Choosing Presence- Building a Family-Focused Business -by Emily Cretella for MotherHustle
presence: n. the fact or condition of being present | one that is present: the actual person or thing that is present; or something present of a visible or concrete nature | the bearing, carriage or air of a person | something (such as a spirit) felt or believed to be present

“Just one book. ONE book.”

I was putting my daughters to bed on a weeknight. It was about two years ago, so the girls were 3 and 5. And if you’ve ever had a 3 and/or a 5-year-old, then you know: bedtime isn’t the easiest time of the day.

“No, Mommy doesn’t have time. Mommy has work to do.”

My husband was, at the time, at a job where he worked until 8 or 9 p.m. each night. Add on his 25-minute commute, and the bedtime shenanigans were (hopefully) way over when he got home. It stunk for him: he didn’t get to see the girls. It really stunk for me:

I ended every day in a stressful race against time.

Pickup. Dinner. Baths. Stories. Bed. Pleasegotosleep. Pleasegotosleep. PLEASEGOTOSLEEP.

I was at an interesting point in growing my business: I had a lot of business, but no business plan.

I was taking on all types of clients and marketing work, and while I was outsourcing some of it, the majority of both the client work and the business minutiae fell on my shoulders. And I was accepting some crazy turnaround times, so I really had to use every moment I had to get shit done.

So every day, it was the same. I would stop my work in order to do the whole kid routine, and while I was doing that routine, I was constantly thinking and stressing about the work that I still had to complete that night.

During dinner, I was brainstorming headlines. During baths, I was answering emails. During storytime, I was anxious to just end it and head back to my office.

I was with my kids, but I wasn’t present. 

Work came first. Perhaps not physically, but always mentally.

And it made me feel … awful. I knew that while I had created a business that allowed me to be physically present for my kids each day — to put them on the bus, and pick them up, and put them to bed — I was as mentally present as I would have been if I was still working at an agency and spending long hours away from them.

This wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be able to cook dinner and focus on the recipe. I wanted to be able to read my kids bedtime stories and actually listen to the words I was saying. I wanted to be able to put my laptop away after my self-appointed work hours and CHOOSE whether it would open again or not that evening.

So I made some big changes in my business. And we made some big changes as a family.

My husband accepted a new job that allowed him to be home in time for dinner — which made a HUGE impact on our collective family lives. And I changed my business model to one where my family came first, always. I got super honest with what I needed for boundaries, and what I needed to clear the mental clutter that kept me from staying in the moment when I was with my children.

It took some time, and while it’s not perfect, recognizing that that true, limitless HUSTLE was not what I wanted — and not what would make me or my family thrive — was a critical step for my business. I needed to add the MOTHER back in — and not just add it in, I needed to lead with it.

If you’re struggling — like I was, mama — to build a family-focused business, fear not. This month, we’re going to be exploring the concept of PRESENCE, and what it means in motherhood and in entrepreneurship.

Some of the things we will be exploring:

  • How do you stay present, in parenting and/or in business? Is it challenging?
  • What tips do you have for being present at any given time?
  • What is one thing a new mom or new business owner should consider when fully showing up in either every day?
  • Have you struggled with maintaining presence in the past? How about now?

We want to hear from you, mama. We want to know what presence means to you. So join in on Facebook, or Instagram — or email me to chat about it — and let’s give ourselves the present of presence this holiday season.

Fun Bonus!

Run Your MotherHustle-Best Week Ever Workbook

Become a MotherHustle email subscriber and get our new free guide, Run Your MotherHustle: Best.Week.Ever. Workbook. It’s designed to help you do work you love while loving on your family. Sign up now to get your copy! 

Emily Cretella is the founder of, as well as the copywriting and content marketing firm, where she helps clients create + share stories their audiences love.

She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle. 


Access our free Members-Only Portal + get exclusive stories delivered weekly

  • Sol Connor

    Well given that it is nearly Christmas, I think December is a great month for the theme of presence. This theme comes up with me A LOT. I recently had to take some time off work (from my new job) to figure out how to reduce my stress levels and reassess my work/life balance. I only work part time – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but the problem was from the moment I left work on Thursday night I would spend 4 days worrying about what work might bring the next week. The worst part was on Monday evening, reading my son’s bedtime books, and it would dawn on me that I had work in the morning and instead of being present reading his books my mind would go into overdrive with anxiety and worry and the feeling of nausea and I was not really enjoying the time with him or being present. It got to the point where even though I had taken on the job to spend more time with him, weirdly I was somehow spending less time with him.

    I’m back at work now. Feeling much better. I realised that whilst I (usually) have a fun job helping young people in a homeless shelter, it is not my forever job. My forever job is the business I started in November last year and I have not worked on it one bit since I started my new part time job. This realisation has lit a fire under me. Since my time off I now spend my evenings attending a yoga class, a woodwork club, and a poetry night, and I spend 2 days a week working on my business and 2 days a week really spending quality time with my family and really being present with my family. I have no time left for worry. They weren’t distractions, just things I should have been spending my time on anyway, things that make me more me. And you know what? My stresses have melted away. I wasn’t living in the moment, I was living in the future, worrying about what hadn’t happened yet. Now I take work as it comes, and it turns out there’s nothing to worry about, I actually really enjoy my work.

    Ironically, my new business is also based on being present! is an ethical online gift company that specialises in time gifts, experience gifts, charity gifts and any gifts that do not involve stuff. Mostly gifts that involve collecting memories instead of things. I hope it goes some way into contributing to a world with less stuff, to people spending more time with each other, and to people valuing what’s more important in life. I’d be honoured if you had time to have a look at it and include a link in your blog if you like what I do. Thank you.

    December 13, 2017 at 11:59 pm

Instagram @motherhustle #motherhustle