I’ve had a lot of people on my Instagram ask me ‘how do you do it? How do you run a business and have a baby?’
I took zero maternity leave, as soon as my baby was out, I was working. While he was still in, I was working and I even attended a skype meeting while I was in early labour.
I’m not a Monica from friends, I’m not the most super organised woman in the world. Yes, my life is tough. My living room is a mess, sprawled with baby toys and yes, sometimes my child gets neglected when I am working. But I have managed to raise a happy, healthy boy and not only have I ran my business successfully, I’ve continued to grow my business and expand my profits with a baby in tow.
Here’s how I did it:
Absolve yourself of guilt
I can’t be emotionally attentive to my boy every second of the day, like a mother on maternity leave or a stay at home mum can. However, I don’t have to return to an office and leave him for 3 days a week (which I know is soooo tough for working mums). So while he doesn’t get my undivided attention all day, he does get me every day. I’m there. It’s great that some mums have the option to stay at home with their babies and not work, but while my husband would gladly support me, I want to be financially independent and that’s really important to me – so I’m not going to feel guilty about working. My baby will be a baby for a few years – my business will be here long after he’s at uni and hopefully I’ll have something that can benefit him when he’s older and needs cash rather than cuddles.
Keep babba busy
You know what, it’s not amazing to have your baby watch TV but it keeps him quiet and means I can leave him for a couple of hours in the morning so I can catch up on work and gather my thoughts with some peace and quiet and a coffee. He has a bunch of toys like his baby bouncer which he loves to play with – and the older baby gets – the more he actually wants to spend time alone in uninterrupted play. Some of my fondest memories of a child involved playing with my toys alone and using my imagination – children don’t need any ideas or help from us to play, they’re experts at it.
Get good tech
It’s incredibly important for me to be able to work anywhere. So I have technology that helps me do that. A good notebook laptop, a good smartphone and a tablet. If something needs doing immediately, I usually have the technology on me that means I can work NOW. The time I actually get to spend in my office is minimal, so my office has to be mobile.
Make sleep a priority
If I’m sleeping poorly, my work suffers. So I make sleep my absolute number one priority. That means early bedtimes and long lie-ins on weekends. I typically sleep in till 1pm on weekends while my husband watches the baby.
Make use of Dad
Men have rights to access to childcare just like women do. If baby is poorly, your babies Dad can and should take turns with you to take the day off to look after baby. Be assertive that just because you work from home does not mean you are unemployed. You have a job like everyone else, and you should not automatically have to take time off your work just because your working environment is your house. Because you are self-employed, you don’t get things like sick pay, your work directly suffers if you have to take time off, this should be acknowledged. My husband currently works flexi-time at his office and has one day off a week. This is a crucial time for me to catch up on work and arrange meetings.
Work evenings and weekends
If you have someone who can take care of baby on evenings and weekends, make use of them and catch up on work during this time.
Work smarter not harder.
The time inefficiency in offices is almost astounding. Working from home means that you don’t have to have endless pointless meetings, follow time-consuming policies and procrastinate. When your time is directly linked to how much money you pull in that month – you tend to spend it much more wisely, rather than just filling up your time until you can go home at 5.30. Work on creating multiple income streams and passive income and your income will be less dependent on your time. I always knew I could earn much more money working for myself but the extra time I freed up by going self-employed was quite a shock. I only actually work part-time hours and so I actually have plenty of free time to do things I enjoy.
Accept help when it’s offered
If someone offers to cook you a meal, take baby out for the day or help you clean up TAKE IT.
I occasionally use childcare when I need it. Yes, I work from home but again, I still work and so childcare options are as real and important to me as they are to a mum who is working in an office.
If you can get someone to do a job to the same or higher standard than you can, and still make a profit off their work – it’s a ‘no-brainer’.