Learning to Juggle: Balancing Work and MotherhoodMar 05, 2023
We’re back for another interview with a BABs graduate and LIBBY member this week! Please welcome Cara Martinez, who actually just gave notice at her job recently. She has not yet submitted her Prosecco bottle, but will be a welcome member of the Quitter's Club whenever she is ready to claim it.
Cara’s going to share her journey from corporate to quitter, and her experience balancing work and motherhood throughout, but before we start, I have to say how proud I am of Cara. She’s gotten to a place she didn’t think she would get to in a very short period of time, and with a lot of obstacles to overcome. So please welcome Cara!
Cara: Thank you so much for having me! I am so excited to be here. This is such a surreal moment for me, because less than a year ago, I never thought I'd be on this side of Katie’s platform rather than being an onlooker.
So, my name's Cara Martinez. I'm the owner of Peach Sky Bookkeeping. I live in beautiful southern California, and I never met a sunset I didn't like…hence the name of my business!
I'm not just a brand-new business owner—I’m also a mom. I have two small kids, and it’s been so crazy to figure all that out and work on balancing work and motherhood while also building my own business.
Katie: Why don't you tell the story of what led you to bookkeeping?
Cara: So, I've actually been a bookkeeper for about ten years now. I was at the firm I worked at for fifteen years, but I've been doing bookkeeping almost ten years, so I’ve been doing it for nearly half my life.
I worked at a CPA firm doing bookkeeping for clients in the entertainment industry, which is a very specific niche, doing personal books and business books. But most of my clients were more on the personal side, and I never thought I would want to do bookkeeping at all. If you had asked me when I was in college, it just was not in my plan. I was never a numbers person. I actually went to school to become a school counselor; I got a master's in school counseling and I tried to do it for a year before realizing that wasn't for me, and I went back to the firm to take over a bookkeeper's desk.
So I definitely have been doing it for a while, and then sometime in January of 2022, my husband asked, “Why don't you just do this on your own? Why don’t you start a business?” And my first thought was that there was no way I could do it on my own. I didn’t know what I was doing. Plus, I was so used to being in this specific niche of entertainment clients that I thought that was all that was out there. I never thought about small business owners and other people who would need our services. I had no idea balancing work and motherhood, plus starting a business, could be possible.
So it started with my husband getting that bug in my ear. Beyond that, I was definitely looking for more flexibility, since I was raising two small kids, so I started obsessively looking at everything I could about starting a bookkeeping business, which is where I came across Katie’s stuff.
Katie: What led him to ask about that?
Cara: Well, we went through the pandemic, first of all. In the beginning of the pandemic, my daughter was three, and I was pregnant with my second child. I found out I was pregnant in January 2020.
So we went into a lockdown, and I finally got to work from home, which…it’s a bit crazy that it took a pandemic to be able to work from home, isn’t it? I was going into the office one day a week for a good year, and I’ll be honest, it was so nice. But when they started having us come back into the office, I started thinking, “Why do I need to be in the office? I've been doing this from home for the past year.”
It wasn’t easy, obviously, balancing work and motherhood while being cooped up inside with two small kids, but it was nice to have that flexibility. So it became more apparent to me that this really wasn't fitting into how I wanted to live my life. I felt like I was trapped on this never-ending hamster wheel, and I could never get caught up.
Plus, I never felt like I was spending enough time with my kids. It was just a lot of guilt; a lot of mom guilt that we all have when balancing work and motherhood, right? But I was really craving the flexibility, so I started trying to think of something I could do from home without having to get a whole new degree. And I thought, “Well, why don't I do bookkeeping?”
Katie: So once you got a taste of working from home, you didn’t want to give it up. How were things going before COVID?
Cara: Well, it always felt like I was on that hamster wheel. It was hard, but I kept telling myself that it was normal. My mom worked just like I was, so I always saw her balancing work and motherhood and figured that was normal. I'm supposed to be a stressed-out working mom trying to do it all, and the guilt is just normal. But once I had my second, it got even harder, because my husband was at home with both kids. And two kids are harder than one, of course, so I felt even guiltier about being gone.
So thoughts about balancing work and motherhood were there, but it was more like, “This is just the way life is,” because that’s what I always knew. I didn't even think there was another possibility. Plus, I was making a good amount of money for a bookkeeper. I'm the higher earner between my husband and I, and that created a lot of pressure to stay as well. So to think about leaving my job at that time was not even on my radar.
The Juggling Act: Balancing Work And Motherhood
Katie: I know one of your hesitancies before joining my programs was not hearing in-depth from people in a situation like yours, people who were also balancing work and motherhood AND starting a business.
Cara: I definitely think it’s something that needs to be talked about more. I don't hear a lot about people juggling a full-time job and trying to start a business, and I really want to normalize that, because not everyone is able to just leave their nine-to-five right away and go all-in on their business.
It was really hard for me in the beginning to accept that balancing work and motherhood on top of my business was something I had to do for my family. I couldn't just up and leave and leave my salary behind. And I ended up making peace with that, but for a while, it had me feeling stuck between those two things. I had this business that I wanted to take to the next level, but I couldn’t because I was still working on top of raising my kids, so that left me with very limited time.
I will admit, I still don't feel like I’m balancing work and motherhood very well. I work a lot. It takes a lot to build a business, and there is not enough content out there about all the things that go on behind the scenes of having a business. It’s not just, POOF, I get an idea and all of a sudden I have this big, successful business. There are a lot of steps that go into it.
However. I will say, juggling all of that and accomplishing what I have, it's made me feel so empowered. It's made me feel so strong. I mean…I'm a badass for accomplishing this while balancing work and motherhood. It's crazy to think that this started from a single idea, and now I have ten clients.
And to be honest, this moment is very surreal for me. I listened to your podcast before all of this and talked to all your former students. I was the creep messaging people like, “I heard you on Katie's podcast. Can you tell me more about her program?” So to be writing this and saying that I have ten clients now is so wild to me.
On top of that, the support in LIBBY has been just so amazing. I could cry over how supportive the group is. Every time I've felt like it's too hard, they're always there to lift me up. Everyone was so supportive of me putting in my notice, even more so than some people in my family. So it’s all been incredibly encouraging.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey through balancing work and motherhood, Cara! I hope those of you who identify with Cara’s story—maybe you’re even in the thick of it now—hear her and realize that it truly is possible to build the life that you want, even if it’s difficult.
It was possible for me. It’s possible for her. And it can be possible for YOU, too.
CONNECT WITH CARA:
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You can find all my programs (including mini courses, workshops, and Tech Talks!) here: https://www.katieferro.com/coaching
Learn how to take your bookkeeping skills and turn them into a business that allows you to replace (or surpass) your corporate salary, be present for your life, and profoundly impact your clients without selling your life in the process by joining Life by the Books (LIBBY).
If you're looking for more tips for bookkeeping, insight on how to become a bookkeeper, and how to say hello to a more confident business model, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs).
To learn about the programs and get a peek behind the curtain, head to www.katieferro.com/6-secrets.
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