I'm Laurelyn, a Wisconsin-based brand photographer + strategist for powerhouse women-owned brands. Here you can expect tips for developing your brand to reach your ideal audience, balance work + life, and more!
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Expecting as a Business Owner (We’re Having a Baby!)
When your business is your baby, it feels odd to say “We’re having a baby, for real.” If you’re expecting as a business owner, big changes are ahead.
All kidding aside, my husband and I are very excited to be expecting our first child in May. I’m pregnant, and I’m currently 19 weeks along!
Thinking Ahead and Planning
In just a few short months, our baby will join our family. So I’m currently working through my pre-maternity leave planning to make sure my leave goes well. While I don’t have any experience in having kids, I’m a planner to my core. I’m trying to prep the best I can for a big life change, knowing that I can’t plan for everything.
There’s bound to be things I don’t think of, and challenges that arise. However, I’m very grateful to be able to make key decisions in my maternity leave since I run my own company. It’s lots of work, but it has it’s perks!
For example, I’ve already found that planning and saving financially for time off of work falls entirely on you when you don’t have any employer or don’t qualify for FMLA. It’s been a lot of hours researching strategy and making checklists. Here’s what I’ve learned about planning ahead for a longer leave like maternity leave.
I can easily get overwhelmed sometimes, if I’m being honest. So I’m started to make lists and plans to feel more calm and organized about stepping away and taking a leave later this year. While I love my business, I want to be able to fully disconnect and bond with our new baby.
I’ll do another post in a few weeks about how I’m applying all this research to my business and planning out of office time, but right now I’d love to focus on my personal takeaways and how we’re using this in our home life.
Your Support System
Having a supportive partner (or support system of family/friends) makes all the difference. I couldn’t do it without support! Plenty of people go it alone in parenthood, but I heard a saying once that amounted to “If you want to go far, go it alone. If you want to go further and faster, it’s okay to accept help.” I’m incredibly grateful to have a partner that sees our relationship as a true partnership, and wants me to be happy and fulfilled – part of which is sharing household tasks so that the “traditional” gender roles are not the norm in our house. You’ll find us both doing tasks like cutting the lawn or making repairs as much as folding the laundry or cleaning.
Divide and conquer. Just because you’re the one growing a child doesn’t mean YOU have to do all the prep for baby. And vice versa for partners. You and your partner can (and should, in my opinion) divide tasks! My husband and I have a running list of who is in charge of finding a pediatrician, who is signing up for infant CPR and birthing classes, etc.
Accept help, even if it’s hard for you. If your support system can help you with some tasks whether it’s transportation to appointments, meal prep, checking in via text, whatever – it’s a great time to accept help. This will look different for everybody, so only you can decide what’s comfortable and a good fit for you.
Listen to your body. Yes, I’m not all the way through pregnancy yet, but I still have had a few months to learn. I’m moving my body in ways the feel healthy and safe, and learning to also listen when I need more rest, hydration, and food. I’m getting better at intentionally slowing down and figuring out what I need in the moment, instead of jumping quickly from one thing to the next. If I could pass along that advice, I’d say slow down.
Creating Plans (Even if You’re Not a “Planner”)
Write out a weekly plan and schedule. If you don’t already do this, it might be a great time to consider it! We have done this for a few years, we have a weekly printed schedule on our fridge that communicates any special events, appointments, and date nights. It also has our weekly meal plan, so that that there’s not the inevitable question – “What’s for dinner?” Believe me, it stops the annoying question before it even is asked (maybe I’m the only one who hates this question?). This will likely get more detailed once our baby arrives, but for now we like the way we do it.
Create a financial plan for your family. This can be as detailed or as simple as you want it to be. For us, it’s going to simply be a summary of each of our salaries, our bills for each month, and adding in new baby costs so that we’re both aware of the financial impacts of a child, beyond just doctor visits. I also researched baby items we need (car seat, crib, etc.) and read safety reports to find the best products. We created a spreadsheet of all of these additional, one-time costs. It’s also a great time to think about life and health insurance. If you don’t already have those things for you and your new/coming-soon child, now might be the time.
I chose to get into the details (though I bet this plan will get even more detailed with time), but you do what works for you. Again, this can be a simple plan or you can get detailed if you like to do things that way.
Write out SOPs for household tasks, just like you would for your business. For us, we have a dog, Milly, who needs regular care and grooming. I usually have a much more flexible schedule so I take on most of her vet and grooming appointments, just by default. But I recently put together in a Google doc a detailed list of her appointment schedules and care routine. That way, my husband aware of what is all involved in her care. He can also quickly jump in and schedule appointments or take over her care whenever needed.
The default setting isn’t always one person who takes care of everything. Make sure other members of your household or your support system knows the SOP. This can be applied to anything from home maintenance tasks to laundry/cleaning tasks and more. Once you do this with one area, you might get hooked and write SOPs for everything!