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How Incorporating My Children Into Our Family Business Benefits Us Both

“Giving them the opportunity to participate in the color selections of our fabrics or setting up props during a photoshoot helps nurture their creativity and development."

Courtesy of Milena Djanković.
Courtesy of Milena Djanković.

My husband and I founded RockerMama in 2016 and, as with many products, the initial motivation stemmed from a personal pain point. Like many new parents, we were sleep-deprived, intimidated, and humbled while tackling our first-time parenting roles. The added challenges of a new baby kept us in constant comforting mode – I nursed and rocked my colicky son for hours on end while staring at the same four walls of our nursery. This led me to an impossible search for a portable rocking device that could provide me and my son with more flexibility and freedom. To my surprise, the solution I required didn’t exist. So, I recruited my husband and our journey to develop a portable product began. Our daughter was born just in time to keep our personal need for a portable rocking solution highly relevant and a top priority in the household.  

Inventing a product and starting our company, RockerMama, from the ground up with two small kiddos has had its challenges. I can honestly say we’ve put in six years of work into the last three. To keep our household functioning as normally as possible, I try to work from home whenever feasible. Since we live on the west coast, my husband begins his days before sunrise each morning to accommodate different time zones, so he seldom has breakfast with us. I make it a goal to prioritize meals with our children and because my husband is unable to most mornings, I ensure that at least I am. I find ways to work and enjoy our time together. While the kids are eating breakfast I’m usually responding to emails. To maximize time with the kids, I take a pause from work each day between dinner time and bedtime and resume once the kids are asleep. I always try to involve our children in preparing a meal and executing it. I believe allowing them to be a part of the process teaches them to finish what they start and that everything in life requires work. I really believe that children at any age listen, even if they can’t fully understand. Embedding morals in them at an early age helps set them up for success later in life. While we cook together, I explain to them that the food we are cooking with is bought with the money we make from working. Examples like these help our children understand that mommy and daddy aren’t ignoring or neglecting them but rather working hard to give them a good life. I really think it resonates with them. When it comes to bedtime, I always try to stay consistent with our routine. I give the kids a bath each evening, followed by milk and a bedtime story. My husband and I co-sleep, which we find works best for our family. We make up for a lot of the time we miss with them by spending time together in the evenings. On some nights we even sneak in an episode or two of their favorite cartoons followed by some laughs and cuddles. When the kids are asleep, I finish up any remaining work and prepare my schedule for the following day. 

When it comes to childcare, we are very fortunate that we have both sets of grandparents heavily involved in caring for our children and because of this we haven’t had the need to hire a nanny. The children have a very close relationship with their grandparents so there is absolutely a sense of relief that they are receiving the love, affection and attention we are not able to give at the times that we are working. 

Some of the perks of co-founding a company is that you’re able to make your schedule work around your personal life. I’m also able to take our children to work with us for special events and include them in as many RockerMama related activities as possible. After all it is a family business and we want them to feel they are a part of it! Giving them the opportunity to participate in fun activities such as color selections of our fabrics or setting up props during a photoshoot helps show them the work that goes behind our brand. It’s a fun way to practice organization, responsibility, and it helps nurture their creativity and development. 

Balancing motherhood and career without the guilt and emotional turmoil is definitely a challenge, but there are ways to embrace it with a more positive perspective and I feel that begins with being honest with ourselves, accepting that we simply cannot do it all, finding balance and patience, and living in the moments we do get – that means being disconnected from our phones, emails or anything else that can distract us from the vital moments we get with our families. 

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