“How will you manage your business AND a baby?!” “What’s going to happen to Shedoesthecity?” “Do you think you’ll be able to do it all?” These are questions I’ve been asked countless times since I first shared the news of my pregnancy with family, friends and colleagues. Here’s my short answer: I don’t know.
Do I want to balance both? Yes. Do I have a game plan? Of course. Will I still be doing this in 2, 5, 10 years time? C’mon! Can anyone answer that?
In the late summer of 2007, I launched Shedoesthecity and not a day has gone by where I haven’t worked on it in some capacity. Even if I wasn’t sitting at my desk, I’d be scribbling lists, blasting stuff on social media, scanning our analytics, brainstorming ideas, connecting with someone…you get the picture. Beloved pets aside, it was, and is, in a way my first baby. I’ve invested time, money, endless energy and care into growing it. And I love it!
But will I be able to continue to dedicate the same amount of time towards the site once I become a parent? Doubtful. At least not at first. Maybe never! Thankfully, I have a team that includes some of the brightest, talented and most hilarious women I know. But it’s not always that easy. Running a small online business is TOUGH. No matter how amazing your team is, your competition is global. Like all businesses, new challenges present themselves daily.
At the beginning of prenatal yoga class, our instructor would sometimes go around the circle and ask each of us to share a fear we were grappling with. In a room of 20 pregnant women, almost everyone had a different fear. Yes, many were scared of actual labour, but each had their own unique reason. I have plenty of fears but my two main ones are breast feeding (scares me more than actual birth!) and being able to step away from work, or let go, for a few months to ensure that my son receives the time and energy that he deserves and needs.
Entrepreneurs, freelancers, 9-to-5ers, stay-at-home moms: we all have our own set of challenges. The mom who works at a company with maternity leave and benefits must also return to her office or desk in 9, 12 or 18 months. When she does, she will have to part with her little one, pay exorbitant amounts of money for childcare and potentially deal with separation anxiety or a host of other complicated issues.
The stay-at-mom gives up her career for her children. If she once held a job that helped to define her, fulfill her and provide her with financial independence then the shift will be a drastic one. She may resent her children, or partner. She may feel undervalued by her peers and/or society at large. She may have given up her passion or personal ambition for the greater good of her family. That’s not easy.
Since my concerns revolve around the tricky balance between owning a business and being a new mom, I’ve reached out to six entrepreneurial moms I know, love and admire to share their story and provide some advice. Some of them are just beginning their journeys as new moms, quickly learning and adapting to life with a 3-month-old. Others are busy chasing their active brood through a park. I think you’ll find their honest and astute advice helpful and inspiring, no matter what stage of life you’re in. (You don’t need to be a mom to learn from these ladies!)
My due date is tomorrow. (HOLY SH#T!) I’ve enjoyed writing The Pregnancy Files, but I’m going to step away from the computer for a little while and concentrate my efforts on a baby boy who will make his way into this world any minute now. Until I emerge from the fog to share the next chapter, I’ll let these wise mamas step in with some no-bull, baby-mama real talk.
Check back each week and learn from their stories.
Nikki Leigh McKean, Owner of FIKA Cafe, Nikki Leigh McKean Photography and also helps to run Splendido Restaurant (arguably our city’s finest dining establishment) with husband Chef Victor Barry. (Talk about a balancing act!)
Carolyn Sinclair, Co-founder of Fifty-Seven Family Wellness & Learning Centre, offering family-centered education and support from pregnancy to preschool (Where I took my awesome prenatal parenting class!)
Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, Founder and CEO of Rock-it Promotions, Toronto’s premier boutique PR firm with a roster of clients that includes TOMS Shoes, Soho House, Tommy Hilfiger, World MasterCard Fashion Week, Etsy, Gilt.com, Fred Perry and SO MUCH MORE!
Robyn Colangelo Sprott, Founder and Principal Designer at Broken Fence Communications. Robyn also recently launched LootPress: personalized paper party stuff delivered to your door! Kids birthday parties have never looked so good.