Having a small business and a baby at the same time presents multiple challenges, as you don’t have the luxury of taking maternity leave and stepping away from your business for months at a time. It can be overwhelming for any person, as you try to parent, work on your business, and likely, work in your business too.
Or maybe you’ve established a start-up whilst you’re on maternity leave and want to know how you can balance motherhood with growing a business. Either way, this series of articles explores some practical ways for you to manage your baby and business.
Key #1: Work creatively and flexibly
This is easier said than done when you’re sleep-deprived, but revamping how you work is the key to achieving anything. You may have previously been able to work in your business between 9 am and 5 pm, although let’s be real, in having a small business, you probably worked outside these hours too. Unless you have great support or will be utilising child care, working traditional business hours will be unrealistic with a baby. However, you may be able to get some work done within these hours by planning to work with your baby at times. If you need to be in at the office, set it up to be baby-friendly, for example, by having a cot or bassinet available so that you can maintain baby’s routines. Plan ahead for baby’s feeds and nappy changes at the office, too.
You can wear your baby on you in a baby carrier, allowing you to move around and take phone calls, dictate notes, have standing meetings, and use a standing workstation. Of course, so many people work from home these days, so you may very well be able to work from home instead, which is far easier than trying to manage a small person at an office.
It will only be realistic to be able to work with your baby for small portions of the day, however, as they will let you know their needs, and your relationship is important. Evenings and naptimes will likely be your most productive work times now. To get the most out of work evenings, recruiting your significant other or another support person to lead the baby’s bedtime routine will be key (whilst you have more of a supporting or on-call role). This might look like your partner doing bath-time, bringing baby to you for a feed (or even if your partner bottle-feeds baby, depending on how your baby is fed), and then they work on settling baby.
However, please avoid falling into the trap of making every evening and naptime about work, as this is a recipe for stress and burnout. Aim to work no more than three or four nights per week, and set a cap on how many hours you work, even if it is just two hours (if you can even manage that long!). Striking a balance between motherhood, work, self-care, and leisure is essential.