From the minute you pee on that first pregnancy test to the moment your baby arrives, you know your life is going to change, but often, we can’t even begin to imagine just how much.
For many parents, continuing to work after the baby arrives is part of the plan. But if you’re a woman who has been climbing the corporate ladder up until that first missed period, it may mean some changes are in order – both for you and your partner. Not only are your waking hours now dictated around the schedule of an infant who demands your full attention, but you may need to work your commute and meetings around daycare drop offs and pickups, finding time and privacy to pump, and being able to leave work urgently in the middle of the day when your little one is sick.
While it may seem at first glance that being a new parent would be a terrible time to start your own business, in fact, for many mompreneurs it has turned out to be the life change they needed to find that balance between motherhood and pursuing their own personal dreams and passions. It’s never going to be easy to start your own business, but if you can handle multiple nighttime feedings, diaper blowouts and a terrible-twos toddler, you can definitely handle being an entrepreneur. Here’s a few of the top reasons that have inspired moms to start their own businesses while raising a family.
The number one reason mompreneurs cite for deciding to leave the 9 to 5 world behind was flexibility. Many employers today are working hard at being more flexible, but for the most part you are still expected to sit at a desk somewhat between the hours of 9 to 5 and work. Running your own business means that you can (somewhat) be in total control of your hours.
You may be able to work around the baby’s nap schedule and/or hire a bit of help to extend your hours during the day if needed. Child is sick? Staying home isn’t an issue. Scheduling another doctor appointment? You’ve got more daytimes options available. Being able to be in control of your own time so that you can be there for your kids when they need it is a huge motivator to hit start on your own business.
It’s easy to let time slip away at the office between impromptu meetings, deskside chats and water cooler gossip. But when your first child arrives, you’re running on a ticking clock every day from working between daycare schedules, paying hourly for a nanny or trying to cram in as much as you can when your child sleeps.
“Babies are little efficiency makers,” says mompreneur Marie Hunter of her experience. “I spent so much time before I was mom thinking that I was “working” when I really wasn’t. When Jayden showed up I really had to double down and focus and do the uncomfortable things that would make the most impact on the business. It’s easy to pretend that you’re working sometimes, but when you’ve only got a few hours in the day to work on your passion, side hustle, or full-time gig, you have to stop the social media scrolling and get down to work.”
When you work in the 9 to 5 world you are often judged on the hours you put in, not just your outputs. When you work for yourself, you decide how long that project needs to take. You can decide to put your head down and work during lunch so that you can pick up your kids from school at the end of every day.
Finding Meaning in Your Work
If you’re choosing to work and be away from your kids, it’s hard to be stuck at a desk just counting down until 5 pm when you can leave.
“When I went back to work after my first maternity leave with my son, everything was different. I couldn’t work late anymore and I hated constantly being in meetings. It made me wonder, “What’s the point?” shares mompreneur Jacqueline Fisch.
For many moms, having your first baby makes you question what’s important in your life. You may have been toughing it out in a job for a little while waiting for that next promotion, but now it may not be worth it to wait anymore.
Carol who started making hand designed jewelry after her children arrives shares, “I am so excited to wake up and tackle whatever we have to do! Before, I would dread Mondays and going to work, now I don’t have the dread anymore.”
If you’ve been waiting to dive into your passion, there is no time like the present. Many women want to find meaning outside of motherhood and pursuing that side hustle you’ve been thinking of for years may be the shift you need to make it happen.
Setting an Example for your Children
There’s no better way to instil a good work ethic in your children then by demonstrating it first hand for them. When kids see their parents working hard to pursue their dreams, it encourages them to do the same. Being a woman entrepreneur works to break down gender stereotypes and lets sons and daughters know that both girls and boys can choose to have meaningful career paths as well as raise a family.
“My daughter has given me so much inspiration” says mompreneur Patrice Mousseau, the founder of Satya Skin Care. “She sees her mom out there doing it and wants to be an entrepreneur now herself.”
“Valeria loves talking about our business. She has her own business cards, “Puppy interpreter,” and is always giving them out to people at her school” shares Angela Samson of the Dog Taxi Hotel. “When we get new clients, we ask them how they heard about our business, and many times they say that one of their children heard about it from our daughter at school.”
If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting your own business and have recently (or not so recently) welcomed a child into your life, let it be the kick you need to take the first steps. Just like you’re never 100% ready to a parent, you’ll never be 100% ready to start your own business either. What small step could you take this week to start on your idea? Could you work on your website, reach out to an expert, or talk to someone who has made a similar transition? Let’s make 2019 the year you decided to work for you.
Looking for more inspiring mompreneur stories? Follow along at The Mompreneur on Medium.