I’m going to be completely honest. Having a kid totally kicked my butt. Here’s the thing: when people find out you’re expecting, they tell you how much work it’s going to be, how much sleep you’re going to lose, and how your life is going to completely change. But there’s no way anyone can fully describe what really happens.
As my due date got closer and closer, I prepared myself for the biggest change in my life. I wrapped up the projects I’d been working on, let my repeat clients know I was going to be out for a few months, and even did some work ahead of time so no one would be left hanging. It wasn’t nearly enough.
Most women go back to work three months after having a baby and I thought I would be able to do the same. Ellie was born in August of 2014, so I thought I’d jump right back into things by November of that same year. I even thought I’d hit the ground running by doing some business development work while she napped. Here I am in November of 2015, just now jumping back in. Taking care of a new baby turned out a lot harder than I thought and I got a little stuck. These 3 lessons are what finally got me moving my business forward:
1. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t work out how you expected.
Nothing could have fully prepared me for the changes that came with motherhood. There’s no way I could have looked ahead and seen what challenges I’d face after Ellie was born. I was so hard on myself because I wasn’t able to just go back to the jam-packed schedule I was used to. When something in your life changes, it takes time to figure things out and adjust. And that’s totally ok. You have to acknowledge that you’re doing your best and give yourself a break while you settle into a new rhythm. You’ll figure it out eventually and beating yourself up in the mean time won’t make that happen any faster.
2. Let go of unrealistic expectations.
I wasn’t able to take on as many projects as I thought I would during Ellie’s first year. I wasn’t able to send out newsletters consistently. I wasn’t able to blog and network and grow my business like crazy. It took me a while to be ok with that. A long while, lots of encouragement from my husband, and even an email exchange with one of my personal heroes. And something great happened when I decided to stop feeling disappointed in myself. I found so many other things I could do to make progress! They only became obvious when I let go of the demanding schedule I thought I should be keeping. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated all the time, maybe you’re asking too much of yourself. What can you put on hold for a little while? Its ok to shift your focus during challenging times.
3. There’s always a way to move your business forward.
Maybe I couldn’t take on a ton of projects, promote my business, go to networking events, and blog consistently all during Ellie’s light naps. But I could definitely listen to podcasts while I nursed her, read blogs as I cuddled with her so she wouldn’t wake up, and tune into online classes while I bounced her on my lap. It wasn’t what I had pictured, but it gave me exactly the tools I needed to make a big shift in my business and set it up to be something better than I had ever imagined.
Ellie’s first year didn’t look anything like I thought it would. It turned out to be so much better! I learned so much, not just about life and parenting, but about branding and business and marketing. Without that year of learning, I wouldn’t have as much to offer my clients and I would still be approaching my work the same way. Instead, I’m coming back with a sense of purpose, a solid plan to reach my goals, and a passion help businesses I believe in reach theirs. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!