Kindred Mom Founder Emily Allen Talks About the Importance of Messes, and When She Stopped Working for a Boss
In short, we’re in love with this amazing work at home mom and what her life says about courage and trying something new.
Read the full interview below!
Stand For Mom: Emily, we’re so glad you’re here. Tell us about yourself.
Emily Allen: I am a homeschool mama, a serial entrepreneur, and a creative who constantly discovers new things I am interested in. I have six kids—three boys and three girls—who range in age between 1-11 years old.
SFM: How did you become a work at home mom?
EA: In a manner of speaking, I guess I have always been a “work at home mom” in the sense that I’ve always had a variety of projects going on that are not typically seen as “stay-at-home” mothering.
This started most notably when I began my wedding and family photography business before my oldest daughter was born, and I went on to run that business for eleven years before closing the doors for new and different creative adventures as a homeschool mom and writer.
I had been homeschooling and running my business for several years, but as we added to our family, it was becoming more difficult to sustain the photography business.
The following roles are all things I have done at a professional or semi-professional level in the past 15 years. I have not held a paying job (with a boss, anyway) since my early twenties, and even those were part-time, seasonal, or summer jobs. So I guess to best answer the question about what I do: I am a mama who blazes her own trail.
SFM: What have you learned as a work at home mom?
EA: I have learned that there is no one as motivated to make space for what matters to them than a mother who wants to be with and invest in her babies, but also has a string of other dreams that cannot wait for twenty years to be pursued.
I have learned that I cannot define success conventionally, because some would see what I’ve accomplished and be unimpressed by the numbers. However, I am always learning, growing, and I would say that my family is thriving largely because I am creatively stimulated, showing them by example how to live education as a lifestyle, and all of the above has influenced my approach to motherhood.
I’ve learned that messes are necessary for the creative spirit, and courage means taking the next right step, not having every last thing figured out.
SFM: Where are you struggling right now?
EA: Most recently I have been struggling to not max out my internal/mental bandwidth. These past six months, I have been giving birth to an idea that is years in the making, strategically pouring every last ounce of “free” time and energy into a new online community (collaborative blog, podcast, Facebook group and beyond).
Between that venture and my mothering tasks, it has been more difficult to spend time with friends, keep up on my housework (to a level I desire, anyway), and I would also say, I don’t have a great balance of rest time to work time.
SFM: What's your best piece of advice for other moms?
EA: Simplify anything that can be simplified. I have made simple systems for everything that needs to be done again and again around the house so I can spend a minimal amount of time doing the basics. I also have a habit of planning one day ahead.
I look at the upcoming 24 hours and make a list of every task I need to remember and do. This allows me to get through task after task without getting hung up on remembering what else I need to do.