Our sweet Jane turned 1 last week!
Everyone warns you how fast time flies when you have a baby but nothing can really prepare you for the growth and whirlwind of that first year.
I also decided this year was the perfect time to launch another business. Ha! Proof I am a little crazy…
But since you are reading these words on this new fancy website (thank you friends at Conduit Studio!), then I’ve at least partially succeeded!
Cue the happy dance. It only took me 10 months to do what I would have done in 10 weeks had I been able to work whenever I wanted and sleep more than a few hours at a time… just one of many challenges of mompreneurship.
But here I am- here you are– not too bad!
So, I’ll just dive right in… here are a few things I’ve learned during the first year juggling motherhood + business:
#1. This is the most significant and amazing season of life yet.
And it may also be the most challenging and emotionally taxing. And that’s OK.
I felt guilty from having feelings other than pure happiness this past year but eventually I realized that I was going to adjust to some changes better than others. For instance, I lucked out in the birthing/nursing/bonding/maternal department. That aspect of motherhood just felt easy for me.
But juggling work, marriage and a social life felt a little (or a lot) different. Because it is different.
A lot of things are different.
My body is different.
My schedule and demands on my time are different.
The stuff and clutter around my house is different.
They way I plan for and go about my days are different.
Once I let go of control and rode with the current of imperfection instead of fighting it, I felt so, so much better.
#2 Plan to be about 15 minutes late for everything the first 6 months. Or more.
It is so hard to get out of the house when you have to pull yourself together while getting a little person fed/changed/dressed/buckled in. You can try to schedule this extra cushion in your schedule but I swear, the 10-15 minutes will creep up on you no matter how hard you plan. And during those few months of the “blow out” stage… well, just forget about feeling on-time.
The beautiful thing is that a baby is a great excuse to run a few minutes behind and people give you a lot of leeway those first few months.
#3 Nursing pads are friends.
Don’t forget them at home. Especially when you’re back at your first big client meeting like I was. I wish I had a photo to go along with this one for you… you’ll just have to trust me.
#4 Prepare for some crazy talk.
The inner dialogue crazy mom talk. The worries about accidents and death and ‘what ifs’ hit me just days after Jane was born. After talking to a lot of moms this past year, it seems like a good amount of this is normal and apparently it never really goes away.
It’s a slippery slope… like when you’re strolling your baby down the sidewalk and you start considering the probability of a car flying over the curb right where you are walking.
Yeah, that’s when you need to take a deep breath and just reel that little voice back in for bit. I find that really focusing on the moment and being present helps prevent all of those worries from taking hold.
#5 Schedule a few hours for yourself every two weeks or more if possible.
I know you hear this kind of advice a lot- I did too. And I didn’t take it seriously. I figured, how hard could it be to just make time for myself or a girl’s night? It’s actually much harder than I imagined.
So trust me on this one… literally set a recurring event on the calendar and share it with your husband or whoever will be at home to allow this time to happen. Or else… see #4 above.
#6 Celebrate all the milestones!
Take the month-to-month pictures, cheers to the first everything… you can’t overdo the celebrations in my book.
It may seem cheesy from the outside looking in but this is what life is all about. Take the time to enjoy it. So much of life goes uncelebrated once we reach a certain age and I want to embrace it and cherish it as long as we can.
For instance, even though I knew it would be a lot of work and what we probably needed most was some downtime, I insisted on throwing a proper party for Jane’s first birthday. I wanted to fuss over decorations and details even though I knew she would never remember it.
And I may have gone a tad overboard by doing a professional photo session every 3-4 months of Jane’s first year but you know, I know that I will never look back in life and regret having these precious photos documenting each special stage.
Like most people, I like to share the most beautiful moments and pictures on social media. But I’ll admit, it wasn’t an easy season, friends.
I lost my dad and a brother. Planned two funerals. Learned how to ride waves of both immense grief and immense joy. Spent countless hours on the phone with insurance companies and continue to navigate the frustrating probate court and legal system. Becoming parents challenged our marriage. We survived a year, and counting, on very little sleep. And even though our businesses thrived, it didn’t come without a lot of sacrifice and demands.
Even with all of this, I’m so, so proud of the obstacles we overcame, the family we’ve become, and the future we continue to build together.
Whatever season of life you find yourself in right now, I hope you’re also making the time to celebrate and to focus on all the beauty that surrounds you. Like Gretchen Rubin says,
The days are long but the years are short.