The statement that “it takes a village to raise a child” is really true. It also takes a village to run and grow a business.
Having my own business has allowed me to expand my network like I never imagined. My business provides an opportunity for people to come together, learn something new, and hopefully make a difference in their lives. I am most proud of the community I am able to build through FIT&FEAST. And honestly, now that I have become a mom, meeting other entrepreneurs that are mothers has been incredible. The support that moms provide one another is something I have never experienced and I am grateful for in this new chapter.
I am in the event business, which unfortunately meant that I could not take on clients that had an event date around my pregnancy and maternity. My preparations included making plans with future clients and keeping up with my social and website so there would be a seamless transition when I returned. I work with an amazing marketing agency and web designer that held down the fort for me while I was gone, and I did meet with them in advance to make sure they had as much content as possible before my maternity leave.
Being a first-time mom and not knowing what to expect, I truly felt I would be able to jump back in to work within six to eight weeks. Not full-time, but at least checking emails and doing quick check-ins with my team… Well, I was in for a big surprise.
I ended up going back to work full-time when my son was 7 months old. I did work on one small project and took a few meetings here and there — however, the real deep dive back in took a bit longer. Looking back, I wish I had said to myself, I am going to take a full three to four months off and then reevaluate next steps. Thinking I was going to go back so soon brought on anxiety and stress when I did not go back at that time, like I could not figure out the balance between motherhood and running a business.
When I finally decided to go back at 7 months (which happened to be January) I made a conscious effort from Thanksgiving through the New Year to focus on my son. I was able to thoroughly enjoy this time and be present with him.
I wish I had prepared for having more help prior to having my baby. Having help with childcare is crucial. Learning to trust someone who you honestly barely know with your most prized possession, and managing the emotions around going back to work, is difficult. There are also classes on birthing and motherhood, and looking back, I would have loved a class for working moms.
New mothers go through a lot mentally and physically, and it takes a long time to get back on track after pregnancy. I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk back into a corporate office to a 9-to-5 job, 12 weeks after giving birth.
It would be great if leaders and organizations would show a better understanding for the transition back to work from maternity leave. Let new moms show off pictures of their baby for a day or two without judgment. Provide nursing rooms that are comfortable and not only for moms that are pumping, but also for moms that just need to sit in peace and quiet, or maybe cry due to hormones, or FaceTime home. Maybe Week One doesn’t have to be full days. We understand life and work has to continue — however, an easier transition for new mothers will go a long way.
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