Please meet MOMpreneur Megan Deal of Modern Bird Studios.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 33-year-old (eww!) wife of 12 years this May and mom to two crazies, 4.5 year old daughter Sage and a 2 year old son Phoenix. I’m a former career woman turned full-time SAHM turned full-time SAHM/part-time WAHM turned insane. I’m addicted to sugar and reality TV. Target and IKEA rock my world. I work with my husband, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Well, I wish our bank account was a bit more padded.
What prompted you to start a business? And, how do you stay energized about your work?
For fame and fortune. And the recession! My husband Gregg was laid off from his job in Sept. 2009, and we were left scratching our heads on what to do since no one was hiring. Thanks, economy. I was a SAHM who hadn’t been to work since our first child was born over three years previously. A light bulb went off on Christmas 2009, and we decided to put together Modern Bird Studios (http://www.modernbirdstudios.com). We really had nothing to lose so we came out swinging in Jan. 2010. On our recent one-year anniversary, we decided to celebrate by launching ModTots (http://www.mod-tots.com), insanely awesome and modern wall art for kids.
Gregg studied painting in college, and I strongly suggested him to pick up a double major because really, how practical is painting, so he added graphic design to his studies. Who knew that painting would become practical??!!
How do I stay energized about my work? Survival! We have no other sources of income so that is quite the motivation to keep in sprinting mode–I have killer proverbial abs and amazing cardiovascular health now–especially since we have two young kids, a mortgage, and a desire to grow our family. Plus it is so much fun. So much more fun than my former career in business development was. We goof around all day, and laugh, and joke around, and stress out, and then laugh some more. Gregg and I run different Twitter accounts, and it is amusing to razz each other. He’s the offensive side of Modern Bird and ModTots. I keep it professional. Someone has to.
How do you balance family life and work? Scheduling?
Things are a bit chaotic in our home so the more appropriate question would have been, ‘how do you imbalance family life and work’ because that answer would be simple! The kids come first, but the business has to come first also. I’ll occasionally get some things done with them around, but most of my work gets squeezed into the 10 hours or so during the week during quiet/nap time and then whatever I have the energy to get done at night. They wear me out. They have energy. Lots of it. We are out and about, doing the normal SAHM things of playdates and going to Target because they are kids, but there are some days where it is total chaos. Poor Gregg can hear it all, when Phoenix is having a tantrum or Sage is falling apart over Phoenix grabbing her Rapunzel doll. Ya know, now that I think of it, these kids are completely unprofessional, and I’m not sure they are Modern Bird Studios material for employment. Poor Gregg has to make up for any interruptions from drama with the kids with late, late, LATE, late nights. And who needs sleep? The kids are lucky because they get to see both of us throughout the day, which is so much nicer than some families who barely get to see the dad. If they are going to develop baggage from childhood, it isn’t going to be because we weren’t around!
Tell us about your workspace.
My typical workspace is on the couch in the family room with my legs kicked up and the TV on. Gregg works in his studio, and he usually has music and a movie going. Sometimes I’m up at the kitchen counter to protect my computer from Phoenix’s Hulk hands slamming down on my keyboard. If the weather rocks, I’ll set up shop out on the front porch. I may look like a dork out there, but I do have Old Man Folsom and his sniper rifle across the street running the neighborhood watch so at least I’m safe.
What do you do to escape work and family life to just be you?
This is something I really do struggle with because there is so much going on and so much to keep track of and so much stress that it is almost inescapable and it messes with my sleep at night. And this mama bear is not easy to deal with if she isn’t sleeping well! Gregg and I love to stay in and watch movies and catch up on the DVR. Occasionally we’ll get out to see a movie in a theater or go out for a chocolate thunder from down under (from The Outback) because those things are calorie-packed and bomb diggity. Supposedly, they are building a PF Chang’s close to where we live, and if that happens, that may become the new hangout when time and money permits. I’ll bail on the family for a girl’s night every so often, and those are great for comedy relief and mind distraction. Plus, they usually focus around food from Red Robin, and have you had their milkshakes?? Yes, I consume sugar.
What advice would you give to moms that want to start a business? Any parting words of wisdom?
I suppose my advice would be to be patient. It isn’t going to happen overnight. You are really going to have to invest the time and build relationships before things are going to start happening. Be yourself. Be authentic. Be grateful. Try to find the humor of a situation. Remember that the kids are little for only a short time. Oh wait…this is advice I need to follow…
Mommyality combines Mommy and Reality. You never know what's going to happen, nor do you want to know. Read more from this author