Wow! So, you’ve just become an official parent to at least two babies: your baby and your business. How are you holding up so far? If you think that you’re alone, then you’re wrong. You are not alone. This article drawing from the experience of so many others like you will guide you on how you can run a business when you have a baby.
The truth is, a lot of women out there are juggling between their roles as mothers while starting a business with a baby.
You might have been well on your way to launching a business when you discovered that you’re expecting.
Perhaps your business was still at the infancy stage when you welcomed another infant.
Maybe you have even been running your business for years.
Regardless of the circumstances, you shouldn’t ignore one fact.
While starting a business with a baby can be a challenge to business leaders, it doesn’t mean that a business can’t run at all.
In fact, the opposite is true.
As you embrace motherhood, you will discover new insights that can shape how you run your company.
How To Run A Business When You Have A Baby
1. Create A Plan
Ideally, you should have already created a plan for the time you’re absent from your company when you give birth.
This plan covers not only the operational aspect of your business but its financial aspect as well.
The goal of the plan is to allow your business to operate and to be financially sufficient in your absence.
When you create a plan, allow for a contingency of extended absence.
This is because you might be planning for an ideal situation that will turn out to be rather challenging.
For example, you might be planning for a mere 8-week maternity absence, but you soon realize that you need more.
So, factor that in when you create a plan.
In addition, also consider the possibility that your doctor may no longer allow you to travel to work a few months before your expected delivery date.
It all depends on how you’re doing with your pregnancy. So talk to your doctor.
2. Inform Everyone Concerned
This is true: some women business leaders are actually hesitant when it comes to letting people know that they are expecting.
That’s especially true if they’re dealing with clients face-to-face, or if they’re at a stage where their bid for funding is still out there in the open.
Somehow, some believe that confidence tends to drop if the woman at the helm of a company is pregnant.
You can be quiet about it but know this: sooner or later, you have to tell them.
If you think that you should do it now, you can do so and present the plan that you have created.
This will help to assure them that your business will not be affected by your eventual absence.
In addition, letting concerned people know about your situation allows them to see where you’re coming from.
That’s especially if you’re expected or have been doing physically demanding tasks before.
In the same way, let everyone in your company know.
Tell them about your plan while you’re away.
Do you know what?
Despite your hesitance to leave your team to their own devices, it’s actually going to help them learn their independence.
On your end, once you take that leave, then you’ll have some time to clear your mind and regain your focus.
A lot of stories from women who went back to work after taking maternity leave report that the experience of going away actually helped them become better business leaders and their team more independent workers.
3. Get Health Insurance
The insurance has to be for you and your baby.
For one, pregnancy can be expensive.
Two, having a baby and running a business is also expensive.
So, besides the healthcare benefits that come with your health insurance, you also need a safety cushion in terms of your finances.
4. Take That Maternity Leave
Just because you’re the top person in your company doesn’t mean that you cannot take that maternity leave.
You actually need to take it for physical and psychological reasons.
First, you need to physically recover from the birth itself.
That’s irrespective f whether if you’ve delivered your baby through a Caesarian section or had a natural childbirth
Secondly, you’ll go through the psychological process of detaching from the notion that you’re no longer pregnant; that you’re now officially a mother.
This is called the postpartum period. You should know this is not purely psychological.
It also involves physical changes as your body now adjusts post-pregnancy.
Thirdly, you may need to pump milk for your baby if you plan to breastfeed.
This means that you’ll need to pump a whole day of milk supply for your little one before leaving for work.
Or, you can do this in advance during your maternity leave to prepare for going back to work.
However, if distance allows you, you can quickly go home to check on your baby and also to breastfeed.
5. Enlist Child Care Assistance
Following the arrival of a child, parents usually realize that they need to start making some amendments to the kind of work routine they were used to.
That’s because as the baby grows, he or she needs more of his or her parents’ attention.
It’s interesting to know that baby products have been conceptualized out of these 3AM vigils that parent go through!
Since you’re running a business while having a baby, you know that eventually, you’ll have to leave your baby behind and go to work.
It’s a great idea to have a nursery at your workplace but still, you need someone to look after your baby.
That’s when babysitting services will come in handy.
Now, when you look for a babysitter, make sure that you consider compatibility.
Don’t feel bad if you think that your babysitter and your baby are not a compatible pair.
It happens; you just have to look for that element of compatibility so you can be at ease.
6. Always Have A Plan B And Plan C
This is true: unlike when you didn’t have a baby, your day might switch to spending more time in the office or spending more time at home.
The thing is, you just don’t know when one of those will happen.
Your best bet is to always have a backup plan.
Having a plan to fall back on will make it easy for you to run a business when you have a baby.
For example, if you see that you’ll be spending more time at home, then you should still be able to work remotely.
This means that whatever you need to get your work done should be accessible from the cloud.
If you see that you’ll be spending more time in the office, then you should ensure that the baby has enough milk to last until you get home.
Remember you always have to have a contingency plan, if things don’t work the way you expect them to.
7. Go With The Flow
This seems to contradict our discussion about having a contingency plan.
But what this means is that you shouldn’t follow a rigid schedule when you have a baby.
As we mentioned, your work hours will automatically become flexible once your baby arrives.
You won’t know when you’ll finally manage to get some sleep and you won’t know when you’ll wake up to the sound of a hungry baby.
As demanding as this may sound, it pays that you be able to adapt.
This also means that you have to give up on the idea that because you are running a business as an owner, you will have more time for your baby.
That’s not usually the case.
Your business is another baby that needs taking care of.
Now, don’t be scared.
It’s just the way things work.
Besides, how beautiful is it to see both of your babies thrive because of your ability to take care of them?
8. Prioritize Your Time
Running a business while having a baby isn’t like being Wonder Woman.
People can’t juggle all of their responsibilities all at once.
You’re not an exception.
The key is to learn how to prioritize.
If you know that you should be devoting your time to your baby, then your baby should have your undivided attention.
But between your responsibilities over your business and your baby, you should always choose your baby.
If this is the case, what about your business?
This is where you’ll realize the importance of delegation.
Right now, you know that you should be focused on being a mother to your child.
Let that happen.
Leave those business tasks to your team.
It will help them become more independent, and it will help you fulfill your motherly obligations.
9. Look After Your Diet
First, you need to make sure that you stay hydrated.
Water helps keep you alert.
So if you need to stay alert, drink water at regular intervals.
Secondly, always carry a snack.
A fruit, a biscuit – anything healthy will do.
Thirdly, don’t starve yourself. You need to sustain whatever energy you have.
This will allow you to conquer the day on your business and the day with your baby.
Fourthly, avoid salty food.
This may be more applicable to women who are still pregnant.
That’s because salt causes water retention – something that you don’t want, as pregnancy may cause your body to swell.
Retaining water amplifies it.
What do all these come down to? It’s all about staying healthy.
If you just gave birth, consult your doctor before engaging in physical exercise.
10. Network With A Catch
Networking can be a surprise. You won’t know who you’ll meet and what opportunities will come up.
But can you bring your baby to some networking events?
The answer is yes as long as the environment and the tone of the meeting permit it.
Some women business leaders remark about building business connections with other people because of that one thing they have in common: a baby.
These networking events can also function as opportunities to find a sense of identification.
Other people are also going through what you’re going through right now, and that’s important for you to keep in mind.
In a way, the connection you build on what’s initially a business networking event can insulate you from the challenges that getting childcare can bring.
11. Spend Your Downtime Thinking
Think about your business.
If you’re in the mood for it, your downtime during pregnancy can be used in order to plan a strategy for your business.
It’s also a time to see if additional opportunities are out there for you in the market, or if there’s anything in your business that you think needed to change.
The point is, you may rarely have time to really become an observer in your business because you were so engrossed with working on it.
While you’re on a break, jump on the opportunity to look at your business with fresh eyes.
You’ll never know when you’ll get that lightbulb moment.
12. Identify New Business Prospects
Take advantage of your maternity leave by thinking about new business prospects during your downtime.
It could start with a hobby.
A past-time of sorts that eventually take the form of an idea.
13. Embrace The Unknown
Every childbirth is different as is with every child.
You just won’t know what’s around the corner.
But just because you don’t know what may happen doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward.
You don’t know where it will be years from now but you still do what you do.
Do not fear the unknown; embrace it.
Your baby will grow.
The truth, when that time comes, you might miss the days when your grown up was still a baby.
A Note About How Pregnancy Can Change Company Policy
Running a business while having a baby can bring surprise especially for first-time mothers.
Because of their pregnancy experience, they may be inspired to transform their companies to support expecting mothers – and newly-minted dads.
Around the world, companies are revamping their policies in order to foster a more employee-focused environment.
Will you be the next one to do so?
This is true about life-changing experiences: it’s bound to create ripples of change in other aspects of life.
If you can do one thing for your company in the context of our discussion, it is to be a model for your employees.
As a business leader, people are bound to follow your example.
So when you get pregnant, you have to assume that other women in your company may also be pregnant, may be planning to get pregnant, or have already given birth.
These women will look at what you’ll do.
In doing so, there’s a high chance that they will follow your lead when it comes to taking maternity leave, your work arrangements following childbirth, and so on.
The best thing you can do is to create an environment where they can make that happen.
The chance of you sharing a similar experience is high.
You can create this environment by introducing policies that are helpful to new parents. These could be:
- A flexible work arrangement.
- A paid or unpaid time off for both moms and dads.
- Family-oriented company events.
- A simple act of asking how a new mom is doing (and taking her out for coffee).
These are a few of the ways that you can show that you care about your team’s family life as much as you do your own.
By building an environment where employees feel that they’re not forced to prioritize their work with you over their family, you’re cultivating a model workplace where turnover is kept at a minimal.
This helps to create a place where work and family life balance is possible, and where people don’t need to be concerned about starting or growing their family.