No one said being a working mom was easy, but it can be even harder when you run a business full-time out of your home.
If you are trying to balance work and motherhood right now or preparing your business for motherhood, I want to pass along some advice I wish someone would have told me. It would have saved me hours of wasted mental energy trying to please other people and prove that I could become a successful entrepreneur, even with a newborn on my hip.
I had my son Grant at 23 years old, making me the first of my friends to join the motherhood club. I read a few parenting books before giving birth but nothing could have prepared me for those early years of motherhood.
As a new mother, I thought a lot about how to provide for my son. It wasn’t just about me anymore, and that was humbling and scary at the same time. My mom thought I should get a waitressing job to earn a bit of extra cash, but I had my eye on something greater.
The answer seemed simple: I should start a business of my own.
That way I could stay home with my son while working on a business that would financially support us both. With a camera in one hand and a bottle in the other, I started Claire Dobson Photography.
Wedding photography gave me the freedom to spend most of my days with my son so I only had to pay for daycare one day a week. It saved me so much money, but that doesn’t mean it was easy.
I’m the first one to admit that balancing this whole working mom act is hard. It’s not for the faint of heart. Things can slip through the cracks, but it’s not impossible to make a good living doing what you love while raising kids.
It took me a few years to get the hang of this whole working mom thing but I can’t imagine my life any other way.
Maybe you are dreaming of leaving your soul-sucking full-time job so you can spend more time with your newborn while teaching people across the world from the comfort of your own couch (and in your pajamas). Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom that is looking to fill your days with more purpose by building a business that (literally) feeds your family.
No matter where you are, you can build a life-giving career while being a new mom. Here are a few things to keep in mind throughout your journey…
Learn how to ask for help
This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn! I can be a little stubborn at times, and I’d rather carve my own path than follow someone else’s path. I’m an entrepreneur so it’s in my blood to challenge the status quo. But even if you are a solopreneur, you can still gain a lot by asking for help.
Asking for help connects you with other entrepreneurs in your community and introduces you to new perspectives. You may find a solution to your problem by having a conversation with another working mom who lives nearby or a business coach whom you trust.
Learning how to raise your hand and ask for help can put you in a vulnerable spot, but leaning into your authenticity will help you unlock the answers you are looking for. You’re not any less of a boss when you ask for help!
Keep a core group of friends
In addition to asking for help, it’s crucial to have a close group of girlfriends to experience the ups and downs of business and motherhood with. My friend group is a bit non-traditional but I love that we are in all different stages of life!
Not everyone in your core group of friends has to look, talk, and think just like you. Actually, it’s better if they don’t so you can learn from them and support them as you walk through life together.
Be strategic about how you use your time
Even though my son is a teenager now (time flies!), I still don’t have all the time in the world to spend on things that I don’t enjoy or that aren’t productive.
Before I say yes to any business collaboration, client inquiry, or event commitment, I ask myself, “Is this is the best use of my time, or is there a better way for me to use this time?” It usually saves me from saying yes to the wrong things.
It’s easy to get bogged down with all the things you feel like you have to do as an entrepreneur and mom. Too many entrepreneurs struggle with how to spend their time wisely on social media, which is one of the main reasons why I started my second business earlier this year, Get Found Stock. Our membership community helps people do just that. If you’re interested in learning more, take our quiz to get started with the right resources!
Don’t beat yourself up
I see way too many working moms beating themselves up when they have a bad day. Maybe their launch didn’t go as well as they thought, they were late to pick their kids up from soccer practice, or they got spit-up on their shirt. Life happens!
The best thing is to learn from it and focus on how you can make tomorrow a better day. Anything else is just a waste of your energy.
Be careful of unwarranted advice
It should come as no surprise that everyone will have an opinion on how you should balance motherhood and entrepreneurship. There is no right or wrong way to build your business and raise your kids. Anyone who claims to have “the answer” isn’t worth listening to.
What works for one family might not work for another. Take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt and stay true to yourself. No one knows your values, dreams, and family’s needs better than you. You’ve got this, boss!
What are you struggling with as a working mom? Let me know in the comment section below! We can chat it out like girlfriends over coffee. (Who am I kidding? More like girlfriends over cocktails!)