Pregnant for the first time more than four years ago, I couldn’t stop thinking that it would be the perfect time for me to start an entrepreneurial business venture in China. As I had been a full-time touring artist for most of the preceding fifteen years, I thought, “I won’t be travelling so often with my music now…” Then, I looked dreamily into the entrepreneurial mirror and asked myself, “So what is the next thing I want to do with my newfound time?”
Anyone who has had a child knows I was fully delusional. What newfound time was I talking about, exactly? The most surprising thing was not just the fact that any so-called “surplus” time was swallowed by new motherhood, it was that during any time that suddenly presented itself, I was so bereft of energy and functionally “mommy-brain-dead” that I couldn’t accomplish anything. It took me about eleven months to discover that I – the independent adult – hadn’t actually been
swallowed along with time. Nope. I’m still here!
So when the fog started to lift, I wondered if then would be the right time to launch one of the many ideas I had been mulling over. Going back onto the road performing music full-time wasn’t for me. A gig once in awhile, sure, but I wanted to be home with our daughter, primarily. I was smitten with motherhood.
A few months later, I was pregnant again. The cycle repeats.
Now, more than four years after that dreamy look in the entrepreneurial mirror, I’ve decided it’s time. But not time to implement them. It’s not what you think. Like the tight jeans that I keep holding onto because they looked so good on me before kids, my entrepreneurial ideas must now be passed on to those whose schedules will actually fit them.
So, these ones (some of my favorites) I gift to the idle among you readers:
• Spontaneous phone-call translation support by native English speakers with great Chinese language skills to communicate your needs but, most importantly, the native English to understand them perfectly in the first place.
• Day-care and Chinese language training combined: for new “trailing spouse” parents in Beijing – moms and dads alike – essential Chinese training in a small group from a solid Chinese teacher with a competent team of childcare providers in the next room to occupy their kids during class hours.
• Essential baby items rental service: Especially for travelers who aren’t from Beijing. Items like car seats, feeding chairs, cribs, etc. delivered to the airport or local hotels.
• Ikea shopper stand-in: Ikea has no online purchasing options, so we need a runner service – people willing to shop for you and then deliver the requested items to your door.
• Taobao set-up service: So many of my foreign friends have struggled with setting up taobao for the first time. Why not make a service out of it?
Now with two children, the second one not yet 2 years old, such ideas require more of my time than my kids will allow me to siphon off from them. Until they are both in school, I am officially replacing that dreamy entrepreneurial mirror with a dreamy recovery armchair. Who needs a mirror anyway?
But seriously, having kids is an entrepreneurial endeavor – especially when they’re so little. Mothering is a creative innovation-filled project filled with complex daily problem solving. And like any entrepreneurial project, they run you off your feet and keep you working an average of fourteen hours a day – willingly – because it’s a labor of love.
My clients are my kids. My bottom line is their happiness.
This article originally appeared on page 46 of the beijingkids November 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email email@example.com.
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