Leaving my business for almost 5 months, and operating it from another country was honestly so daunting and frightening, but somehow I was able to make it work. I’d go virtual ‘shopping’ selecting leathers at the tanneries with my assistants via FaceTime, keep in touch with my team via Skype, and set weekly goals as usual. Right from the beginning I knew I had to be upfront with clients and inform them I was out of town. But I was surprised by how much I still enjoyed working; especially in the last days of the pregnancy, I was grateful to channel my angst into work, even on the day I had him, the only messages I responded to from my hospital bed were work related.
Here are 9 things I learned on the way to becoming a working mum
- Clients are very understanding if you are upfront with them; my pregnancy brain was in a league of its own, but thankfully clients saw the humour in it and were supportive
- However being yourself is always the best option. If you know deep in your heart that operating your business whilst pregnant will push you over the edge, don’t be afraid to give the business a break. The time away will most likely refresh you, give you new ideas and allow you to take your business to the next level inadvertently.
- Video calling is a life saver, and vanity is still important when you’re as big as a whale. Before every video call, I would take a bit of time to wear some make-up however little to make myself feel good, and to inspire my team!
- So is CCTV
- You need people you can trust, so learn to foster a good team spirit
And upon becoming a working mum
- Be very gentle with yourself, especially if you’re a workaholic like all entrepreneurs. Take the time out to take care of yourself, watch a nice movie, eat your favourite meal, do things that make yourself happy, regularly. A happy mum is the best mum. Talk about your feelings, don’t believe social media constructs of alleged ‘post natal reality’, remember that this new you is a phase and all your insecurities will pass especially if you address them. BE YOURSELF.
- Don’t make too many changes – I opened a store at 32 weeks, left the country at 33 weeks, came back to the country when he was 3 months old, left the store, fired some staff, found, rented and renovated a brand new store, all the time breast-feeding him exclusively for 6 months. It’s no surprise that I had a breakdown at 8 months post baby.
- Don’t forget your partner in all of it! Try not to play victim and instead take control of your emotions. Although I couldn’t physically be away from my baby for the first 6 months (and now in hindsight, I would extend that to 9 months for 1st baby at least), it helped that I took the time out mentally to DECIDE and nominate myself as the parent that stays home in the first year whilst my partner traveled for work. That little shift of perception allowed me feel empowered and added to my happiness.
- Be Yourself