I always knew I wanted kids and I spent the majority of my 20s worrying about how it would impact my career. I worked really hard, in part so that I could secure a position where I felt I was able to take maternity leave and not fall too far behind, and have the life-work balance that so many of us dream of.
I had always focused a lot on how a baby could negatively impact my career, so I never imagined that having a baby would be such a good thing for my business and for me as a solo business owner.
I preface this by making it clear that at no point has it been easy (that’s a different conversation)!
Here’s why having a baby was the best thing I did for my business:
Improved my Time Management
Doing anything with a newborn is basically like using the Pomodorro method. Whether it’s having a shower, working, or reading a chapter of your favourite book. You have very short amounts of time to get things done so you have to be intentional about what you do with that time. There was no time for scrolling my feed or naval-gazing. I had to decide what I was going to do and how exactly I was going to do it in advance so when I did have the time I used it to my advantage.
Accelerated my Decision Making
We all have those moments in our business when we don’t know how to move forward. Should we outsource the work to someone? Should we try and learn ourselves? I didn’t have time to waste wondering which path to take so made faster decisions on how to keep the momentum in my business. I invested in areas I could not do myself and cut tasks and projects I knew were not essential.
Expanded my Network
Building your network is one of the easiest things you can do during your maternity leave. You meet people from different industries and walks of life than your own because you have something new in common: a baby. Networking happens at the park, at baby groups and wherever mums are getting together. I started a Mom-Mastermind group for members of the Women Entrepreneurs Munich group so that we could share our business ideas and challenges whilst our kids were in the pram sleeping. My network increased 3 fold this year just because I had a baby.
Invested Time in my Development
When I wasn’t talking to others about business I was developing myself, reading books and listening to podcasts. It can be a challenge as an Entrepreneur to carve out time for professional development, so this was a real treat facilitated by hours of walks I wouldn’t usually have gone on, and days of endless breastfeeding.
Let Go of Perfectionism
It is absolutely impossible to do everything at the standard you used to before you had kids, or you end up either burnt out or not doing anything at all. I had to let go of perfectionism because it led me to ruminating over ideas and wasting so much of the little time I had. I had no choice other than to let go of it if I was going to make any progress at all. When I did, so much opened up to me. I began asking for help and coming up with loads of ideas to problems I’d been stuck on for a long time.
Check out my blog post “10 Ways to Rebel Against Perfectionism” for inspiration.
Realised the Value of my Services
Time is money, yes we know, but we only really appreciate it when our time is actually limited. I had been underselling myself for too long. When it came to working during my maternity leave it had to be worth the effort to take time away from my family, so i finally started getting serious about what my time was worth.