There are two things I’ve always known I wanted since before I could remember: a baby and my own business. I didn’t imagine that these two things would happen at the exact same time. I got pregnant with my daughter, Tempe, right when we started working on Weezie. I’ve never been one to shy away from hard work or long hours and I was sure having a baby wouldn’t change that much. After all, newborns sleep a lot, right…?
Well, to say I was wrong would be an understatement. Launching a company is hard. Launching a company with a newborn is really hard. It’s not lost on me that I have a lot of support and I imagine, more than most. I have the most supportive husband imaginable, a beyond understanding co-founder, involved in-laws who live in the same city, the most helpful sister-in-law, parents that will pop into town at the drop of hat, a great preschool, a rolodex of babysitters, the list goes on. When they say it takes a village, they aren’t kidding.
When I sat down to write this article, I imagined I would write suggestions on how to balance it all and make it work, how to “thrive” with a baby and a business. But, honestly, I found myself rewriting this article over and over again. Would we call this thriving?
I’m overwhelmed a lot. I still haven’t figured out how to separate time with my baby and my business. I don’t put down my phone when I walk in the door or stop responding to emails while I’m breastfeeding. I fall into the habit of comparing myself to other moms. I worry I’m not giving my baby enough attention. I worry I’m not giving my business enough attention. In short, I’m still figuring it out. This is my first baby and my third business and I don’t think anything can compare you for the combination of the two.
Luckily, I am someone who is naturally positive. Stress does not completely unravel me. I really enjoy working and I love being a mom more than anything.
I love this business and I love this baby and we’re all falling into some kind of rhythm that works(ish) for us.
I will never forget a panel I heard at Create & Cultivate in Atlanta. Callie from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits was talking about the juggle between owning a growing business and having three (!!) kids. She got to a point where she had missed so many soccer games and PTA meetings that she was ready to put a pause on the business and focus on her kids full time. She told her kids about her decision and was shocked when they begged her not to. They said they loved her business and watching her work. To think about this business as a positive influence on my daughter and her future is one of my biggest motivators. Something that has helped me in especially hard moments is remembering this story and focusing on the uniquely positive effects of having a baby and a business.
First of all, Weezie not only has two female founders, but has always had a baby in the mix. Tempe’s presence has absolutely shaped our company and will continue to do so. We’ve talked about our goals for maternity leave from day one, pumping rooms, how we can make it easier for future working parents that join our company, etc. Taking a baby into consideration is in our DNA.
Beyond shaping our company, I think two of the biggest gifts of all are perspective and efficiency. Having Tempe puts everything in perspective. It’s impossible for it not to when the other half of your brain is worried about an actual little human life. During our launch week, I got strep throat, my co-founder got a stomach bug and Tempe got hand foot and mouth. My parents were supposed to come stay with us that week and my mom got laryngitis. I couldn’t help but laugh. Seriously?! We made it work and our launch went better than we ever could have predicted. A mix of adrenaline, babysitters, and husbands got us through it and now our towels are in more hands that we expected.
Not to sound cliche, but being a mom gives you a degree of superpowers. You’ll handle a load your past self never thought possible. Don’t be fooled, it’s hard – I think I’ve made that clear – but you’ll surprise yourself and make it work, especially if you love what you’re doing and remember how proud your children will be of you when they grow up.