This is just one story in a magazine series on moms who run businesses (Poppy Barley’s co-founder, Justine, is expecting her first baby in January 2016 and wants to speak to the experts!). See more posts in this series here, and find out Justine’s takeaways here.
Jen Lee Koss
Aksel (Sept 2009)
Annabelle (June 2010)
Andreas (Feb 2015)
I have a husband (who actually founded an organization called Right to Play)
What is BRIKA?
BRIKA is an innovative retail concept that highlights the best of modern craft from the most talented artisans and designers. We facilitate relationships between our high-quality artisan community and larger brands and retailers who believe in authentic storytelling, unique products and/or local design talent. Our mission is to allow our artisans to get bigger, better and more successful by bridging this gap.
How did you reconcile having a newborn and having a business in the first 12 months?
This answer is so different depending on which baby we are talking about! With Aksel, my first, I eased into things slowly. I was still working a corporate job in finance and taking a year of maternity leave (yay, Canada!). I didn’t think much about work as I was just getting used to having this newbie in my life. With Annabelle, I started working right away because I had her literally two months after we came up with the idea for BRIKA. Although I was home, I was definitely working hard, but I have great help at home, and I put my oldest in full-day “school” nearby starting when he was 2 that I felt like I was managing to make it work. With Andreas, I literally bounced back within two days, and I didn’t skip much of a beat. With both of my others in full day school and the baby at home with our nanny, we have been incredibly blessed.
What did you think it would look like pre-baby and what arrangements did you set up?
I honestly had no idea. I was completely clueless and unprepared! Aksel came super early, and we didn’t have one baby thing in our house (my husband bought a car seat and installed it while I was still in the hospital). This may have set the tone for preparations for my other kids. I definitely had spreadsheets of what to buy and had done my research, but the best possible thing I did was to join a “new mommies” class at a center nearby. I met some amazing ladies that are some of my closest friends today.
What was the reality like? What worked, what didn’t?
Let’s be honest, being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever done. The reality is that there are so many hormones and emotions going on after you have the baby that it’s hard to see clearly or to think straight sometimes. Add the lack of sleep and the fact that breastfeeding can be difficult for some (no one talks about this enough!), and you’re in for a cocktail of household drama. I think what worked (and, of course, I only figured this out after I had my 2nd and 3rd) was to sleep when the baby was sleeping. I just never did that with my first because I just felt so high-stress all the time about being with him and not knowing if anything I was doing was “right.” I cannot emphasize enough how much sleep and exercise play into the equation of happiness and sanity.
Any advice/inspiration/warnings for entrepreneur moms-to-be?
You will be so surprised at how much you can accomplish in one day, and you will ask yourself, “What was I doing before I had kids?”
More from this series…