*As featured in the Huffington Post*
Let’s face it, being self employed and running your own business is hard work, building your own startup is even harder, but add being a parent to the equation and any fellow mum will tell you there can be days when you will feel everything is impossible!
When I made the decision to launch my own business one year ago today, my son was seven months old. I wanted to fulfil a lifelong dream but I didn’t realise just how much of a juggle it would be.
In fact, I couldn’t finish this blog without my now 19 month old sat on my lap wanting to relive his favourite Peppa Pig episode and play Happy Mrs Chicken!. (Yes, it’s a real game now!)
Being a ‘Mumpreneur’ is tough and it doesn’t surprise me how 20% of all startups don’t make it past their first year in business. Particularly when you have a little one in tow and everything seems to take three times as long! In times of need, I’ve found there are so many blogs out there that tell you the best way to start up a business, but in actual fact, no one can tell you how to start your own company AND be the best parent to YOUR child.
However, what I have found is that every child is different and as a result of that, your routine will revolve around them no matter what you do. You don’t make the decisions about time management – they do! When they nap – you work; when they sleep – you work (and then sleep as well) and if they don’t want to play ball – you simply don’t get anything done.
Your toddler will call the shots in a lot of ways and sometimes having a successful business isn’t all about the numbers, it’s about finding the time in a day where there seem to be so few hours!
Recently my toddler went through the 18 month sleep regression. For those parents who haven’t yet reached that stage or were lucky to avoid it – it is the worst sleep regression out of all the sleep regressions (because there are so many apparently!). It basically meant our little boy didn’t sleep – at all.
So just when I had a good productive routine juggling parenting with entrepreneurship, suddenly sleep deprived zombie mum with equally sleep deprived tantrum equipped toddler turned everything on its head.
Even more so if your child becomes ill, you have no choice but to put everything on hold too.
There was a point when my little boy was poorly a few weeks ago, I questioned everything. I asked myself if I had made the right decision about starting my business because I felt like I’ve never worked this hard in my life. I actually ran myself down and caught my son’s bug as a result.
Yet learning to take a step back, reassess, re-plan and be flexible is all part of fun in the ‘Mumpreneur game’! Putting family first does not mean failure at work. It was important I did so in order to come back fighting fit and to carry on going.
When I reflect on my first year in business, I’ve learnt that I cannot control if my son will wake up in the night because he’s teething and I cannot control when he has a cold or when his daily routine will change as he grows. But I can make sure I always try my very best to adapt and change with him and be the best mum I can be. I’ve reminded myself that I work around my child and will not let my child work around me. The latter was never part of the plan.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have achieved so much within the last year. I’ve been nominated for awards, shipped products abroad and grown my website and branding. All little milestones that reinforced the fact I made the right decision. I’m just so grateful for all the support so far. I’ve met some fantastic people on my journey too and I hope that my second year can be even better as I continue to be inspired by my little boy everyday.
Here’s to reaching birthday number two – as long as my toddler lets me!
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