Nicki Jergensen is the Mom behind Exploration Art School in Bel Air, MD. In addition to being a business owner and art educator, she is a devoted Mom of three. I caught up with her to chat about her and the art of motherhood while running a business.
So who ARE you?
Well I am a Taurus – I am a very sensitive, hardworking person and generous person. I love staying home with my family. I take comments personally because I put my heart into everything that I do. I like working – it makes me feel productive. I am creative and sometimes I can be in my own world. I am not a very good house keeper. I am a task completer! I like to go from one project to another with out taking a break. I LOVE rocking and singing to my children – it is one of the times that I allow myself to relax. I love learning. I have always had to work for everything that I have done – nothing ever came easy for me. I love to dance & sing and be outdoors. I have been through IVF 6 times and almost thought of myself as a warrior. I am determined and if I want to accomplish something – look out! I love spending time with a few close friends. I love being outside with my kids & husband and I love making camp fires.
What are you passionate about?
My children and family, Exploration Art School, helping children be confident through art. I also love cars (some day I would love to own a Jeep Wagoneer).
I think the VW Thing is one of the coolest cars.
How has your perception of yourself changed since becoming a mother?
Before motherhood I wasn’t very flexible and my expectations were way high. It took us a long time to have our children and after the struggle to have children I had changed my views on life. I left teaching to stay home with our son (which I probably wouldn’t have done if I just got pregnant). I am more flexible now. I have also been involved in a Moms Bible Study Group for the past four years and I have really learned to become more empathetic and understanding of people and the struggles they may be facing. I have definitely become a better teacher since becoming a mother. I now can fully see that all children are different. I’m softer.
What inspired you to start Exploration Art School?
I started Exploration Art School after a very horrible loss. We had miscarried twins and I was a mess. I knew I neededto throw my self into something to get me out of my depressive state. I had also been helping out at the Center for the Arts and I knew that there was a great need for a quality art educational program in the area. Our son who was two at the time was challenging and had a speech and language delay. I felt unsure of my mothering abilities. I knew that teaching art was something that I was successful at. I knew how much happiness art had always brought me and helped me throughout my life. I started in the basement of our home with a parent and child toddler class and worked my way up from there. Our son also took the classes with me and I could tell that having him work with the materials and also meet some new friends was a good thing! It became a wonderful outlet for me.
What is the hardest part of the juggle between business owner and mother? How do you cope?
Just being a mother is a challenge. All mother’s want the best for their children and family and want to have time for everyone. The hardest part of owning a business and being a mother is missing out on family time. Two days out of the week I have to miss out on family dinner and this year I have had to miss some of my sons ball games. You have to put aside time and have a family that understands that you love them but that you also love what you do when you are working. Often I stay up late after the kids & my husband have gone to bed to get my paperwork and computer work done. I do work weekends, so when everyone is hanging in their pj’s I am off to work. My husband has been very supportive and he is a wonderful father so that is really a blessing. I am also not as hard on myself if I don’t get something done. I try my hardest to plan out my day for maximum task completion. If something doesn’t get done then I try and tell myself it is ok.
What is your favorite part of being a mother and entrepreneur?
My favorite part about having Exploration Art School is that I can take my children to school. I am able to create my own schedule which is great. I love understanding how to work with children through art. My kids are also starting to be of the age where they can periodically come to work with me and that is exciting. I love being able to create something of my own. I like updating my website, registering students and forming new programs. I love building relationships with families. I tend to have students who come back year after year and that is really cool. I can watch them grow as people and artists.
what is your favorite aspect of motherhood?
I love being a mother. I love hugging and holding my kids. I love rocking them and snuggling in next to them to watch a movie. I love hearing them laugh and I love watching them play & have fun. I love it when they call me Mama.
Wardrobe styling by the Jergensen Family.
Hair by Lori Watson at Andy’s Barber Shop.
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