I’m 5 months into motherhood and I am no expert but there is tons that no one warns you about in the beginning. Let me shed some light on some of it. Before the baby arrived, I had no clue what it would be like but I was pretty sure I would be able to seamlessly juggle my two babies: my fashion line, Tabii Just, and my child. I worked right up until the day before my induction. I figured it couldn’t be that hard.
Boy, was I wrong.
Here are 6 things that no one tells you about juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood.
1) Motherhood is all consuming…and it’s awesome.
I’ve always juggled multiple projects. That’s one of the things I love about being a fashion designer. I can work on a pop-up shop while preparing fabrics for the next collection while selling the last one. I love it all. I was sure I could add motherhood to the mix, schedule it in and all would be dandy. Again, super wrong. Couldn’t be more wrong. Not only is a baby physically present at all times, my brain also is re-wired differently. Everything is now in relation to the baby. For every evening event I get invited to, I have to figure out whether it’s worth it to miss bath and bedtime. It was definitely not easy at the beginning, to be honest. Eventually, though, it became a part of life to have this all-consuming aspect to it. Now, every day is made better when I come home to his smiles.
2) The need to ensure your company is revenue-building becomes more important.
As a young business, I used to take part in things that didn’t directly equate to sales at times. It’s important to get the word out about a new business. Now that the baby is here and every second is related to him, I value my time with Tabii Just more. When I work on the line, it absolutely has to be a forward-moving action that relates to sales in some way. I’ve taken part in several events in the past for the press. Since having the baby, though, I’ve scaled back significantly on activities like that and try to only do things that are related to sales like testing more samples, doing more fittings, doing more research on making the business more sustainable and selling to buyers directly. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the other aspects of the business. It’s just that, if it’s not positively affecting the wellbeing of my little family unit, it becomes less attractive instantly.
3) You will finally get it.
Fashion is a tough business. I’m a part of a vibrant community of young talent who are focused on local manufacturing and sustainability. Since becoming a mother, though, I’ve become more understanding of women who have to juggle kids and entrepreneurship. It’s a challenge and we need all the support we can get. I ask for help and I ask for it often. When another mother entrepreneur is struggling I totally get it because it’s pretty much the same struggle for all moms. We want to be good moms, we feel guilty for working too much, we want to be there all the time but can’t. It’s important to support other women who are going through the same thing.
4) The guilt you feel for not spending every second with your baby is the worst feeling ever.
When I have long days and come home past the baby’s bedtime, it feels like a part of my day is missing. I’m a sucker for daily cuddles and his adorable little smiles. When I have 2 long days in the row, I miss him in an unbelievable way. My heart is now capable of a depth of feeling that I never thought possible. I worry that, if I spend too much away from him, that he will forget who I am or, worse, grow up thinking that he’s not numero uno in my life. I worry that he will remember those days that I miss bedtime more than the days I’m there. The guilt is real, my friends. Luckily, he spends most his days with a grin on his face so I’m guessing that means he is happy.
5) Finding a balance between your two babies is not going to happen.
There are many female entrepreneurs out there who make it look easy. They return to work right after birth, pump in the break room and leave work at 5. I’ve come to realize that those people aren’t entirely honest. It just is not possible to find a permanent balance. The process is a constant ebb and flow. Sometimes, I’m up at 1am (like now as I write this) working because I’ve juggled work and the baby all day. Bedtime routine was a breeze and I still have energy to work. Sometimes, though, I have days full of meetings, peppered with visits to the factory and the satisfaction of seeing perfect samples. There is no perfect balance. It’s a myth and the more I chased after it, the more inadequate I felt for not achieving it. I wish I could tell new moms to cut themselves some slack. If you’re driven and working on your own business, do your utmost best to work hard but leave out the judgments. You’ll feel so much better about it.
6) It takes a village.
I’m very fortunate to belong to a big community that includes one super supportive husband, friends and family that pitch in often to help with the baby. Without their help, I could not continue to work on Tabii Just. That’s the honest truth. We do a babysitter share with a good friend and we often have family and friends watching the baby. He has consistency, they enjoy spending time with him and I can work. It’s a win win for all. I can’t imagine doing this without their support. A few months ago, right after coming back from maternity leave, I had a crazy work day and came home at 3am. Luckily, my husband was home at 7pm to relieve the babysitter and he was pretty understanding because he is an entrepreneur himself. I can’t imagine that scenario with a complaining husband. It helps me with the aforementioned guilt to have a community that believes in Tabii Just as much as I do and want to see it succeed.
If you’re thinking of having a little one and not sure how you will manage, let me tell you that it all just works itself out. Some days are better than others but your passion for your business will continue to drive you forward and your love for your baby will lead to you being an amazing mother. The biggest key to it all is cutting yourself some slack and remembering that all you can do is your best. The rest will just be what it is.