13 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Mom with a Small Business
As I sit here thinking about the fact that our sweet Amelia turns two today, I can’t believe how fast time flies and am just amazed at the little person she is becoming. She is absolutely hilarious, SO smart, and is already as strong-willed as we guessed she would be. She’s also the most loving baby I’ve ever met. Her big little hugs and cuddles are the light of my days. While the last two years have been filled with so much love and happiness, I’m not going to sugarcoat the fact that they have also been the hardest.
I started my business in 2018 with 2 thoughts in mind: 1— I love weddings and events and 2— I want to own my own business so that I can have the freedom to be a present mom one day. And while I feel like I’m on my way to accomplishing this (not completely there yet), it has not been/isn’t easy.
Being a business owner/working mom is a constant game of emotional tug of war.
Take this week for example: Amelia usually only goes to daycare 4 days per week, leaving Monday as our day together (my goal is to get daycare down to 3 days per week, but that’s another story for another day). Her birthday is today (Friday), so I decided I’d work and send her to “school” Monday – Thursday and take Friday to celebrate her. Sounds reasonable, right?
Well, Monday morning arrives and when I dropped her off at “school”, she screamed, sobbed, and wouldn’t let me go. I left in tears because I didn’t want to leave her either, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking about ALL of the work things I need to do today so I can be present with her on her birthday.
In a nutshell, I’m working hard now so I can be with her later, but she doesn’t understand that and only wants to be with me now. Cue the mom guilt.
Disclaimer: on a normal basis, she loves school. She is a very social child and loves to be around other kiddos. And her daycare is great! We love her teachers and know she is cared for and safe when she’s there, this was just an off morning.
While this is a super specific example of a major mom guilt trigger, I feel it in some capacity every single day. And I know other moms do too. And it starts from the moment you find out you’re even going to be a mom. Forget to take your prenatal vitamins or choose to take a shower while your newborn is screaming in your husband’s arms? MOM GUILT.
So as I reflect on the last two years, I’m documenting some things I’ve learned, tell myself, or want to do differently in the future, in hopes that my fellow moms/working moms/business owners will find it helpful too when juggling the mom/work life.
1. Give yourself time to heal, physically and emotionally.
My “maternity leave” with Amelia was 18 days. I did a venue walkthrough with a client when she was 18 days old. Sorry if this is TMI, but I had to have Alex drive me and still couldn’t walk normally.
I did a full wedding day 6 weeks postpartum. *I had planned to send my team in my place, but the client’s father would not accept that. LOL*
2. Postpartum depression is real and we all experience it to some degree.
This one is a big one for me. It took me a year and a half to realize I was still battling it and to start talking to a counselor about it.
Not sure why it’s not built into our postpartum care (which really doesn’t exist either)
Don’t be afraid to tell someone you are struggling.
3. Give yourself time to soak up moments with your newborn.
It goes by so fast!
4. Have a maternity plan in place and rely on your team.
My business literally would not have survived if I hadn’t have had my team.
Set clear expectations with your clients and reiterate that your team is an extension of you and your business, so if they step in while you’re out and healing (or if something unexpected happens) assure them that they’ll be taken care of. And if your team is anything like mine, they are WAY better at their jobs than I am 🙂
5. You are going to let down both your clients and your family at some point.
You can’t possibly keep all the balls in the air all the time.
Babies/kids are unpredictable and so are clients, so sometimes you’re going to have to cut a meeting short to play mom, or call a baby sitter to play business owner.
6. Give yourself grace.
I STRUGGLE with this. But it’s so important.
Don’t dwell on the mistake you make or the balls you drop. Learn and move on.
7. Work/life balance doesn’t really exist when you own your own business. Replace balance with integration.
It’s never going to be an even scale.
8. Set boundaries.
I also majorly struggle with this, but I’m getting better.
If you say you don’t take calls or meetings after you pick your kids up, set that expectation with your clients from the VERY beginning.
9. Stay true to those boundaries.
As long as you’ve communicated your boundaries to your clients, it’s ok to enforce them.
10. Ask for help.
It took me 10 months of Amelia’s life to admit that I needed help and couldn’t work and take care of her at the same time. I wish so badly I would have admitted this earlier. For me and for her.
11. Daycare is not bad.
I don’t know why there is such a negative stigma around daycare. If you find the right one, it is amazing. Amelia has learned SO much, has hit milestones, and made cutie little friends from daycare. Also, they do the best activities and art projects – she definitely wouldn’t have that if she were home with me all the time – I don’t really consider myself a crafty mom.
12. Mom guilt is real, but don’t give into it.
Just because you are doing something for yourself or something that makes you feel like you, it does not warrant the feeling of guilt.
I literally have to verbalize and say NOPE! When it starts to sneak in or take over.
13. You are not a bad mom because you like to work.
Let’s say that again, YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM BECAUSE YOU LIKE TO WORK.
I love to work AND I love being a mom. You can love both.
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