Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a business leader and a parent at the same time? Or is this your current reality?
Being a business owner and a parent can be so stressful. Today, I’ll share with you what my experience has been and how I ended up birthing a business and a baby at the exact same time.
I actually was in a nine to five in my career when I was looking to build a business. I was doing my coaching certification and was getting ready to launch my business. What I didn't know is that even in the first segment of me getting my coaching certification, I would start to coach clients.
I started my business before I had left my career, which is often a great thing to do. It's like a “bridge job” that helps to support you financially while you're building your business.
Now, not everyone can or wants to do it and that’s totally fine. But I decided that I would use my maternity leave as an opportunity to fully launch my business. That might sound absolutely crazy, but it made sense for me.
People said, “You can't focus on your business when you have a baby. You’re going to have no time.” In one respect, that’s right. But in the other respect, I wasn’t at my 9-5 anymore, so my responsibility was less - I just had to be creative and flexible.
While I was coaching and running my business part-time while pregnant I ended up birthing a business and a baby at the exact same time in December 2011. I took about three weeks off from coaching clients. It was definitely a stretch, but it worked for me.
I knew I’d have to split up my workday, an hour here and two hours there while she slept where I could work. Then an hour here and two hours there, where I am focusing on my baby. I’d coach when my husband was home, or when I had baby coverage. I never returned to that job (just had it as a plan B). Three years later as I was growing my business, I realized it was time to grow my family, so we then had our son.
Now we have a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old, and I'm the primary caregiver because my husband works early or he works late. His shifts are all over the place. Since I work from home and schedule my own time, I'm the constant one for my family and the one who organizes the kids, the house, and everything else.
Being Pulled in Two Directions
Being a parent and a CEO is a constant personal pull between wanting to be at home and making grilled cheese sandwiches and wanting to go and build your empire. (The same can be true for working parents.) At least that's what I have experienced. I want to have both things. I want to be out there attending events, and flying around to speaking and coaching engagements. But I also wanted to be home watching my kids' baseball games or being the one there for their first words and their first steps.
Freedom to Choose
It's my decision that I travel for work, and that's fine. But also having my own business has allowed me to have the freedom to be at home. So that one year on that leave, it was amazing:
But in that 1st year since I was a business owner, I also had to pull away sometimes and go coach clients or attend a networking event. I'd have to find kid coverage and I’d miss out. That reality was a lot harder for me than it was for the women who were in a career and got a real full year off.
But the benefit is, when you have a business, you don't have to actually go straight back to work after that one year off. Having my own business has allowed me the freedom to be at home to be with my kids, and also to travel back and forth from BC to my hometown in Ontario to see my family, which was very important for me. You see, I didn't grow up with grandparents (they were in England) and so it was really important for me to be able to have my kids grow up with the grandparents.
Not only does becoming a parent really change you and change your business, but as a woman, it's also obvious that when you're increasing the size of your family, the amount of work that you have also increases.
Side note: if you have children, don't compare yourself to other people who don't have children or other people who are in a very different situation from you. I know many coaches who don't have children, and they have so much more time. Also don't compare yourself to someone who has kids, but has a nanny and has support so they can do more.
I Kept My Second Pregnancy a Secret
During my second pregnancy, I was doing a big launch of one of my new programs. I'll tell you a secret. I chose not to share about my pregnancy publicly. For five months, it was a secret. I was leading Dynamic Women events, I was seeing clients, I didn't tell anyone except my close circle that I was pregnant until I was five months along. Now, why would I do this?
Well, as a female business owner, I didn't want my potential clients to think that I couldn't do a great job serving them. I don’t want them to think:
On the flip side that, maybe they felt like they were burdening me:
So I waited until I couldn't hide it anymore.
You Need Support
The best thing I have done to be a really successful business owner and a kind of successful Mom (I'll be honest, I'm not winning at being a mom most days) is bringing a team to support me:
That's also what I have to do because I don't have family here. So what if my meals aren't always lavish and if my laundry isn't always folded? I've let go of that perfectionism a long time ago.
If you are going to be balancing these two high-priority, high needs, high energy, high demand things, then you need to be able to let some things go. My kids know I love them, and I'm not always present. I'll be honest, I'm not. While they may not always understand, and they may think that I’m always gone or always working, what they don't know is that other parents are…
This doesn’t make career parents bad parents, it’s pretty normal and they have other people in place to take care of these things.
What I hope for my family and what I hope for you and your children is that they're seeing their mom live their passion every day. Children should see their parents really love what they do and not settle. I hope you're able to play this lovely teeter-totter of putting your time and energy into both being a parent and being a business owner.
You are doing your absolute best at both. There will be days when one feels too hard, where you don't have success, where you maybe feel like you're a failure at both. There are many times that I've had those moments of frustration, “Wow, I am a crappy mom and a crappy business owner.” But I wouldn't change it for the world because I'm sure there would be times where I'd be a crappy career woman and a crappy mom.
I Choose this Hard
They're both hard. They're all hard. Being a parent in itself is hard. AND I'm going to pick this hard. But I want you to know… keep it going! You’ve got this! Do your best! Live Your Passion! Don't settle! Don't beat yourself up. Instead, know that what you're doing in the world is important. It's valuable, so just keep going and stay dynamic!
Get Goaled! Coaching Mastermind
Connect with me