My little one has hit the 6 week mark, and I’ve been reflecting on how life has changed in these 6 short weeks. To say life is hectic is an understatement. It was crazy before, and well, now it’s next level. With 2 businesses, a toddler and a newborn, things never seem to stop. My plan was always to take off 3 months, but truth is, when you love what you do, can’t help but doing bits and pieces of work as they come up. While I haven’t been seeing regular clients, I’ve still been doing some coaching work, as well as working on a new side project (watch this space!) and have slowly been figuring out the ‘new normal’ and how to balance it all.
I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but here’s some tips I’ve learned so far to make the whole juggling act a lot easier.
You have to look after yourself before you can give to anyone else
I can be a bit of a martyr at times- Nope, I don’t need any help. I am woman- hear me roar! But something I’ve learned as a business coach is that everyone who takes on too much will eventually come crashing down. As a mum and a business owner, you need to give yourself a break. And the more time that you dedicate to YOU, the more energy you’ll have for your partner, children and business.
So what does looking after yourself look like? Here’s some examples of how I’ve been looking after me:
- Taking naps at lunch time or in the evening when the baby is asleep
- When people offer to help, I say ‘yes please’
- I ask hubby take on his fair share
- I have booked time for pedicures and massages
- I enjoy mum and bubs yoga once a week
Your self care preferences might vary, so jot down 5 ways that you can look after yourself and schedule them in (without feeling an ounce of guilt).
Treasure the little moments
Whether you choose to work straight after your child is born, or months or years later, make sure you take the time to enjoy your children… Dedicate quality time to be truly present with your kids- put away your phone, sit on the couch, and enjoy the cuddles- after all, they are only young once!
You are stronger than you think you are- hang in there!
I don’t want to be a complainer, but just to set the scene, want to take you through my day. My first wake up was at 11pm, then again at 1:30am- with nappy change, feed and a burp, it was 2:45am before I went back to sleep. At 5am the cycle repeated and that’s when my day started. The toddler had an ‘accident’ which required a shower and sheet changes, then time for brekky and a nappy change and another feed for the bubba. And that was all before 5:30am. The rest of my day entailed endless washing, dishes, feeding, a doctors visit for 6 week vaccinations, then a specialist appointment for my toddler… and juggling some client emails amongst it.
I know there are plenty of people out there far worse off than me, nonetheless being a mum is unrelenting. But the crazy thing I keep discovering, is when I think I have nothing more in the tank- that I can’t possibly do another feed in the middle of the night, I seem to find this inner strength that I didn’t know existed.
When you look back on your life, I’ll bet there is an example of a period of time that ‘in writing’ you wouldn’t have believed that you could get through, but somehow on the other side, you can look back and think “wow, I did that”. When things feel too much, take a deep breath, seek some support, but know you will make it through!
Hire some help
In some cultures, after the birth of a child, the mother’s (or sometimes father’s) relatives come and stay with the family for several months and help out with the housework, the baby and supporting the mother any way they can. Not so much in modern Australia. Not to blame anyone of course- my parents are both still working and it’s just not really a done thing here. But remembering the rollercoaster of exhaustion and hormones post my first baby, hubby and I decided to hire someone to help out around the house for this fragile first few months. She comes 6 hours a week, and helps with cleaning, washing and other household chores. Without my income, it certainly is a luxury item, but we have decided in the big scheme of life, keeping my sanity and the peace in the house is well worth the investment.
This same logic applies to business. Plenty of business women I know try and do it all on their own… but there IS support out there. Whether you outsource your bookeeping, some admin tasks or major functions in your business, the more that you allow yourself to focus on your zone of genius, the more likely you are to achieve success.
So, to all you business women out there- with children or otherwise, you are amazing, you are strong. But you don’t have to do it alone. Look after yourself and get the support you need to make your business amazing. Dream it, wish it, build it.