I Get To Be A Mom

One of the hardest things about running a company has to be the constant feeling of wishing I could do more, both as a leader and as a parent. We all want to do fun things with our kids when they are on summer break. We also want the best for the staff and for the company. When things get intense, my focus is necessarily split. Last summer, I cried when school started because a few ridiculous issues at the office kept me from having any focused fun with my kids. Even our week of vacation was peppered with various work issues.

I blinked, the summer was gone, and we were back in the crazy cycle of hoping we make it to school before the tardy bell rang, with all the kids fed, wearing shoes, and proper clothing, trying to get something done on the never ending to-do list at work, hoping we are not late picking kids up from school, cramming homework between calorie intake and bedtime, praying the kids sleep enough before we have to start it all over again. Then we realize still didn’t get everything important done so we stay up half the night working. The alarm goes off, we get out of bed bleary-eyed and start the insanity all over again.

The last day of school was Friday. And I’m done. By choice, this summer will be mine. My kids are growing up. Andrew is ten. This is probably the last summer I have with him before we start into teenager-like issues. I am going to enjoy him. And Oscar. And Elsie. And Louis. We wanted them. We love them. And I pick them.

So every week this summer, I have at least one day set aside that is sacred. I may be available by phone, but, no matter what, I will be with my kids somewhere, doing something fun. Here in St. Louis, we have a variety of fun family-oriented activities to choose from. To be sure that we have fun this summer, I made a list of things for the kids to choose from on the days that I get to be home:

  • Six Flags (season passes)
  • The Magic House
  • The Children’s Museum
  • The Arch
  • The zoo / Monkeys, Bugs, Snakes (free)
  • The History Museum (free)
  • The Butterfly House
  • The Art Museum (free)
  • Photography day (free)
  • A tea party in the park (free)
  • Fishing (free)
  • Bravely spend one night in a tent in the backyard (free)
  • A picnic by a river (free)
  • The Zoo / The river’s edge (free)
  • Grant’s Farm (free)
  • A tour of the Brewery (free)
  • Eckert’s
  • The Zoo / Birds (free)
  • More fishing (free)
  • Find a fun, lazy river to walk by and throw rocks into (free)
  • Go to Pevely and see the animals at Purina Farm (free)
  • Play in the backyard and do nothing. (free)

Today, we got soaked picking up our season passes from Six Flags. We saw the rain coming before we left home. I almost decided to stay home and go another day, but not going would have felt like letting the summer get off to the wrong start. We braved the rain, were rewarded with a front-row parking spot, and came home ready to go back for more fun.

I am determined to have fun intentionally being a cool mom this summer. Care to join me?

Jenn is the Founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She holds an Executive MBA from Washington University. She was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Category for the Central Midwest Region in 2011. Among many other awards, she recently received a 2017 YWCA Leader of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship. Jenn holds many patents on various inventions in a number of different countries and is listed as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know. She is particularly fascinated by languages, chickens, and children (she has four) when she’s not reading economics journals. Jenn offers mentorship to product developers at any stage in the journey from idea to shelf.

8 thoughts on “I Get To Be A Mom

  1. It is my intention to also be a cool mom this summer. It’s the last summer before our oldest starts kindergarten, so I feel like I’m trying to cram everything in to make sure he has a good time. I love all the suggestions you mentioned, I only wish we had so many free things around where we live! My parents live on the lake a couple hours away and I’m determined to spend at least one weekend a month up there this summer, just fishing, swimming, and letting my boys be boys, getting muddy and covered in fish and worm guts!

  2. Have a great summer dear- you deserve it! Don’t forget a read to each other day!! My kids love those days!!

  3. That sounds so great. We end up working at our country house (aka our only house), mowing, trying to keep the rain from making the weeds take over the garden which isn’t planted yet, renting heavy equipment to keep the rain from flooding the house, etc. We really need to do some ‘fun’ things!

  4. Loved meeting you at Disney World last month during the Disney Social Media Moms conference. You are officially the first fellow Oscar-mom I have met! I hope you have a fantastic summer making some great family memories.

  5. Good for you! One of the main reasons I chose not to return to executive search after the birth of my last child, was simply this. I couldn’t do it all and I choose to be with my children. I do work, but mostly from home and doing resumes/career coaching so that I can set my own schedule. We are really enjoying our season passes to the water park this year.

    I remember you from many ages ago on Delphi Forums (dinosaur! haha) when both of our now 10 year olds were in cloth diapers. It’s been fun to watch your business grow, and I greatly admire your choice to spend one day a week present with your kids. They really do grow up fast. Enjoy your summer!

  6. I love this idea. Its really hard as a working mom to feel like you get the “summer” to have fun with your kiddo(s). I am taking a page out of your book and getting a summer to-do list up!

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