Tales from the Mother 'Hood - Part 1 Luck and the Overachiever

So I picked 2 friends that I consider in all the good ways overachievers - they do everything and then add a layer to it and still succeed.  I did not tell them that before I asked them to provide a guest blog I just asked them to tell me how they manage to do it all.  They both mention luck - to me luck is a bit what you make of it - and these 2 women make the most of it and those of us who know them are the lucky ones for having them in our lives.

I am a mom, a wife, I work full time in advertising, I volunteer for school organizations and events, and I am a triathlete who recently completed a 1/2 ironman. Some might call me an "overachiever".
Those who know me well, know that I have a rather high opinion of myself and relish all the crazy shit I listed above. A few months ago, if someone had asked me to write a paragraph about how I manage to "do it all", I probably would have talked about time-management, white boarding, my strict hour by hour planning, and goal setting (which are all things I do on a regular basis). However, recently, some events in my life have made me realize that the REAL way I am truly able to do all the things I listed above.. IS LUCK.
I am lucky. Here's how.
1. I grew up with money and an education and went to college. This lead me to be able to get the kind of job where I make good money, set my own hours and no one is telling me when I can and cant do the other things on my to do list.
2. I am in good health. Not because I eat right. Not because I exercise. Just because I am lucky to not have had anything that bad happen to me. Yet.
3. I have a support system. This just happened. I didn't build my support system, or even ask for it. It was just there. In the form of a great husband, amazing kids, a mother and father that are still alive and active, and other family members and friends who I am close with. They are there for me... for the most part. Whether I want them to be or not.
4. I am not the full time caretaker right now of my parents/grandparents/or other elder person. This may change at some point. But for now, I get to be a selfish jerk and spend all my spare time on myself.
I can name numerous other ways that dumb luck is responsible for the way I am. And frankly, I am annoyed by overachievers like me attributing their overachievements to how "amazing" they are. Frankly, our "amazingness" is just a different kind of crazy. We are mostly lucky. If not for that luck, we just wouldn't have the luxury of being an overachiever.

"How did I get this lucky?" This is the question I ask my kids all the time. Even after ten years I am in awe daily that I am the mother of two beautiful boys. I often tell my youngest son, Jackson, 6 that I sure got lucky on February 2, 2007.  I tell him on that day I called the baby store asked to speak to the Manager and said, “Do you have a beautiful baby boy with blond hair, big brown eyes, long eyelashes, and a million dollar smile”? The manger said “Yes” so I said, “Please hold him, I will be right there!“

Children change your life in an unimaginable way. Mine are no exception. They are the inspiration for everything I do, including what I consider my third child, Hampton Paper Designs. The inspiration for my paper company began in 2007 after a trip to a local stationery store to find calling cards for my son, Jackson.  I couldn’t find what I was looking for – simple, classic and stylish cards that were charming yet uncluttered.  So with an idea to create what I was looking for, on a whim, I launched my own stationery line.  Like many things I do, once I get an idea in my head I am off and running.  My mind doesn’t require a lot of planning, most days I run on ambition alone.  

My passion and the creation of so many products in my line is a result of planning birthday parties for my boys.  When planning a birthday party, I always start with the goodie bag and its contents, it’s my favorite part.  From there, I create a theme, have images design to support my theme and then I start planning away!  Most parties I start planning months in advance. My line enabled me to run the theme throughout the party from invitations, to stickers for the goodie bags to the thank you notes.

I am often asked how I juggle work and being a mom. Truth be told, some days I am not 100% sure I do! I try to incorporate my children in my work when possible. What I have found through the delicate work life balance (did I mention I have another full time job?!!)  and some of the daily challenges it creates is that  my children take away many valuable life lessons from seeing me run and manage my own business. My son Jackson will often inquire how many orders I received. He will ask if he can participate in my work. “Yes, of course” I always say. I find a little “project” for him that makes him feel included. I know it’s not about the project but his desire to be with me. I am never too busy to accommodate his request. (I know these moments are precious and limited and one day he will be out with his friends). Sometimes he will just turn on the TV in my studio and a watch a football game and will take on the role of the commentator telling me all about the plays and strategy. I relish in those moments. My older son Thomas will tell me how he wants to run his own business one day. Yes, my heart soars. 

Since my children inspire me daily I attempt to do the same with them. I outline my goals for the day and ask them to do the same. I encourage them to  “Make it Happen”.  If you are in my neighborhood when my kids are leaving to get the bus, you may hear me yelling to them “Are you a ‘Maker” Today?” and they will respond with both delight and utter embarrassment, “Yes, Mama, We are Makers Today!”
Once last comment, since you are wondering the answer is yes. When they get of the bus, they say “Mama did you make it happen today? “ I reply “yes” and ask them the same question.
Kristin Mika
Hampton Paper Designs


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