Business Strategy

Balancing Motherhood And Entrepreneurship

work life balance

Think of me as your typical suburban mom…a home, a yard, 2 kids and a dog. Right? Wrong. Add a ”third child” into the mix, such as a late stage start-up with U.S. and European offices, and I am a more than fully loaded mama.

Being an entrepreneur meshed beautifully with having A child, or was it the other way around? The fact that the company operated out of my NYC loft and Baby #1 was within arm’s reach at all times made it all manageable. You couldn’t beat the commute! Roll out of bed. Brush teeth. Pull on jeans. Walk to the dining room. And the workday began, punctuated by feedings, diaper changes and naps. Run a webinar and change a diaper at the same time? I could do it all.

As the company grew and eventually outgrew my loft, child care became a necessity. We were fortunate to find a wonderful caregiver who was the glue that made my work/life balancing act possible.

And the years passed by. The company’s grown. We’ve expanded overseas. My little family emigrated to the suburbs in search of more space, a yard and fresh air. Then came long awaited and much anticipated Baby #2 – welcomed with great joy and a bit of panic…like …how’s this all going to work?

Here are things I did, that you can do, to ensure Baby #2’s arrival is the joy-filled event it should be…

Before Baby #2 Arrives

1) Plan ahead at home: Plan for child care and other household help (short and long-term); plan extra steps to make Older Sibling feel “special” when Baby #2 arrives. Plan whatever it is you need to keep your home life stable and make it a top priority to make the plans happen.

2) Plan ahead at work: Reallocate responsibilities among trusted team members to ensure that business essentials are attended to. Road test your team on the additional responsibilities in advance of your maternity leave, so if there are bumps in the road you can smooth them out.

Think of this as “nesting” broadly defined – 21st century-style. Don’t leave the above until the day before you head to the hospital to deliver. You have +/-40 weeks to wait for Baby #2’s arrival. You have +/- 40 weeks to plan how you will balance life and work post-arrival.

After Baby #2 Arrives

1) Seek/create efficiencies. Time is highly valuable and in short supply. Try and prioritize better and let go of non-essentials. Breakfast remnants left on the kitchen table can take back seat to feeding the baby, making the birthday cupcakes for older sibling’s class, and catching the train to the city.

2) Take advantage of all the tools this virtual day and age provides to keep you connected 24:7 (like it or not!) You can keep your business moving forward whether you’re at the pediatrician’s office or you’re meeting with your Board of Directors.

3) Be kind to yourself. Permit yourself to be human — to make mistakes and be way less than perfect. Ask for help from your spouse, from your family, from your friends.

Round 2 – the arrival of Baby #2 – is a distinctly different experience than Round 1. Instead of the luxury of single minded focus on readily compartmentalized aspects of life…child, company, family, home…you will feel more scattered, more distracted. Sometimes you will feel like you’re “drowning” in a sea of other people’s needs/demands. And you are. But with planning, by letting the little things go, and taking full advantage of mobile technology, you will swim!

At the close of the first quarter, just as my New Year’s baby – Baby #2 — reached the 3 month mark, my company’s first quarter performance was up 76% over the same period 2012. Either I planned well, or I should take maternity leave more often!

About the Author

Elena Bajic is the founder and CEO of Ivy Exec, a selective online career network for top performers.