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.
I have a 17 month old son, Harrison, born March 2014 and we are welcoming our second child in October 2015. Two under two!
I have an amazing husband who is incredibly supportive and who also works full time. I am very fortunate to have child care during the work week, which allows me to pop home and give my little guy a cuddle whenever I have a free moment.
What is Plum Home + Design?
Plum is an interior design firm, retail store and online store. I am lucky to work with an amazing business partner who founded the retail business with me. When it comes to our business we are a great match! We always joke that I am the telescope looking ahead and dreaming big and she is the microscope evaluating how we get there.
Our retail business just celebrated 3 years and our design business is going on 6 years.
How did you reconcile having a newborn and having a business in the first 12 months?
I won’t lie, it was hard for the first few months. I was learning what being a mom meant and what kind of mom I was going to be. Regardless of whether you are working or not, that is a big learning curve. I took two weeks off work with Harrison before I started working again.
That first year is full of ups and downs, mainly ups. Watching your baby grow and learn is pretty amazing. I was home with him full time for the first 7 months which meant replying furiously to emails while he napped and working evenings and weekends to keep up. It was stressful and as a type A over achiever I really struggled to come to terms with the fact that I just couldn’t do everything anymore. That said, I would prefer that than not working.
After 7 months, I had help two days a week. After 14 months I had full time help.
With baby #2 arriving very soon. I have plans to take 4-6 weeks off from the design business and 3 weeks off from the retail business.
What did you think it would look like pre-baby and what arrangements did you set up? What was the reality like? What worked, what didn’t?
I had no idea what to expect, I had no idea how I was going to reconcile the business I love and the child that I love. I had no plan on how I was going to prioritize my responsibilities. My plan was to figure it out as I went and that is just what I did. You need to be prepared to roll with the punches.
The one bit of advice you will keep hearing is “nap when the baby naps”, well I did that twice. It was just not a reality for me. Those brief hours are when I worked and I was happy to forgo my naps to work so that I could be with my son when he was up.
From the get go Harrison came everywhere with me. He has been to every furniture store and fabric showroom in Edmonton. It meant we missed a few play dates, but he was happy to be with me and I loved being with him. I had to learn to define what my definition of “normal” was and be okay that it didn’t fit everyone’s definition of mom.
Any advice/inspiration/warnings for entrepreneur moms-to-be?
I love my life, my job and my family. It is a demanding, hectic and often chaotic life but it is incredibly fulfilling. Every single day even after a 12 hour work day when I go to bed completely exhausted I feel lucky to be living my dream.
All that being said it is hard, I miss bed time sometimes, I feel guilty and pulled in a million directions. There are sacrifices. Be prepared, you cannot have it all.
Being a business owner and a mother is not all that common and your definition of motherhood may very well be different from other moms, and that is A-Ok. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that sometimes that was lonely, BUT don’t you dare compare yourself to other moms. You get to be exactly the mother you want to be.
Every day I repeat to myself “I am doing my best and my son knows how much I love him”. I may miss little moments, but I make every moment I am with him count. He knows he is loved and is thriving.
My mother was a working mom and she told me: “I was a better mom because I worked”. That is the case for me too, I am happier and my true self because I am living my dream and loving my career. I never once resented my mother for working – in fact I admired and respected her for it. I hope my children think the same of me.
More from this series…