Babies and business

Many of you will know that I have a toddler, and as you can imagine, running a business with a little one running circles around you isn’t the easiest thing in the world to manage.
But it is a situation which I wouldn’t change for the world, I love having the freedom to be able to take time when needed to get involved with all the firsts, to be able to stay at home if my baby is unwell and spend the day doling out much needed mummy cuddles.
It is, however, something which no-one can prepare you for, being an business owner and a mother at the same time. Several people thought I was mad, but I was determined to make it work.
And it can work, you just have to get really clever about time management, and be able to adapt to constantly changing priorities.
But for anyone who is considering running a business with a baby, or has a business and is thinking about starting a family, then there’s some advice which I’d happily pass on, as someone who has been there, and is still doing it (not too badly!)
The first thing is that I couldn’t do it without the support of my husband and family, it’s key to be able to have that understanding for it to work. Running your own business is hard enough work, and when you’re putting in long hours to try and establish yourself and then grow the business, you’re bound to feel the effects. Add to that a teething baby, restless nights, and illnesses, and you’re going to be stretching yourself even thinner. So as much as you can, it’s important to try and instil some sense of structure, give yourself periods of time off, and space to deal with the fact that you are a working mum with her own business. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! It doesn’t mean you can’t cope, it just means that you are structuring your time to spend it on the things which you should be doing. Anything which you can’t do, or someone else could do in half the time you can, then if possible, outsource!
Don’t be too hard on yourself! This is the toughest lesson I have had to learn. You want to try and continue as normally as possible, not to let clients or customers down, but you have to give yourself a break! If they are the right clients for you, they will understand. It doesn’t make you any less of a business person.
If you are about to have a baby, then use the time whilst pregnant to put into place processes, help, generally a strategy on how the business is going to operate once the baby is here. You do need some time off, so don’t be crazy like I was and try and carry on going, you’ll be better use all round if you have taken some time off to really enjoy being a mum.
Recognise that the guilt will always be there, but that’s ok. Working at the same time as taking your child to the doctors, or taking calls on the way to soft play is ok, you aren’t neglecting your child. In fact, you are incredibly lucky to be able to take your child to soft play in the week, full-time employed mums would be chomping at the bit to be in your position.
Recognise that what you are doing is for the whole benefit of the family. Aim to get the balance right, set times (as much as possible) for work and being a parent, and remember that you are in one of the lucky ones.
I would say that is my secret to making babies and business work hand in hand.