No childcare and cloth diapers are two hills I would die on. At least, I would have before I had kids. Much like most soon-to-be parents, I had all of these ideas about things that would make me the perfect mom. Before I had kids, I lived in the mindset that I wouldn’t need childcare. As a self-employed entrepreneur, the babies would go wherever I went. It was not as easy as I thought. For all the parents and soon-to-be parents, this one’s for you:
“You can grow a multi-million dollar business while raising a family.”
For the last five years, we have been parents at the same time as building our entrepreneurial lifestyle. Our two and four year-olds have been along for the ride as we have built our multi-million dollar business and have been probably the largest source of learning for us throughout it all. Once you get the hang of raising kids, the business part feels ten times easier.
We had our daughter with us for the first four months before we transitioned to in-home childcare for three days a week up until she was around a year old. At the same time, we had a period of unprecedented growth in our home building business. We quickly fell into meetings from 8am to 8pm with clients, and our daughter would go with friends or family until we were done with meetings for the day. And with that, we went from cloth diapers and taking her everywhere to frozen pizzas and round-the-clock childcare.
This was a great lesson for us as business owners and parents, and hopefully one that you can learn from as well.
Set business hours. I know from experience how easy it is to fall into working all the time. For us, we’d work until midnight some days, and our kids would wake up before we’ve even gone to bed. But the burnout is real if you don’t set realistic time frames to have that work-life balance.
Choose a childcare solution that works for you. A lot of times, people idealize one childcare system that works with the normal 9 to 5 or for stay-at-home parents. Every business and every family is different, though. It depends on what type of business you have, how fast you want to grow, and how much time you are comfortable spending away. Choose what feels right for you. And if that changes over time, know that it’s normal.
Take time for yourself. This applies to your working life and your parenting life. For me, I experienced issues with both pregnancies- a lot of which can probably be chalked up to stress from our business boom. I was literally in the hospital following the delivery of my daughter and working from my room. I felt I didn’t have time to take away from the business, and know now how important it is to give yourself the time to heal and be a parent. With our kids being older now, we’ve been lucky to have an amazing support system in our friends and family that we can sometimes take time away for ourselves. Take the time to read a book, meditate, or go out on a date. You can be in parent-mode and business-mode all the time, but need time to be in husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend, and just normal person mode. Don’t be afraid to take a step back when you can.
Navigating the growth of both your business and family can be tough, but Noah and I will be the first to tell you how rewarding it is to navigate both of these journeys together. One of the best parts of being self-employed and in business together has been how much we’ve been able to be there for each other. I kid you not- Noah did all the grocery shopping for the first four months after each of my pregnancies and was able to be there for me whenever I needed him- no sick day or PTO restrictions. We were able to handle the challenge of being new parents on our own terms- and together. We also love being able to take our kids with us as we build our dreams. The baby stage can be hard, but being able to take them to showings, job sites, and the office as they’ve gotten older has been deeply rewarding. They love being part of this aspect of our lives, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to include them in it.
There is no mold for being a perfect parent and no mold for being the perfect entrepreneur. So, go ahead and release that guilt. It might be cloth diapers, or it might be frozen pizzas- maybe even a combination of both. Take it from Noah:
“The hardest thing in life is not creating and building businesses. The hardest thing in life is having and raising children.”