I’m the CEO and founder of social media and technology company Social Playground, as well as a mum of two gorgeous boys; three-year-old Sawyer and one-year-old Brooks.
At home, I juggle bringing up my two gorgeous boys with running my company
Like so many entrepreneurial Mums, I found this juggle especially difficult when my boys were newborns, but I learned a lot I’d love to share with other women considering having a baby while running a company.
When I was pregnant with Sawyer, it was a turbulent time with my then business partner as he exited from the business. This was a really challenging time for me to navigate the lead up to becoming a mother for the first time as well as keep up with the demands of the business.
The first few weeks after Sawyer was born were filled with meetings and phone calls with accountants and solicitors as we finalised the sale. Fortunately, Sawyer was an amazing sleeper so I got through it. I was also lucky my husband worked part-time after having Sawyer, allowing me to spend two-three days a week in the office.
It’s important to have people who you trust and who are invested in seeing the business succeed.
Putting a team in place was key to decreasing stress when nursing my second newborn, however, it still came with its challenges. With Brooks earlier this year, I had a dream pregnancy and worked right up until going into labour again. This time around, I was able to plan ahead and put the right people in place to keep the business running while I took about three-four months “off”, working from home.
I tried to create decision-making frameworks to help them make the right decisions on their own. I also put in place a leadership team who were responsible for managing their direct reports and hitting some KPIs while I was away.
I went about a week without looking at emails after Brooks was born, really letting myself enjoy the newborn bubble and not knowing what time it was. When it’s your own business though, you never truly switch off. When the baby sleeps, you catch up on emails.
I think I sacrificed sleep (or daytime naps at least!) but I know pretty well how much I can handle and when to just call it a night even if the to-do list is still very long. I learned you have to listen to your body post-birth and be in tune with how much it can take.
Over the past few months, I have learnt to have patience. I have accepted I might not be able to achieve the growth I want to achieve in the timeframes I forecast. But that’s ok! Once I accepted that achieving any growth while raising two small children is great, I started feeling a lot better about what I was achieving each week.
There will always be compromises as a business owner and Mum I’m so proud of the business I’ve created, but I definitely feel the conflicting pull of business and family.
At times I daydream about how it must feel to get real maternity leave, but in the long run, I know that I will never have to ask a boss for time off for my kids. If you’re considering having a baby as a female business owner, you can do it!
There are so many encouraging communities and networking groups around now too so you don’t feel alone. It is definitely a challenge balancing a newborn with a business, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Annabelle Davidson, Founder and CEO, Social Playground