Rhya Tamasauskas is co-founder of The Monster Factory, an amazing company that makes plushy monsters and sells them all over North America. Her lucky little girl is Naomi, a.k.a. Nomi.

Rhya’s Three Tips for Surviving the First Three Months, from one Business Mama to another!

The other morning my family and I were out for brunch at the Emerson, a excellent restaurant here in Toronto. While we were finishing up, another family sat down next to us. One of the parents asked us how old our cheeky baby was, and I let them know that she was three and half months. Their reply was “So you’re just coming out of the woods!” and boy were they right!

I am fresh out of the first 100 days of newborn life, and moving into the baby phase of parenting. So, though I still have a lot to learn about the balancing act of parenting and running a business, I do have a few tips to share that really helped me cope during the first three months of becoming a mom.

1. Let Go! (The biggest lesson by far)

A fellow business friend and very wise woman once told me to let go of everything and give myself at least three months to just be with my baby. I thought “Nahh…I’ve got this! There will be plenty of time between naps and feedings for me to do this or update that.” And while yes, technically there was time between these things, I was such a crazy, sleep-deprived, hormonal monster, I could barely handle staying hydrated, let alone update our website with new banner ads.

For the first couple weeks of Nomi’s life, I tried to balance both. But I found whenever I needed to get something done that was not related to the baby, and I was interrupted by her little cries, it made me feel resentful towards her, which in turn made me feel like a terrible mother. Cue the guilt! Cue the feelings of failure.

I had to let go. I had to relinquish control and bow down to the new boss on the block…baby!

Once I did this it was a like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders! The stress started to fade, and I think Nomi noticed! Life in our little home got a lot happier.

Good news…three months in and things are much different. The baby/business balance is starting to get easier. I’ve made it into the studio, had meetings with a baby bouncing on my knee and have figured out how to mash in a mini-work schedule into my week! It feels awesome and I love the challenge of the balancing act!

I’m sure it’s going to evolve as Nomi gets bigger. Some stages will be better than others, but I feel ready to grow with it.

So, if you can, give yourself at minimum three months to just let go of it all and really focus on your baby. Of course this doesn’t always work out for everyone and sometimes our businesses, just like our babies, demand our time! Even after “letting go” I still occasionally found myself updating banner ads at three in the morning by lamp light. So even ensuring to lighten the load of business responsibilities you deal with in the first three months will help your sanity immensely!

Just remember to let go and live it!

2. The Community Connection

It’s important to have a strong and supportive community when your are running your own business, and the same can be said for becoming a new parent.

Every time I think back on my first three months with Nomi, I can’t help but see a montage of friends and family play through my head to the Bill Withers’ song “Lean On Me.” I had to lean and I’m still leaning hard on my community. My husband, best friends and family were essential in helping me stay afloat through the first few months.

I am also very lucky to be running a business with two of of the most awesome business partners a person could ask for. My partners and I had discussed me coming back to work when I felt ready, which I thought would be a couple of weeks after Nomi was born. But when it was clear I couldn’t handle it, they took over and gave me tons of support…and brought Kyle and I many dinners! Adam and Bliss and everyone at the Monster Factory are truly the best!

Before and after the baby, I made sure to reach out to my community of friends who run their own businesses and get their tips on how they balanced both. It’s through my network of amazing business women that I’ve learned about what daycares rock, that having a mother’s helper or a nanny in a few times a week can be a god send, and that babies napping on the office couch happens way more than you think!

Just make sure to stay connected!

3. Dare to Day Dream!

Okay, I know this sounds a little corny, but let me explain! When Nomi first burst onto the scene, I can honestly say I was not prepared for the 24 hour care and sleep deprivation that came along with a newborn. I quickly found myself drowning in feelings of frustration and anxiety.

In those early cold and dark winter nights, I would spend what could be hours just rocking back and forth with Nomi in her nursery trying to lull her to sleep. All I could see was the time ticking away on our tiny Ikea alarm clock on the side table and all I could think of were the things that I was not getting done, such as making dinner, cleaning the bathroom or working on our latest newsletter! These thoughts made my heart race in a very unromantic way.

But then, another incredible friend of mine suggested that, during these tough times, I try day dreaming, or meditating or whatever I wanted, but to just let my mind wander in a positive direction.

And you know what, it absolutely saved me! I found so much happiness and fulfillment while rocking with Nomi at night, turning off the crazy “to do” and “things I can’t get to” lists that were running through my head and replacing them with lovely daydreams. Thinking about future monster designs…DIY projects…things that make me happy. It made a huge difference. Now those snowy dark nights, listening to sweet lullabies with Nomi on my shoulder, thinking about the future, are some of my favorite memories of those early days!

So often when we are running our own businesses, we get swamped and bogged down with many day-to-day tasks, that we have to do to keep things moving! It’s so rare that we actually get time to just sit back and let our minds wander onto the possibilities, the big picture, and the things that we never have time to think about.

Sit back, stay positive and savor the time to daydream!

P.S. A final tip…This was the Songza Soundtrack that also helped me get through those nights…Nomi loved it too: On a Cold Clear Night