Let’s talk kids and careers for a second.
Having just given birth to my second daughter, Mia, the topic of having children alongside building a successful business is hot on my mind – not as hot as the thought of full night’s sleep mind, but you get the point!
I think it’s unrealistic to pretend this isn’t still a question that runs through many women’s minds, even in 2019.
Often I receive messages from younger women asking me, how does this actually work? How do I ‘juggle it all?’
Many are worried about their future as they don’t want to take time off their business or out of their careers, feeling like it could make them irrelevant if they do. Also there are just the practical questions, like how do I actually work at the same time as having a kid in the house?! Then there’s the financial implications – how do we survive, where will the money come from? These questions show me that this is still not an area talked about enough.
We STILL don’t have enough representation of modern motherhood and business.
I actually started my business after having my first daughter so it’s all I know – I just HAD to make it work, as so many parents do!
Personally, you know I’m all for having both; I certainly don’t feel like having children has hindered my career at all. Actually, the fact that I’m a mum has actually helped me connect and bond with my audience, possibly leading to a more relatable brand and increased sales (who knows)!
Instead of just sharing my thoughts, I decided to take to the floor in the No Bull Business School Facebook group to see what women with, and without, children in our community thought. Had having kids impacted their business? Had anyone avoided children because of how it might play out? Did anyone actually care about this stuff in 2019 or is it bloody old news?!
“I don’t have children yet but we’re planning to,” says Victoria James. “I run my own business – I’m a big believer that children fit your lifestyle. I know there are logistics, practicalities and life changes when they arrive, but with thinking and organising that fits your world, you can have both successfully. I honestly think problems begin when you try to fit the mould of what’s deemed ‘normal’ – rules are different for every family; make your own.”
Making her own rules is Caitlin Graham, who cites having children in the future as the main driver to setting up her own business. “I wanted to be around more for my future kids and not have to rely on childcare. Plus I knew I wouldn’t cope well with the stress of commuting etc on top of the exhaustion of dealing with children. However, it feels like I’ll never be ‘ready’ to have them as I feel like I need to be secure in the business first and keep putting it off!”
It seems planning ahead in their business whilst still child-free is something many women are embracing.
“I always wanted to run my own businesses around kids so I set them up slowly, way ahead of time, which meant I could scale down when they were babies and then back up as things got easier,” explains mum of two and life coach, Holly Smith. “It’s great, but not without challenge. I have a lot of comparison issues with coaches doing way better than me but then I remember their kids are older and in school, while mine are 10 months and two, not sleeping through, no guaranteed naps, and I’m still breastfeeding. Basically, I’m a badass and my time is coming!”
Damn right. Not comparing against everyone else’s version of being a women in business seems to be the key.
Financial strain, meanwhile, can be a huge factor in choosing whether to have both a business and children, as content creator Victoria Jackson explains. “Every penny I earn is invested back into my business right now, so throwing children into the mix is a piece of the jigsaw I’m just not ready for. My business is my baby at the moment, and I’m relishing in watching it grow. Of course, a 9-5 gives you the stability of a regular wage and maternity leave, but as so many companies are frustratingly inflexible with new mothers, it makes me want to strive harder to create my own business to support the future family I might have.”
Closing with a similar opinion is Jen Thomas, who discusses the plight of working a 9-5 job while raising a family. “Do we have a choice anymore? Working a 9-5 can be a nightmare with kids. We have a new generation of women who aren’t going into business just for the money, but for a chance to create a family-friendly lifestyle – a life that you love, with money in it.”
Obviously there is no one size fits all way that this whole motherhood and business thang works. What I’m loving is that women are embracing how it might work for them and tailoring it to their own needs. The more representation of women we have out there talking about how they do it (or don’t do it) the less we will feel like ‘can I have a business AND kids?’ is still a question that’s relevant to women. It’ll just be something that works itself out.
What are you thoughts on building a business with children?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or join in the conversation over on our Facebook group if you haven’t become a member already!