My brave husband took our daughter on their first daddy/daughter solo trip mid-August. I dropped them off at the airport at 5am, armed with enough snacks to last a week, $20 worth of toys from the dollar bin at Target, and her favorite movies pre-loaded on the iPad. I’ve taken my daughter on airplane trips many times by myself, but this was his first adventure and I gave him all the encouragement I possibly could.
“People will probably be nice to you, ” I said warmly. “I always have people step in to lend a hand when I’m flying with Charlotte.”
I waved good-bye then drove straight to Telluride, heading for my own adventure. It was my time to work. It was my time to build my legacy.
My husband’s trip came out of necessity. I started a business called Yogi Magee Expeditions, where I plan and host yoga adventure retreats. Since I started my business, I’ve been to Telluride, glamping, Belize, Nicaragua and coming up Tulum and Panama. These weekends or weeks away are not only financially beneficial, they are a way for me to travel, connect with others, and focus on my teaching. My husband, daughter, and I can’t afford to travel for long periods of time once every four months, so I found a way to make it part of my job. That’s not to say, however, that my family doesn’t miss me in my absence, so I came up with a tandem trip to ease the burden on my husband. He’s fully supportive of my adventures, but it’s hard to smile when you’re up to your eyeballs in a sticky house and whiny toddler, while your wife is surfing in Nicaragua.
He hasn’t yet learned to drink wine to handle the witching hour.
At first I felt horrible about leaving and guilty spending time away. When I’m working at these retreats, I’m not always available to call or email, so my daily communications fall by the wayside. I’m representing my brand and need to be present for my attendees, so it’s not always appropriate to be on my phone. Often times the countries or resorts I stay at don’t even have WiFi, so I’m not able to speak to my husband or daughter for a whole week. The realization you’re missing out on her first day at a new school, picture day, or that you can’t be there to help when they have the flu can be heartbreaking.
I consider myself a mom-trepreneur.
Instead of working more hours at my flight attendant job, cutting back on my Starbuck’s addiction, or picking up more yoga classes, I’d rather find a way to make more money. I’m not good at crafting and I’d never have the patience or skill set to run an etsy shop. Direct sales aren’t for me and I can’t imagine trying to talk my friends into buying another skin care product when my skin is anything but perfect. So I found a way to combine my passions of hiking, yoga, and adventure and get paid while spending a week with strangers-soon-to-be-best-friends.
I’m not alone in my endeavors, of course. Over half the women I know are out there every day working hard to support their families, while creating a name for themselves. I have many strong women around me who I’ve watched start and succeed at running their own businesses. My friend Candace, who keeps my hair looking amazing, grew sick of working for others and created her salon called Foundations Hair Studio. My “adventure wife” Dawnelle runs the movement studio QiFlow where I teach yoga, cycling, and barre in the hip RiNo neighborhood. Both these women are solo parenting, as well, and I not only admire them, I think how lucky their children are to have such strong role models and moms. It took my own mother years to break away from the corporate mold and begin her own freelance caregiver service and she finally has the freedom to work as hard as she wants, when she wants. Watching all these women made me realize I wanted something for myself and not only that, but a legacy to leave to my own daughter. I don’t want to be just another name on a corporate roster, I want to have something uniquely mine. A brand I can be proud of and be recognized for, long after I’m gone.
The problem is when I’m a good entrepreneur or adventurer, I’m usually being a “bad mom.”
As much as I try to get tasks done while my daughter’s at school, for me, the creative process is never ending. If I have a retreat I want to launch, I’m spending time contacting vendors, putting together content, and answering emails, no matter what the time of day. I’ve been known, on many occasions, to ignore my husband and daughter at the dinner table, while handling an excel spreadsheet crisis. You’ve probably seen me at the park on my phone, answering a retreat question, while pushing my daughter on the swing. I want to work hard and be a good mom, but there are times one is sacrificed for the other.
I’m sure Beyoncé goes through the same thing and we’ve both got the same amount of hours in a day to make it count.
With each adventure that I embark on, each retreat I host, and each connection I make, I’m slowly building my own empire. The more I become a part of other people’s stories, the more people will remember me when I’m gone and my hope is that gives Charlotte just another way to see her mom. I don’t want to be remembered by my daughter for always being in the kitchen or sitting on the couch at night. I don’t want to be the type of mom who’s biggest adventure in life is navigating Black Friday at the mall. I want to be the mom who’s traveled, explored other countries, met many amazing people, and taken people out of their comfort zones and past their physical and mental limits. I’m a better mom when I leave Charlotte for a week, because I’m working on my own personal growth and in the process I’m helping others grow. That “mom gene” in me never goes away it just gets redirected.
When I do come home to Charlotte and my husband, I feel recharged and reconnected to them. I have stories and photos to share and usually a souvenir or two. My husband remarked that our daughter was becoming more clingy to him in my absence and now I see my being gone has strengthened their bond. My husband now knows what it’s like to fly solo with a toddler, to drop her off and pick her up from school everyday, and how much work it takes to keep the house clean and bedtime schedules in check. He has a new respect for me and I have one for him when I come home and the house is clean, laundry done, and groceries bought. We can both make it without one another for a stretch, it just takes trust and modifications.
I may not make the most money in the world, but I wake up looking in the mirror and loving what I’m doing and who I’m inspiring. In the end, I want to leave a legacy to Charlotte that expands far beyond monetary value. I strive to teach my daughter that it’s possible to create something from where there was nothing, that you can live a life being your own boss and if you believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.