”My son was having a really rough time in 1st grade. I was in constant anxiety that I wasn’t giving him everything he needed. At the same time, I was reading a lot about young black boys having a much harder time reaching the same level of economic, academic, and social achievement as their parents based on a whole host of factors. My husband and I started the conversation about me leaving my job. I told him, “if I resign, I’m not going to get a new job. I’m going to focus on the kids.”
I worked for a non-profit company that was focused on healing and saving lives. That always felt like that was a good reason to leave my kids every day and go accomplish that work. When the day came that it was more urgent to make sure my kids were okay, I left.
I’d been running myself ragged; I wasn’t sleeping. I was trying to do everything for the kids because I wasn’t there for them until I got home from work around 6:00 at night. With all the balls in the air I felt like if I was going to drop one of them, my kids couldn’t be the thing that I dropped. I know I’m competent enough to get another job, but I can’t get another kid if I didn’t do well with these two.
I’ve always baked as a hobby. My friends often asked me to make cakes for their kids. Neither my husband or I are risk-takers, but when five people asked me to bake cakes after I left my corporate job, my husband said, “You’re home now, you should do this. You could be successful at it.”
I managed to make a profit in my first year. It was minuscule, but it was a profit nonetheless.
Before the pandemic we had just started looking at storefronts. I was doing baking classes and decorating classes with teens and tweens and knew a storefront would be the next step, but I’m thankful that I hadn’t signed a lease yet. Right now I rent commercial kitchen space and fill orders from there.
When the bakery really started to take off I found myself missing my son’s soccer games and my daughter’s track meets. I told my husband, “We really need to look at this because I’m now impacting the reason I’m here in the first place. I was doing all my baking when the kids were sleeping so I wasn’t adversely impacting the time I spent with them during the day. That meant I was getting back into that cycle of not really sleeping. I had to remember why I left my corporate job and reshuffled my priorities.
It’s insane to start a business and be a hands-on mom at the same time. You have to really love it all. I’m very passionate about baking. I love being part of people’s memories. I tell moms who are thinking about starting a business to make sure they’re in it long term and that it’ll be enough for them.
Two years later, my husband and I are very happy we made this decision. We had no idea the kids would be stuck at home for six months, but we don’t know how we would have managed if we both still worked in full-time corporate jobs during the pandemic. I think my kids appreciate having me home. It was a big change, but they see the value.”
– Jenn in New Jersey