Year 1: Being a New Mom, Running a Business and my 5 tips for the first year of mommyhood.
7 years ago...B.C. ( Before Children) I was working the 9-5, office job with benefits and not much care in the world.
I didn't think much about raising children or managing a career. I wasn't really focused on having kids at that point. My husband and I had talked about having kids but nothing was really set in stone...until I noticed my monthly visit from mother nature was postponed.
As I took the pregnancy test thinking 100% it would be negative...I was quite shocked to see the two little blue lines pop up with no delay... I am pregnant.
The shock of that little pop up had me walking out of the bathroom holding my little pee stick...shaking my head yes at my husband, who sat quite shaking his head yes....also in shock.
We were pregnant.
Fast forward to this very week where my little girl will turn 7! I couldn't help but think back on how ignorant I was to motherhood and the idea of managing a career....gezz...haha
I wasn't prepared. I never really thought about it and I didn't have a plan.
The best advice I can give now looking back to those crazy...tiresome first years is this:
Year 1 ( take as much time OFF as you can). Maybe you are thinking...well how can I grow or start my business if I take time off??? What kinda suggestion is that?
Let me explain my reasoning and my experience.
When my baby was an actual baby ( my daughter will always be my baby in my eyes no matter age 3 or 30) My husband and I didn't really have any idea or plan in place of who was working and who was not. Simply when the baby arrived we couldn't afford a good day care and I also wanted to work from home to be with my kiddo.
(Not that a lot of parents don't want to do this and I understand the reasoning behind needing to put them in daycare. But this is what WE did. Not saying everyone should (or might want) to do things this way. So if you are thinking about day care go for it! There is no rule that says it'r right one way or the other...)
Deciding not to do daycare meant one of us had to be home. Which my husband and I also didn't talk about it... it just ended up being me.
He was starting a well paying job and I didn't really have worked lined up any ways. The job I had before pregnancy was lost due to how incredible challenging my pregnancy was ( different blog).
To describe the first 6 months with my new baby and staying home can be explained in one word that still feels heavy in my heart. LONELY.
I felt so lonely. I would spend the day just with my daughter and I. I would get some adult interaction if a sibling came by or if we hit a park for a bit, but I wasn't ready for how much time slowed down in between those moments.
Most times I felt prisoner to my home. I was on someones else schedule. I couldn't get up and go as I pleased and I couldn't do as I pleased. I wasn't used to this life style and in the past was always working or engaged in something.
My baby was colicky. She wasn't sleeping. She was fussy and wouldn't latch for nursing. I couldn't make enough breast milk to support even the smallest mammal to ever exists so I couldn't meet the feeding needs of my 16 lb 2 month old ( she was massive)
Then I would argue with my husband because my lack of sleep and worry. We argued about money...( formula and diapers are the cost of gold my friends). My husband would come home at 2am ( his shift was 2pm-2am) and I would hand the baby off to him so I could sleep until 8am. Then he would hand her off to me so he could sleep for a couple hours. We would do this cycle for months...
When the baby would finally go to sleep I would cry. I would cry for the guilt of feeling so selfish. I would cry because of my feeling of loneliness. I would see her beautiful baby face in her crib and feel happy ( while crying) to have such an amazing creature in my life and not understand what was wrong with me. I absolutely loved her and wanted to feel better for her and myself.
I want to be as real and open as I can about my experience as a new mother. Some moms I know LOVED this stage. Others can relate. Every women is different.
I decided maybe what I was missing was work. I needed to do something away from the home. Something that could help me feel more present in my life and make up the deficit we were experiencing.
I had this "great idea" to start a cleaning company. I could make my own schedule, work hours that worked well for us and make us extra money...starting your own company couldn't really be that hard right? ........
Deciding to start and grow a business with a 6 month old baby was the worst idea I have ever had.. I had no experience in business ownership or a business plan in place. I took any job that contacted my off my marketing platform craigslist.... this left me dealing with hoarders ( scary), people who couldn't pay and me working overly exhausted to try to make $200 extra a month after business supplies....
DON'T DO THIS TO YOURSELF
My suggestion for year one is take as much time off as you can. DON'T BE LIKE ME and do plan for children. Have a savings in place and talk to your spouse about what the first year plan ( at least for work) is going to look like for your household.
You cant plan for everything, you wont be ever fully ready to have kids, but you CAN be better prepared.
Here are the 5 things I suggest you DO the first year of being a new MOMMY!
( so annoying right) WE all keep saying it! SELF CARE. But its true. Self care can range from exercise to Netflix binges. I don't care how you do it, but do it! Taking time just for you, to do the things you want to do.This might mean taking a walk every day away from the home. Or scheduling time with your friends. NOT play dates. Time away! But the rule is you HAVE TO KEEP THESE APPOINTMENTS. No matter what. Make time. I like to do my self care as meditation and yoga. I use an app called "The Calm" app which offers guided mediation and great stories and music to help you relax.
2.Take as much time off as you can-
If you can pre plan and save your money before you have children do it! The less stress you have about working until your kiddo can hold their own head up the better you are going to feel when its time to get back to work. You will feel more ready to go back to work then sad and upset to miss the "firsts" everything. These days you will NEVER get back. So if that means you don't "work" for awhile then that's the plan.
3. Let your baby be a baby-
Release yourself of the pressure to have your baby #1 in everything. Your baby will do everything at their own pace. Don't compare your baby to everyone else's. If some mom is bragging about how her kid slept through the night at 3 weeks tell her congratulations! But no need to start feeling sorry for you kid. Sleep will come. I promise.
4. Date your spouse-
Having kids changes everything...ESPECIALLY the relationship between you and your spouse. Some days will be better then others but you can still enjoy the things you did B.C. It just might take more planning. Do it! Go on a date ( without the baby) and YES talk about the baby the whole time! Look at pictures of your baby together and the funny or stressful things your new baby does. Then make out in the car! Enjoy your spouse as much as you did before your baby before returning home.
5. Relax about your future-
You don't have to build a business or continue your business the first year as a new parent. If you have to put things on hold for a bit, do it! There is no rush to get more business. The more business you get the less time you have with your new baby. You CAN jump back in refreshed to your business once you are more experienced with new baby and have more of an idea of how much free time you have in a day. If you want to work while your baby is still a baby my advice is RELAX when things are getting stressful. The baby is going to cry right when you have to take a phone call...don't put to much pressure on yourself and understand things need to move a little slower but it wont always be that way.
If you are thinking of starting a new business venture during your first year of mommyhood, I would suggest you spend this time learning about your business and doing the background work to get it started. Build your business plan. Find funding. Create your website... educate yourself on everything you can about running and operating a business. Then when your kiddo can be a little more independent start your company!
Zeyeh Life and Business Design