands, and people’s reaction to it is a reaction to my capability. But to my surprise, the feedbacks I get are nothing but encouraging.
So far, this whole process has given me two things. First, it gave me that “distraction” needed to renew my energy. Second, it lead me to rediscover myself. And to start my adventure with these as a take away makes me more excited of whats to come.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom thinking of writing your own Children’s story, or a mom/woman in startup willing to share your experience, message me here. And yes, parenting advice is welcome too… I still consider myself a “newbie” mom, so I’m always grateful for any kind words or suggestions. Leave a comment or give me a shout out on Twitter!
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