Everything I Needed to Know About Business I Learned in Mommy and Me Class

Almost 20 years ago, I had my first child.

In those first few weeks after he was born, I hardly recognized my body in the mirror: my former shape was nowhere to be found.

I wanted to get my body back as soon as possible. At the same time, I knew I wasn’t going to train for a triathlon. I’ve never been the athletic type, and competing in a sporting event wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

There had to be some kind of exercise I could do that would work with my natural tendencies and current situation.

Mommy and Me to the Rescue

The local community center was running a Mommy and Me aerobics class. (Yes, aerobics — complete with tights, big bangs and permed hair. This was the nineties, after all!)

Months earlier, I had started my own business. Little did I know that some of the most important business lessons I’d learn would happen in that class.

I signed myself up, and stuffed my lumpy body into black tights (the slimming color, right?) and — to my chagrin — entered a large room with a mirror along one side.

So this was how it was going to be. Not only did I see my blobby body as I got dressed into my gear, I was going to have to watch myself as I stumbled through the unfamiliar exercises. Great.

Of course, there were babies, too. Lots of babies.

Everyone brought their newborns, and in between reps, we’d compare notes. “Is yours sitting up yet?” “Did she sleep through the night this week?” “What kind of stroller is the easiest of travel with?”

Our Fair Leader, and Her Favorite Phrase

The best part of the class was our teacher. Regina was peppy and encouraging. She was patient, too. After all, we were a group of moms trying to exercise with a bunch of newborns scattered around the room. There were more than a few interruptions in every class.

Through it all, Regina buoyed us. There was one phrase she said over and over, and it turned out to be a very important business lesson:

“Progress, not perfection.”

Regina said, “Look. You’ve just had a baby. It takes time to get back in shape. By being here, you’ve taken the most important step. And as long as you keep stepping in this direction, you’ll get there. Just try to make progress. Don’t expect perfection.”

Here’s what Mommy and Me taught me about business:

  • Monitor your progress with an overview of your activities. You’ll see yourself stumble, too, and that’s OK.
  • Share ideas and get encouragement from other business owners. I later joined a mastermind group, and I’m such a fan of what they can do for your business that I’ve started my own group.
  • Be patient. Your business success won’t be instantaneous, but as long as you’re moving in the right direction, you’ll get there.

I’ll always be grateful to Regina and that class. Not only did she help me adopt a healthier view toward exercise, she taught me business lessons that I still use to this day.

What business lessons have you learned from being a mom? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Let’s talk!

About the author:
This post was written by Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System. Your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG! Polish up your marketing materials and make them work for you with her free Marketing Toolkit.

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Pamela Wilson

Founder at Big Brand System
Pamela Wilson is an award-winning graphic designer and marketing consultant who has helped small businesses and large organizations create 
“big brands” since 1987.

In 2010, she founded Big Brand System to show small business owners how a system of strategic marketing and 
great design makes them look professional,
 cohesive and successful. She believes that your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG.

Pamela is now Director of Special Projects at Copyblogger Media, where she helps people build a strong presence on the web.
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10 Comments

  1. Kalia Kelmenson

    This is great- Keep taking steps in the direction you want to go in. I’ll admit, patience in business is that hardest thing for me- I just want to ‘be there’ already (where is ‘there’ again??) – I teach my clients about keeping themselves fit(mentally, physically and emotionally) for the journey of owning a biz- and I find that there are great parallels between what I teach my clients and what I’ve learned about marketing- It’s one thing to KNOW what to do, It’s a whole other thing to actually DO the things that will make a difference-

    Reply
    • Pamela Wilson

      Hi Kalia,

      Thanks for this comment. I agree that it’s tough to keep pushing along without seeing results. It’s kind of like raising children: you do those everyday tasks, answer their questions, provide guidance … but you don’t really see the results of your efforts until they’re grown up and are making decisions on their own.

      You’ve hit on the secret, in my opinion: enjoy the journey! That’s great advice. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Pamela Wilson

    Thanks Elle and Holly! I have fond memories of that class, and (as you can see) am still learning lessons from it.

    Reply
  3. Holly Hanna

    This is such a great analogy – just like getting in shape, business success does not happen overnight. But keeping one foot in front of the other and you’ll eventually get there.

    Reply
  4. elle

    Nicely said.

    Reply

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