Funny story… apparently having kids is pretty all-consuming. Who would have known? Certainly not naïve, childless me. But isn’t hindsight lovely? I thought I might share a little of my experiences here, in case anyone was curious, and going through (or about to go through) a similar situation.
I have two kids now, and at the time of writing they are 5 months and 2 years.
When I got pregnant with my first, I assumed that things would continue on as normal, giving birth might cause a teeny tiny blip in the business activity and then everything would pick up again. I could not have been more wrong! In fact, there were quite a few “blips” from as early as first trimester.
Although I wasn’t super sick, I was knocked over (or out) by total exhaustion. I could get up, eat breakfast, then go back to bed and sleep for another 6 hours. It was ridiculous. Suddenly, I had almost no energy or motivation for anything. Fortunately, by around 12 weeks, this went away, but what never went away was mum brain.
When you get pregnant, your brain goes through a whole lot of changes… perhaps even more than your body does. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to prepare for my baby, learning as much as I could, reading huge amounts of information, making lists, and starting to acquire stuff. It’s like something took over my brain and capacity to think about anything else. All of this came at a cost. I definitely let things slip in my business.
By the time 40 weeks came around, I’d managed to do very little to prepare, other than slowing down client intake for awhile. I didn’t even find the time to schedule my social media posts ahead of time because I was too tired or too busy finishing up client work. Oops.
Newborn (& Iron Deficiency)
And then my first child was born. And he wasn’t exactly the easiest baby. He barely slept at all, and neither did we. Actually, not a lot has changed on that front… he still struggles with sleep as a toddler. Even when I did manage a decent chunk of sleep, I was still wiped out the next day because of an iron deficiency (which unfortunately I didn’t figure out until much later).
As a result, we decided to close up shop. The business wasn’t compatible with our life situation, and there was no way we’d be able to keep up the standards we’d set for ourselves and clients.
As time went on, I started freelancing on a very small scale for just a few clients. It was nice. Not too full on, but just enough to keep me engaged in the business world without taking me way from my *super needy* baby. I will always be thankful to the wonderful clients who were understanding of my situation and allowed me to keep working with them throughout this time.
And then by the time my baby turned one, I was pregnant with our second child! :-O
Prepping the Second Time Round
This time, I was determined to do things differently. I thought long and hard about how I could position myself to freelance and make the most of every moment with my children in the future. I planned things out, educated myself in areas of weakness, and started preparing my offer. By the time I got to full term, I had written nearly 30 blog article drafts ready to launch on my new site.
Although I didn’t get the site launched until a few months later, the timing worked well, and I felt confident that no matter what life threw at me, I had a bunch of content running in the background to share with potential clients.
Settling into a New Normal
Now that I’m out the other end, with a 5 month old who (thankfully) sleeps well and is pretty content and a toddler who is gradually learning to play by himself, I’m really enjoying business for myself again. I’m glad that I didn’t rush into things this time around and took my time to get to know my baby before relaunching my website and offer.
With each baby, you have a period of settling into a new normal, and in my experience, this seems to be greatly dependent on the kind of personality they are born with.
The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is because at the time, I couldn’t find many stories of motherhood combined with the early stages of a business, and how to prepare, or what to expect. I’m hoping this will help someone who might be wondering what kind of impact a baby could have. Although full disclaimer – every mother, baby, and pregnancy are so different – so you won’t know for sure until it’s happening to you!
What I’m realising though, is that it really is such a brief moment in your life where everything feels like its changing. Suddenly, you’re out the other side, things stabilise again, and you’re ready to take on the world again. Things will never be the same again – but they’ll be better. Being a parent gives you a whole new perspective and motivation to be the best you can be. Those months/years you take off to dedicate to looking after your small people will feel like eternity at the time, but in hindsight, you’ll be back into work before you know it.
Oh, and being a parent gives you a whole new drive and determination to succeed, as well as a different perspective on life – all very valuable assets in business. So, who knows? It might all work to your advantage!