I can’t believe it was eleven years ago that I first registered the domain Whynotmom.com! So MUCH has changed over the years and like many wives and mothers, it all started with my desire to help our family finances.
My youngest was merely an infant at the time. My husband had been laid off for the third or fourth time as a diesel mechanic. A career in the construction trade industry used to be steady work, but when the housing industry collapsed and the construction slowed down, so did the work. He was the last one to be hired on most crews, which meant he was usually the first to be let go. My husband and I even started our own home inspection business, but alas it wasn’t meant to be after the housing economy collapsed before us.
A Shift that we all felt
There was a shift that many families were feeling at this time. When the jobs that were normally male-oriented jobs started becoming less available, there suddenly became a need for jobs that were seemingly more female-oriented.
When I was young and single, I had worked in customer service for telecommunication companies for 10 years. When our youngest was about one year old, we decided I would go back to work for the local phone company, while my husband stayed home with the kids.
Due to the cost of daycare, it never made sense for us both to work when most of one month’s paycheck was almost equal to the daycare bill.
Back to Square One
Going back to work was a miserable experience for us both. The good thing that came from it was that we both realized how hard it was to be in each other’s shoes. Playing the part of the provider vs. the caretaker really opened both of our eyes. I loved being home with our children and he was much happier when he was working.
We put our heads together and came up with a plan for us BOTH to go back to school while he worked part-time and we would live off student loans for a short time. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best course of action financially but we were desperate. After working for the phone company for one full year, I left to return to college full time.
Shortly after my son was born I started looking for ways to work at home and that’s when I came up with my business idea for Why Not Mom and registered the domain. I had no idea what I was doing, knew nothing about blogging, coding or web design, but I knew in my heart that this idea I had for my business would someday take off, but I first needed to acquire the skills to do so.
This became my drive to go back to school and major in web development at the community college. I figured if I knew how to design my website myself, I wouldn’t have to pay someone else to do it for me. I always enjoyed technology and social media was just starting to take off at the time.
So off to college I went and my hubby decided to major in computer security and forensics at the community college followed by computer science at the university level. He always loved computers and knew it was a high demand position, but the demand and knowledge required in that field were also overwhelming.
How Why Not Mom was born
In my aforementioned search for work at home jobs, most everything I found was either a scam, a direct sales business (which I tried several of already and it just wasn’t for me), or it required investment. There were VERY FEW legitimate jobs to be found, especially at that time. Even more concerning was that it seemed as though they were targeting women who were desperate to supplement their family income too!
That infuriated me to no end. Then I discovered something else along the way. I found many mom owned start-up businesses and inventions that had fantastic ideas and solutions for everyday problems.
What saddened me is that many of them closed up shop and no longer were in business. They had great products and services but it wasn’t enough to keep them going financially.
What happened? Why didn’t they succeed? I was determined that I was going to do something about it and that was the beginning of Whynotmom.com!
A long journey ahead
It was soon after I got this idea that I realized it was going to have to be put on the back burner. Not once but many times over the years. I had taken the step to register the domain but I had no idea what I was doing. I went back to work for a year and then I went back to school so I could learn more about the industry. With only four credits shy of my Associate’s degree I left school to be home with my kids while my husband went out on the road as a truck driver full time.
I wasn’t even sad about quitting college. Honestly, it was never about the degree for me. I mainly wanted to learn what I needed to run a website and design my own graphics if need be. I learned that I didn’t really enjoy coding much, but I loved graphic design! Unfortunately, graphic design wasn’t being taught at the community college I was attending, but I knew that if I really wanted to learn I could take online courses and teach myself which I did. See my graphic designs here!
Hello back burner, we meet again
Once my husband decided to go back out on the road I knew I had to be there for my kids 100%. That meant my business would have to take the back burner once again. The hardest part was hearing him say these words: “Honey I have to leave my job, quit school, and go back to being a truck driver.” He had been a truck driver a few years before we ever met but quit because he wanted to settle down and have a family.
He explained that he knew he could make a good salary as a truck driver and the insurance benefits would be an added bonus. He couldn’t stand not having financial stability like we had experienced when he was laid off from his mechanic work. So he began truck driver refresher training courses for three straight months without being able to come home. It was HELL! All three of our kids were devastated in their own way. They loved their Daddy something fierce! Our youngest with special needs really had a hard time with it. He couldn’t comprehend why he couldn’t just go see Daddy whenever he wanted too. Why Daddy was always gone, why couldn’t we just drive to the truck stop and pick him up? The tears, oh the tears….
I went through stages of emotions myself. I was angry at him for leaving me with three kids to raise by myself, depressed and lonely at the thought of not having my husband in my bed every night, sad whenever I had to hear and see the tears streaming down my child’s face when they missed him. I was a married woman raising kids like a single mom; or as I half-jokingly called myself “a single married mom”.
When your husband is gone for an average of 4-6 weeks at a time you find yourself looking for ways to create a new normal to help your children adjust. For me. I had to pull myself out of the depression I kept climbing into. For the sake of my kids and my marriage I had to keep “trucking on” for lack of a better expression.
I started blogging and learning more about social media. I become connected with as many business professionals and bloggers in my niche as I could. I had created a strong network of work at home moms and women inventors and felt a new purpose in my life.
But something was missing and no matter how I tried I couldn’t fill the void. It was time to look for ways to bring my husband back home again. As much as I wanted to make enough money with my business so he could work locally, or better yet work with me, I knew that was going to be a long road ahead to get to that point. In the meantime, my kids needed their Daddy and I needed my husband. So what to do?
The Point of No Return
At this point, we had to make a decision. Having my husband gone for 4-6 weeks at a time was hard enough for us. But every time he returned home it would throw our whole routine off and made things harder each time. My youngest is autistic so he thrives on routine.
At the time my husband was working for a trucking company that had several terminals all over the US but none of them were anywhere near where we lived in Idaho. A lot of freight comes from the Midwest region due to the industry there. I started looking at different terminal locations and we determined that Lafayette, Indiana would be the most suitable location nearest a terminal.
It was central to most of the regional states he would deliver and that guaranteed he would be home nearly every weekend! Once we made up our minds to move, there was no going back. We were going to be together again! It wasn’t easy leaving our family and friends back in Boise, Idaho, but in the end, we knew our family had to come first.
Four years later
It’s been four years since we moved to Lafayette, Indiana. It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. Financially, emotionally, physically it drained us. But we overcame and we are moving forward. Many tears shed, many hearts were broken, but we persisted and we adjusted and acclimated ourselves.
About five months after moving here he decided to become an owner operator with a different company. He loved it and it worked well for us with him being home nearly every other weekend. Unfortunately, this last winter the nation had a record low in rates for freight for owner operators. We made the hard choice but it was definately the right one for him to return back to his previous company. I am SO glad he did because shortly after starting with them again they offered him a new dedicated route. He’s now home EVERY morning and has Sundays off! The kids love seeing their Dad every day and I love having him home again. It’s been SEVEN years since he’s been home like a ‘normal’ job and a HUGE blessing for us as a family.
As much as we love and miss our Idaho family, we are glad to be ‘home’ because home is where your heart is and for now that is in Lafayette, Indiana.
The future of Whynotmom.com
My dream….my ULTIMATE DREAM is to turn Why Not Mom into the world’s LARGEST online directory of mom-owned businesses and invented products!
Imagine every time you need to purchase a product or service you would just go to our site, click on a category, and find what you need! |The best part is it would help a family pay their rent or mortgage, provide dance or piano lessons, pay for sports equipment for their children. This is my DREAM! To support families through purchases you would make anyway and put your money to good use instead of padding corporate pockets. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!
PHEW! I know right??
The thing is, I’ve had this dream in my head for over a DECADE y’all!
That’s a LONG time and I have to admit I’ve been really hard on myself, in the last year especially, because honestly, I thought I’d have accomplished this goal by now.
In fact, I went into a deep depression last summer because I was so upset with myself that I hadn’t gotten anywhere with it.
The problem was that I hadn’t seen how far I had come, I was only focusing on how far I had to go.
I’m here to tell you that I HAVE come a LONG way and yes there is still a long road ahead but I know, I KNOW that I am NOT alone in this.
God, my family, my friends have been with me all along.
I can do this…. I WILL DO THIS! I hope you join me in this journey.
Why Not Mom today
This month I had my GRAND OPENING of my very FIRST online store! The reason this is such a HUGE deal is that it’s the first step towards launching my directory!
What’s coming next…
I have been actively seeking and offering free listings in my upcoming directory to mom-owned businesses with plans to offer very reasonably priced solutions for larger ad spaces to promote their businesses.
Last spring I also started a series on mom entrepreneurs that I plan on continuing again soon. (Apply here if you’re interested.)
In the near future, I will be offering tutorials, webinars, and courses to those who need to strengthen their skill set or learn a new one. I will be aligning myself with brands who believe in strengthening families, supporting diversity, and offering their services as well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know me and my story a bit better. Let me know what else you would like to see in my directory and/or my blog. Let’s work together to make this happen!
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P.S. Thank you to all who have supported me over the years, especially my husband, children, my sisters and my parents who have always believed in me and my business, I love you all!
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As the founder of Why Not Mom; a unique online directory of mom-owned boutiques and mom-invented products, Tonia has strived to create a unique organization of female business owners, creating a diverse network that assists each other in driving more business to one another, in addition to providing tools and resources to achieve success in their business endeavors. It is her passion to make Why Not Mom the world’s largest online directory of women-owned businesses in the pursuit of strengthening families and supporting small business owners worldwide.