I am known as "the triplets' mom." This is not shocking, since I am flanked by three little ones everywhere I go.
My mom identity seems to overshadow everything. Like the fact that I love to bake and cook. Or that I'm a writer. Or that I'm from Detroit (and a die-hard Red Wings fan).
Likewise, when I meet someone new, she is introduced to me as "so-and-so's mom." I don't know what she does/did professionally, where she's from, what her interests are. These are the things that I would learn quickly pre-children. But now her identity, as is mine, is wrapped with her kids'.
That's how it was when I met Tara Coles. We lived on the same street and neighbors introduced her as a fellow mom of multiples (twins and an older daughter, and now a younger one as well). They failed to mention that she's also a practicing ER physician. An entrepreneur. And now, I've just learned, one of four semi-finalists for an International Moms in Business Grant for her start-up, ArtNest.
Though her med school friends might find this surprising, I think this jump was natural for Tara. She has a nuanced aesthetic sensibility. All too often she'd heard from friends—including me—that she has great art in her house and they wouldn’t even know how to find, let alone buy, such interesting and unique pieces. With ArtNest, she found a way to channel her passion and start a business.
Like all journeys, this wasn't an easy one. Tara quickly discovered that the entrepreneurial world is very much a male- and youth-oriented domain. Though she initially felt out of her comfort zone as a 42-year-old mom of 4 kids, she didn't back down. She found a community of female entrepreneurs that was eager to help one of their own. In fact, Tara was nominated for the International Moms in Business Grant by one of her mentors.
I get why she did this. How she made the time to start a business when she can barely find a window to get a haircut. It's the same reason I blog. And it's inspiring me to revisit that cookbook I've been threatening to write.
Sure she's busy being a mom, a wife, and a doctor. But she couldn't shake the need to create something of her own, for herself.
Invest time in something you care about. Gain satisfaction in doing something completely for yourself. Find inspiration and support from other women. This is pretty much the prescription for being good to ourselves.
And that's ultimately what's best for our families.