I’ve gone through most of my pregnancy with a pretty cheerful attitude. Sure, the twin thing was a surprise. But they are growing well, and I feel okay most of the time. Then about a month ago something changed. I started creating spreadsheet upon spreadsheet. Outlining our design packages, updating our cash flow spreadsheet, and talking worries to Dusty 24/7.
I think this is nesting? Or at least how small business owners nest?
So in the darkest of hour, I did what any seasoned entrepreneur would do. I emailed my friends, “How the heck am I going to do this!?”
They came back with some AMAZING advice.
prepare for a deep shift in perspective.
“Becoming a mom eclipsed anything else I had been in my life, and I was totally unprepared for that and surprised in the best way. Before having my son, the business was my baby. Everyone says this but a child puts things in perspective. I think I’m able to enjoy my job more because the little things don’t worry me so much. He lights up my whole life.”
Maddie Morden, Personify Shop
Plan and work for that maternity leave.
“My best advice to a new working mom: take time off. You'll be sleep deprived, a little hormonal, and smitten with your new babies right after they get here. As a business owner, I hired an admin assistant to handle day-to-day communication while I took three months off with Sophie. It took a lot of work to get to that point while I was pregnant, but hands down, that was the best decision I made pre-baby!
Decide now if you want to keep working and make a tentative plan for when you'd like to return to work. Recruit help (we use family and daycare!), and use your work hours efficiently. You'll be surprised how quickly you can work when you're apart from your babies!
My best online resource is the Moms On Call Scheduler app. They provide scheduling help, feeding guidelines, bath time tips, sleep schedules and more! My favorite new mom book has been The Wonder Weeks.
Last but not least, give yourself so. much. grace. I can't say this enough to myself and my fellow mamas out there.”
Laura Balfour, Fleecher Design Studio
Outline priorities ahead of time.
“Before Atlas was born, I wish I had given myself a strict maternity leave. At 2 weeks postpartum I worked on a couple different orders, and while I enjoyed a small amount of normalcy, at two weeks I should have been soaking up that newborn yumminess instead. My advice, therefore, would be to check in with your priorities ahead of time and commit to them! They are only so little for a small amount of time, and your emails can wait.”
Becca Doane, Little Moon Rising
Leave room to feel differently about work.
“Leave room to feel differently about work. I thought I'd just jump right into both my day job and my side hustle after baby, but I felt changed in unexpected ways. Ask for help! I'm notorious for just working through the hard times while also not asking for a little time away. Don't be afraid to ask for help often from everyone - you shouldn't have to do it alone. Lastly, take advantage of all of the time you have now. I never realized just how much time I had before, so I felt overwhelmed at how little time I didn't have post-baby. You WILL find strategic windows of time to create and work; it just won't be the same. Enjoy the quality time...soon enough they will be grown.”
Barbara Billings, The Stranded Sheep
Embrace the next chapter, and behold, the Instant “NOPE.”
“Take it slow. I jumped so fast to get back into the game and it wrecked me (not really but you know what I mean). I actually ended up taking time off again 6 months post baby to process all the mental changes. So give yourself grace and if you need time, never hesitate in taking it. Babes are only little once.
Motherhood truly changes you in ways you don't expect. So it goes without saying that your work, how you structure your day, and even what your work looks/feels like will change too. It took me a while to come to terms with this, but I actually love my work so much more now. In terms of style, I feel like my work is more natural and authentic and I've actually switched to shooting mainly motherhood, family, and children. I've stopped worrying about what other people want my photos to look like and just do what I want now. Its unbelievably freeing. Plus, those jobs you currently feel like you need to take? Yeah, they become an instant "NOPE" because those are precious hours you can spend with family instead.
And for me, baby wearing was my go to. Our little love refused to be put down so the Solly Baby wrap was the best investment we could ever make! And the Doc-A-Tot, because as a mother you get paid in sleep. So if they stick to their routine and can actually sleep during the night... you get more done the next day.
Alyson Jarvis, Alyson Jarvis Photography
I am so thankful that I’m not alone in this. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by strong mothers who run are raising beautiful families and building businesses. What about you? Any advice for a first time mama?