The decision to go back to work after having your first child is an agonizing one. Most moms I have spoken with have gone back to work with a heavy heart and hope that one day they won’t feel guilty about leaving their child with someone else all day. When my eldest was one I struggled with this decision and ultimately decided to quit my permanent job. I was lucky enough to find a consulting job with a previous employer and so I was able to work from home. It was the best of both worlds. I had an income coming in, I was challenged and most importantly I got to spend oodles of time with Ainsley. It was fairly easy to juggle my work and her needs.
When I began looking at the options after my second daughter Juliet was born, it was a different world. The company I had consulted for no longer had room in their budget for me so I was faced with either going back to work full-time or I had to find another solution. I had toyed with the idea of starting my own business but had never really had a reason to take the leap. The thought of being my own boss and being able to be here for my children was what ultimately motivated me to start Glow Baby. I thought that running my own business would be similar to working as a consultant except that I could choose what I wanted to work on and every high point would be because of my efforts.
Glow Baby has been in business for 9 months now and my expectations were definitely wrong on some levels but correct in other ways. It takes a lot of work to get a business up and running. When you are a sole proprietor you are the accounting department, the marketing department, the sales department, shipping department and the administrator to name a few. In my case I am also the product developer. I love my business. I love what I have created and I have a million ideas in my head about the direction I want my company to go. I do not however, have enough time.
It was definitely easier to balance my business needs and my daughters’ needs at the early stages of the business. Ainsley was in nursery school for 4 mornings a week and Juliet would nap in the morning so I could get work done. I would then pick Ainsley up from school we would all have lunch and then both girls would have their afternoon nap. I would seize this opportunity to work again. When the girls woke up we would have snack and then play until dinner time and then we would have family time until bedtime. I would then pick up working again after they went to bed. It was definitely busy, but I had blocks of time to devote to my work.
As Juliet grew older, she dropped her morning nap which meant that I do not have time in the morning anymore for the business. As a result, I have found a wonderful caregiver who is able to come in two mornings a week to play with Juliet so I can work. There are days when I struggle with the fact that I am not with her on these mornings and I do get jealous when they go out and have fun, but I keep telling myself that the total time I am missing each week is 6 hours. If I was working in an office I would be missing her at least 9 hours a day if not more.
Another challenge I have been faced with as the girls get older is that Ainsley has now dropped her afternoon nap. At first this was very frustrating as there went two hours of work time, but we now have a routine. I will let Ainsley watch an hour of TV (and yes I felt guilty and still do about this) but then she will come into my office/dining room and do her own “work”. She will draw next to me as I work and has learned that when mommy is on the phone she needs to be quiet. It’s actually very cute and I have a huge art collection now of Ainsley originals. Ainsley loves to see what I am working on and I love to see what she works on and we get to do our work together.
There are days when I miss the girls as I have to devote more time to what is going on in the business but overall when really looking at the amount of time I do get to spend with them, I am very lucky. I got to see their first steps, hear their first words and I get to be there to develop the people they are going to be. As much work as the business can be, I am in control of the pace of our growth and can keep it slow and steady while the girls are young and build a solid foundation. Once the girls start full-time school I can take what I have already accomplished and run with it. I hope that the girls remember the time we spend together happily and I hope that they can see what I have done with my business and realize that they too can do anything they want if they only put their minds to it.