I was recently asked about staring a family as a small business owner on Instagram after sharing the news of our baby boy’s upcoming arrival in March 2018. Honestly, it wasn’t something I was thinking about covering at first. But, it’s so obvious that this is a topic many small business owners face and maybe even having anxiety about as they plan for their future and a family. I hope that by simply sharing our story, it relieves some of the pressure you might be feeling or debunks a myth or two about starting a family as a small business owner.
Photo: Horn Photography and Design
Staring a family as a small business owner, in our case, really had to do with us getting to a physical and mental place of readiness. For us, that meant waiting to try until we moved closer to our families as we lived in Virginia for the first year of marriage. Once we moved to South Carolina, we waited a little longer until our house was finished being built. We really wanted to be settled in our new home! The final piece of the physical puzzle: getting off birth control. All I’ll say is this ladies… If you know you will want kids in the future, educate yourself on birth control and when you’ll need to stop taking yours. Because of the type I was on, it could have taken me six months to a year (at least) to even conceive and get my body back on track to prepare for a baby. And when I mentioned getting to a mental place of readiness, I really mean talking about it as husband and wife and making the intentional decision that we were both ready and excited for this next chapter of our lives.
From there, it was really just about trusting the process, because as you’ve probably heard, there’s never a perfect time to have a baby. There’s always going to be something coming up – whether it be an event you’re working, a wedding you’re in, business school, etc. There is bound to be something that will make it not an ideal time to be pregnant. But I promise you that if you just trust the process, trust your body and trust God to make it happen when it’s supposed to happen, everything will be okay and a lot of the stress will be taken off your shoulders! As fate would have it, we ended up getting pregnant the week we moved into our house. Not knowing how long it was going to take my body to get to a place where I could conceive, we were pleasantly surprised that it happened that quickly after our move as that was one of our main reasons for waiting.
No matter how long it takes you to actually get pregnant once you’ve decided to begin staring a family as a small business owner, the good news is that you’ve already made the decision. So, you’re likely mentally preparing yourself and your business for having a baby. Realistically, you are going to have to cut back on your workload – especially during the first few months to give yourself maternity leave. Yes, you deserve it even if you don’t work a traditional 9-5! If you’re a small business owner who will be working from home and also taking care of a baby, your day-to-day typical workload and activities are going to change. But that’s okay!
I’m very fortunate that my husband is an amazing provider for us. I still work my butt off to provide for our family, but my income is not our main source of income. For us, once we decided that we were ready to start a family, we also decided we needed to talk about realistic expectations and what I was going to be able to provide for our family post-baby so that we could prepare for the future. I recommend talking with your partner about how much money you as a small business owner would like to bring in to provide for the family during this season. From there, you can work backwards and think about repricing your services or products so that you are making what you need to make while not burning yourself out with the new baby. This could mean taking on less work, but charging more for your work. Or taking on less clients, but investing more time in those clients. And finally, be realistic (I’ve used that word a lot in this post, but it’s important) about how much time it’s going to take you to get the things done that you want to get done while also having a baby. People will tell you to sleep when your baby sleeps, but if you’re going to also be running a business, that might not be possible for you.
Other boss moms, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Weigh in below + share your tips for starting a family as a small business owner!