Reality check: Being a mom is more than a full-time job.
I learned this very quickly this past year when I had Myles. While I'd like to say I have these top-secret hacks for adding more time to your day, I don't. And throwing running a business on top of this motherhood thing has made for some steep learning curves. The past 5 months have been the happiest and most challenging. While it hasn't been easy, I have managed to enjoy both running my business and my journey through motherhood during this crazy time.
So, if I were asked to give advice to another “mompreneur” as they say, here are my top 5 tips:
1. You don't have all the answers
Ain't that the truth. Finding out that you don't have all the answers is something that motherhood teaches you right away. But my biggest piece of advice is to stay humble and curious within that. The second you start thinking you know what to expect or how your day will go…BAM…your perfect angel baby who's been sleeping through the night decides he'd like to wake up every 3 hours again, or you fall behind in emails and lose that important job you were counting on. Taking the time to inwardly and outwardly acknowledge that you don't have it all figured out will do wonders for you, your family and your business.
2. Set up boundaries with your time and mind
Everything in here applies to fathers as well, but I am convinced that women a more difficult time setting up and sticking to boundaries. This applies to time, relationships, mindset… Think about it. Running a business is a full-time gig, and you don't just want to give your child the leftovers, do you? All I know so far is the early stages so far, but taking care of a child is constant. Daily you're faced with the decision to shower, workout, feed yourself, answer emails, nap, OR *fill in the blank* during your limited chunks of time while the baby naps. How are you supposed to do it all, AND do it well, AND have time for yourself? Guess what, you're not a robot, you can't.
It's absolutely imperative that you set up boundaries with your time for the sake of being present. Haven't seen that friend in weeks? Instead of feeling guilty about it, just acknowledge that you're doing your best. Being present within your boundaries of time that you've set up for yourself is the only way you're going to get anything done. Put your phone on do not disturb mode when you're working, so you don't get overwhelmed with guilt when that friend or family member checks in. Respond later and focus on devoting your time to what you can get done. While you're with your child, do the same. Work can wait, emails can wait. The moments you have with your tiny human aren't forever. Absorb them, even the hard ones and be fully present.
3. Celebrate the little things
The real magic happens when you're able to notice and celebrate the gummy smiles and little milestones. Along with that, writing a blog post or a couple emails in one sitting used to feel so small, but pop that champagne, that's a huge achievement! You will get more time to cross things off your to-do list, you won't get to see and celebrate the little things forever. Take your time with it!
4. You need a tribe
You hear this allll of the time. I honestly don't know how anyone would get anything done without help. My husband and I both work from home, so when one of us is hanging out with the baby, the other is working. Or 2-3 times a week, my mom is helps for a few hours and we're both able to get work done. Does it look like what it did before baby? Nope. But just having a consecutive 3 hours to get work done is a game changer! So, childcare, someone to run errands for you, or house cleaning, WHATEVER it looks like…you cannot do it all! If you want to be both a mother and a business owner you absolutely need help.
5. Switch it off
This kind of refers back to my point about setting boundaries but let me go into more detail here. When I'm working my phone is on do not disturb mode. I'm not distracted by social media, or texts, or random calls…I have very limited chunks of time to completely focus and knock out as much as I can in short sittings. So whether it's while the baby is napping, or someone is watching him for a few hours, I'm totally zoned in. So, the stories you see on Instagram, posts, etc., those are all filmed on my camera app and saved to post later (usually when I'm breastfeeding, lol). That way, I'm not spending my time filming stories and typing out text and adding swipe-up links, etc.
Similarly, when I'm with Myles, work is completely switched off. In fact, most of the time, my phone isn't near me. I do use breastfeeding as a time to get any little things done like stories and Instagram posts, but other than that, my attention is his for the two hours that he's awake between naps.
I realize I'm not coming up with anything new or profound here. But even while writing this post, it's so easy to think of times where I'm not applying my own advice. The reality of juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood is messy, bumpy, hard and hysterical all at once. I realize these 5 tips are nothing fancy, but with that, they're nothing new and that's because these struggles are so common. So, as you navigate both of these big jobs at once, go easy on yourself. Allow space to be “lazy” if you feel like it, or not feel guilty about an incomplete to-do list. The more you listen to yourself, the easier it becomes and the more you will get done.