CORPORATE BANKER TURNED HOME-MADE-LOTION-MAKING SAHM
It’s 7 a.m. on July 4th. My 2 year old, 5 year old and husband are sound asleep, and I just came back from an 8 mile bike ride down the beach. As I watched people setting up tents and coolers for a day full of partying, I laughed at how PG my life is these days. My definition of an awesome summer has changed with kids, and now that it’s my second summer staying home with them, I’m totally immersed and absolutely loving it. We’ve tie-dyed and unicorn adorned all of our white clothes – I don’t think my husband was thrilled when we got to his last white t-shirt, but he thanked us with a smile nonetheless. We’re pickling everything from watermelon to jalapenos. We’re growing an incredibly random garden – I didn’t even know purple bell peppers or meatball eggplants were a thing before this summer. Today…I think we’ll make a new batch of hummingbird food, and do plenty of red, white and blue crafts….
In addition to planning our day on my morning ride, I decided to scrap the blog I’d been working on for more than a year. When I re-read it last night I realized I had surgically removed myself from it and it was extremely dry. I’m a fairly private person, so blogging is unnatural for me…and it showed. On March 26th of last year I committed to stretching beyond my comfort zone, though, so I’m going to try this again.
March 26, 2017 was the day I gave my resignation from banking. Not glitzy Investment Banking, and not your neighborhood Retail/Branch banking. I spent 11 years in between those markets, in the less familiar world of Commercial Banking, which covers $20 to $500 million revenue companies. Call me a nerd, but I loved it. Companies of that size are typically still being run by their founding entrepreneur, and sitting down with those people to hear why and how they started their businesses is inspiring. And plant tours are the best – whether it’s an industrial facility that recycles bakery waste into animal feed, or if it’s a tech platform that facilitates real-time-bidding for remnant ad space on websites – each office has its own history and culture. If you like the show “How it’s Made” or the podcast “How I Built This,” you’d like Commercial Banking.
So, clearly part of me is nostalgic about my old job – more than a year has passed, so it’s easy to forget the grueling parts of it. Like how I cried every single commute to and from work for about a year after maternity leave with each of my kids. I missed them terribly, and so I kept downsizing my role to be home more. At the same time, management kept offering opportunities to upsize it, which just made me more aware of how I was completely stalled with no intention of getting back on the fast track anytime soon. Without professional development, what used to feel like my “career” suddenly just felt like a job.
Then, my son turned 1. Time really does fly, and I desperately wanted to press the pause button to soak up these precious years with them. After a lot of discussions and number crunching, my husband and I decided we could make a single income work in order for me to stay home with the kids.
It felt like an out of body experience when I gave the resignation I had practiced over and over again….I knew it was what I wanted, but pulling the plug on something I worked so hard building was terrifying.
My newfound time with the kids was fantastic – I instantly felt certain that this was the right move for our family. They did have a part time school schedule and naps, though, that left me occasionally reeling from work withdrawals. I needed to find something to pour my pent up professional energy into, and it had to check three boxes: (1) It couldn’t take away from my time with the kids, so it had to fit into school and sleep windows; (2) it had to challenge me professionally – I didn’t have my polished career to worry about – this was the time to take risks, fall flat on my face at times, and ultimately grow; and (3) it had to be a passion play – something I cared about deeply.
A couple months earlier, when I was done breastfeeding my son, I thought I’d go back to the conventional skincare products that I cut out during pregnancy and breastfeeding. After a few weeks of indecision, though, I decided some bells can’t be un-rung: if I doubted their safety then, why should I use them now? So, I signed my mom and I up for a lotion making class, and began having fun trying out tons of new recipes in my kitchen.
There were a lot of awkward trial and error moments (which I’ll share…), but I eventually started loving my homemade products. When my kitchen tinkering turned the corner, it occurred to me that there might be others going through the same skin deprivation marathon I went through while pregnant and breastfeeding, and it could be really cool to help them embrace their pregnancy glow with a line of products I wished were around when I was in their place.
My banker background kicked into gear and I started spending every kid-free window of time building out my business plan and financial model. I had to laugh at myself when my Power Point presentation hit 70 slides….who exactly was I making this presentation for?? I’ve always been someone to take copious notes and this was my way of brainstorming – refining what I wanted the company to be and why, and laying out a framework for how I might be able to do that.
So, this is what I previously summed up 2 sentences in my original blog. I’ll try to get more personal and tell you exactly what’s going into this journey for me so you can get the “plant tour” I always enjoyed in banking. I hope you’ll share your feedback and questions along the way with me.
Let’s do this together.