How I juggle being a business owner and a mother is a topic that seems to come up often on Instagram, which tells me many of you are working through this alongside of me. As more women have the opportunity to own their own business, work from home, and have children (sometimes all in the same season) they also face the challenge of knowing which part of life to focus on and when.
Working Before Kids
Before I had the girls, it was mostly just me working on Whimsy + Wellness with every waking minute I had. Work was fun. I would turn on Gossip Girl reruns and have that playing in the background while I worked in my little office with my coffee cup sitting next to me. I remember thinking, “This is so nice!”
Work was relaxing, but also giving me purpose.
Working After Kids
Obviously, that all changed when Posey was born.
I prepared a lot before she was born. I wanted to take 6 weeks off so that we could really enjoy our rainbow baby that we had waited so long for. At the time, Russ still had his day job, so I felt like I could close the shop for 6 weeks and we would be okay. But as a new business owner, this was still nerve-wracking. You don’t know how it will impact things, but it was important to me, so I did it. I posted on social media during that 6 weeks, keeping our customers updated and involved in our new transition and everyone was so understanding.
Posey was not an easy baby by any means. She didn’t have colic, but she cried a lot. She was very particular about how I held her, wouldn’t let me sit down, and wanted me to stand and soothe her (or wear her) all day. As a result, my hands were pretty much full all day and working was hard.
I quickly realized those cozy days in the office were over. And I would definitely not be watching TV shows in the background.
Asking For Help and Realistic Expectations
Once Russ went back to work and our shop was open again I realized that I needed help and I needed to set realistic expectations.
I already had a little help with making products and packaging orders (we were still making things at home). But, I started asking for help with things around the house, with holding Posey, and outsourcing other parts of the business.
I also realized that recovering after labor and delivery is NOT the time to set super sales and go for massive growth. When Goldie was born, we were living solely off of the income of Whimsy + Wellness. This meant I had Russ’s help, but also that we couldn’t, in good conscience, close the shop like we had done before.
Like before, I planned and planned ahead of time to have things ready so I could take a step back from working as much. Unfortunately, we had manufacturing delays and Goldie came early, so we had our biggest launch yet 3 days after she was born.
That was a hard adjustment.
While I wouldn’t recommend that, I do recommend asking for help. By that point in the business I felt like I could hand things off and step back from things if I needed to.
Time Management After Kids
Before kids, I would kind of work all day and not watch how much time I was devoting to things. Russ was gone at work anyway and there was no real rush. After kids, I learned to be more productive with my time.
When people talk about that nap time hustle? It’s real!
Posey sleeps anywhere from 1-3 hours for nap time. We just started laying Goldie down for naps (someone was always holding her or wearing her for all of her naps before this) and it was a rough transition! But, now she takes about 3 naps a day for 1-2 hours.
The difference is that with these precious hours I’ve become super focused because I know how valuable that time is. I’m motivated to work smarter because I know that the time I save is time I will get back with my kids. If you would like some helpful tips on how I set my schedule you can go HERE.
Energy Levels When You’re Getting Up In The Night
I love coffee. There’s just nothing like waking up after a night of nursing and having that cup to look forward to. I also like changing up the scenery and going to my favorite coffee shop to work. It completely energizes me and I feel like I’m way more productive when I’ve stepped away from my normal work space.
And because a huge part of my job hinges on my ability to access my creativity, I take breaks. Russ is really good about taking the kids and letting me get out and away just by myself, even if it’s just Target. I look for inspiration everywhere. Usually, it revolves around whatever project we are currently working on. For example, right now we’re working on packaging, so I will go browse aisles with products that have similar shapes and sizes to our packaging. I’ll really take my time (something you can do when the kids aren’t with you!), noticing the details, and taking pictures.
I also have this energy blend that I like to put in a roller bottle or the diffuser…
- Citrus Blend, or orange/lemon
Use equal parts of the oils and top with favorite carrier oil in a roller bottle. Or, drop equal parts essential oils in diffuser filled with water.
When My Kids Really Need Me
The first thing I do when I notice my kids really need me is stop everything I’m doing and just set my phone down or walk away from the computer and go get down on their level with them.
Goldie is focused on nursing right now, but Posey is at a stage where she needs me more emotionally. In the mornings, before Goldie wakes up, I spend one-on-one time with just Posey. I don’t get any work done, I just reserve that time for playing and hanging out. I think that helps throughout the day when I am working.
I feel especially lucky that my mom is their caregiver because they have such a close bond with her that I don’t feel as guilty that I can’t be there all the time.
At the end of the day, if my kids needs me, they come first. If Russ and I get behind on something with work it’s on us. That’s the nice thing about working for ourselves…we get to make that decision to put something off to take care of our kids or our family.
The Best Encouragement I’ve Ever Received About Being a Mother and Working Full Time
It’s empowering when I see other moms on Instagram say, “Yeah, I do work on my phone in front of my kids.” Or, “I had to put a movie on so that I could get some things done.” It gives me a huge relief to see women being honest about what it takes to juggle work and motherhood, and encouraging that none of us is getting it all done at any one point.
We’re all making trade-offs.
This transparency from other women has also encouraged me to show my girls that I am working hard and making money to pay for things. It’s something that is apart of life and to have your kids see you working on something you’re passionate about is important. Posey is already started to say, “Mama, working?!” And I tell her, “Yes. Your Mama is working!”
The Best Piece of Advice I’ve Received
I’ve been fortunate in that I have friends who have been mothers and business owners longer than me. Chelsea from Put On Love Designs is one of them and we talk all the time. One of the things she has said to me that has always stuck with me is that juggling your personal life and your business is all about seasons.
It’s okay to spend a lot of time on work and it’s okay to take a break and just spend time on your family and let work be on the back burner. That’s really helped me when I’m in the thick of it. You can feel guilty for not working and then you can feel guilty for not spending time with your family.
To give you example of how this plays out practically in my life…
This week I’m working a lot and won’t be spending time doing as many fun things with my family because next week we’re going on vacation and I won’t be doing hardly any work at all. I won’t be keeping up with my email as much and I won’t be checking in because I have a team that is handling that for me. Knowing that I have that break to look forward to helps me push a little harder and know that that is okay.
The One Thing I Want My Girls To Remember About Me Working
I want my girls to remember, “My mom built her own business. And my dad got to work with her, too.”
And I want them to remember that we helped people.
We didn’t do this to make tons of money, but we did it to give people tools to build a happier and healthier life. We did it to take care of our customers and our employees and I want them to remember that we really cared for people and led with kindness. I also want them to look at us and believe that they can do anything they want to do, but that doing so will require a lot of them. It will take hard work, perseverance, resilience, and grit. Hopefully, them seeing me will help them know that they’ve got everything it takes to do it, too.