Balancing baby and business

I tried continuing to run my own business after I had a baby, and it didn't really work out.

That's not to say that it wouldn't for all businesses but mine was at the time a one-woman affair which couldn't really be run by anyone else, probably a little like being freelance.

I wanted to do both: to look after my baby in the early months and to keep the company afloat.

I managed to eek this incompatible way of working for a few months before the baby won and I made the company dormant.

I found I was torn between the two. Either resenting the childcare because it prevented me from getting things done (washing another load of clothes while the emails stacked up) or resenting the work because I felt that these were precious weeks with my baby and I could look forward to work for decades to come.

I both wanted to make that phone call and was annoyed I couldn't because my son was making too much noise and was annoyed that I had a phone call to make.

One upside of trying to manage goo-goo-ga-ga with sales and marketing was that during the brief moments in the day when my son was asleep my efficiency ramped up enormously.

It's not a great achievement however because the knowledge of working to a deadline (the countdown clock ticking away until the baby monitor starts shrieking) creates tension and pressure which is really the last thing you need when sleep-deprived and looking after an infant.

By the end of the day I would be completely spent but without the satisfaction of having got everything done.

As my son grew up it became easier to organise childcare and to lock myself away at my desk for structured amounts of time each week.

Having had the luxury of running my own time pre-baby - I could be anywhere, doing anything (sales, stock check, conference, accounts) I found the change to a few prescribed working units in the week a bit difficult.

It has turned out to be a great advantage. First because both me and my toddler have learned to like the routine.

And second because I know how much work I can realistically do, how many places I can realistically get to and it has made the work load manageable. Whereas I used to be 'sure, I can do that, I can be there', I now only take on what I know I can do.

As a result I know that I can't return to the way of life that my old company demanded and I'm very happy about that. I feel like it has run its course and left me more knowledgeable and a better worker.

Instead of returning to working full-time, full out, I'm starting a new company (just finished the business plan) that is designed to take advantage of my experience, the amount of time I can dedicate to it and whether I could take time away from it to have another baby.

About the author

Rose Grimond 1
Monday, 28 May, 2012 - 19:24
Oxfordshire
United Kingdom

Rose is setting up an artisan cheese business, www.orkneyrose.com