When I started the business with Steph I was at a point in my life where I had turned a corner with the kids. There was structure, routine, dare I say it sanity in the Stephens house having left the baby blues behind with a vengeance.
So imagine my surprise when that little blue line showed up for a third time, without warning and said – “GOTCHA”.
Fast forward to my life as it is now. Things have changed.
“It’s life Jim but not as we know it.”
I’ve learnt a few things the hard way but here are my tips for building a business whilst being a new mummy. They may not work for everyone but they’ve made the transition to my new “working mum/home mum” bubble much smoother. My bubble even has some bounce now.
You can’t run before you walk. Giving birth and then trying to get back into running your business or working full time (even from home) a few weeks later just isn’t realistic for most people. In the end you will suffer, your family will suffer and your work output has the potential to be fairly rubbish too.
Give yourself enough time to ease back into a full time schedule by starting to work on a part time basis, allowing you to understand your limits and your baby’s routines. Once you understand these you can start being more confident about building up the hours without any guilt or stress.
Be realistic about you weight. Let’s face it if like me you eat a packet a biscuits a day then you are not going to fit into the same clothes as before (biscuits are my particular weakness)! I have resigned myself to the fact that I am unable to diet yet and I have to wait for my body to recover until I can exercise to the level I did before. That’s just the way it is and I am not alone. I am cleverly disguising the extra pounds with the right clothes. Oh and support underwear is my new friend.
If you thought your morning routine was busy before, just wait until you have to get yourself and a baby ready to meet a morning timeframe. Do as much as you can the night before and lay out everything you need in advance.
Use times like night feedings (where you are trying not to interact too heavily with the baby) to thrash through some social media chores. Twitter and Facebook are good nighttime companions of mine. I wrote the outline for this blog while waiting for the older kids to finish their haircuts. Tick.
Be mobile. Have a laptop, ipad, iphone (whatever your poison is) to hand and ready to power up if the situation arises. However it is also crucial to be able to switch off when you really need to be there for your baby, otherwise bad habits form.
Whether it’s your husband, parent, neighbor, friend or employed person, you need to have help with the baby if you want to be able to get things done. Having hired help to take over the day-today stuff like cooking, cleaning or ironing leaves you to focus on higher level work. I am fortunate enough to live in Hong Kong where this is very easy . I delegate household chores and morning baby feeding to my fantastic helper, which allows me a long chunk of work time in the mornings.
The network of friends you have are essential in helping you to get back to your working feet. When you are at your lowest they can steer you back to the real world and bring perspective to your tired life. An old Boss of mine once said about working from home that you had to have lunch out and about at least once a week. He was a very wise man! I am trying to keep in touch with friends whilst using every opportunity to combine business networking with a nice lunch.
So in summary adapting to life with a baby and a new business requires planning, support and a touch of realistic expectations. If you can get some of these in the mix you have a chance or retaining some sanity. It’s 9.30pm and I still have time for a bath before bed. Or I could just check my twitter account………
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