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I quit my corporate job to start my first small business when I was 26 years old to have more time with my kids.

Mind you, this was a full 5 years before my first child was born, but I could read the tea leaves: If I stayed in my current career in corporate America, I’d never see my future kids.

I’m a bit of a planner.

My friend, Jessica, always reminds me that our businesses were started to serve our lives. Full stop.

In the 23 years I’ve been a mom to three boys, my business has allowed me to work from home 99% of the time. This meant I could “be there.”

And when they were younger, my kids needed me to be there a whole lot. This meant that I went to library storytime, volunteered in their classrooms, and could finish my work at 10 pm when they were asleep.

As they’ve gotten older (they’re now 23, 18, and 15)- it’s now super-easy to work “regular business hours” and not remember to stop and spend time with them.

Last week, my son Joey gave a presentation at 11 am to an organization in our town. I had to remind myself not to be frustrated that the 11 am start time would cut into my “normal working hours,” and I forced myself to stop, drive across town and go to his speech.

Joey’s leaving for college in 3 weeks so my chances to “be there” for him are now vanishing before my eyes.

Jessica’s words reverberated in my head the whole way there that THIS flexibility was THE reason I started my small business in the first place.

And if I didn’t take advantage of these now very fleeting times with my older kids, well then, shame on me.

Steno pad with red ink with motto "Your business was started to serve your life"