To create this blog post, I asked myself — What would I want to tell a dear friend who owns a business and now has a baby (or is expecting) and is about to start doing motherhood and business together? And these are the things I wrote down! Whether you’re an expecting mama, a new mom, or have been doing motherhood and business longer than I have; I think you’ll find some great tips you can implement right now about motherhood and business, particularly in the realm of productivity as a working mom.
I’m approaching this from my own experiences of being a new-ish mom to a recently 1-year-old baby boy. Some of this may look different in your particular circumstances or if you have multiple or older kids. So take what you can from my advice to apply to your life and leave what doesn’t work.
A few weeks ago, I shared a blog post that could be considered part one of this! That was titled “My Top 4 Productive Mom Hacks for Running a Successful Business with a Baby or Toddler” — you can check it out here if you haven’t already. And, I’ve done TONS of episodes on the podcast at this point about motherhood, business, and productivity as a working mom that are worth scrolling through the podcast feed to find and listen to!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
1. Plan times that you can work away from your baby with someone else you trust taking care of him/her.
This does not mean you're in your office and your baby is sleeping in the next room. It means you are leaving the house to work while someone stays with him or her. This is a time for focused work, whether it's in a coffee shop or a coworking space. Before having my son, I worked from home because I loved it. I wasn't very into coffee shop work, and my home office is an enjoyable environment.
In this first year of life with my baby, he's often home when I'm working. He's either downstairs or in his room which is one door from my office. So in this season, a focused work session at a coffee shop with no distractions allows me to get far more done than being at home. These work sessions help me increase productivity as a working mom, and I get to come back and be more present with my baby.
Adam and I intentionally plan these work sessions for me throughout this first year. We started jokingly calling it “working off campus,” but over time it stuck. Adam will encourage me to go ‘work off campus’ because he knows it will help me get focused work done. With Colin transitioning into a parents' day out program, I haven't done as many of these work sessions lately.
Three or four hours away may sound daunting and complicated if you are a newer mom with a baby still in the first few months of breastfeeding. However, I started doing these work sessions consistently after my milk supply had become more regulated. I would miss a feed, and Colin would get a bottle of either pumped milk from the freezer or formula.
2. With your limited time, be selective in what you focus on in your business.
You might be tempted to tune me out here, but I want you to pay attention to this because it is helpful for a new mom or a mom adapting to business and motherhood. You cannot do everything, especially in the early months of motherhood. So when dealing with limited work time, you have to pick what your time goes to more deliberately than before.
Some things are worth hiring help for when you're able to, and I would add that since I've become a mom, I've become a better delegator. Letting go of things and giving others more autonomy has helped my business grow in many ways. There are also things worth trying to automate and create systems around so that you can spend less time and effort on them while increasing your productivity as a working mom. There also may be things that you need to let go of for this season or possibly even longer than this season, which is ok.
Some things I've let go of in this first year of motherhood include posting on Instagram much less than I used to and not looking for trending Reels music/topics all the time. For quite a few months, coming off of my maternity leave and getting back into the swing of work, I decided to switch to releasing a podcast episode every other week. You don't have to make a formal announcement about stuff like that. You can just make a change without telling everyone.
The truth is, I've had to let a lot of things go since Colin was born, and I genuinely believe that business and life are seasonal. So I encourage you to look at your business, focus on what's working, and maintain where you are right now or grow. It's okay if your goal right now is to maintain. The beautiful thing about business is that if you're in it for the long haul, it doesn't have to be a record year every year.
In his book ‘The Four-Hour Work Week,' Tim Ferriss says, “Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing and is far more unpleasant. Being selective, meaning doing less, is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.” I love this quote because if we're spending our life and business being overwhelmed, that's often more unproductive than if we were to do nothing. It's way more unpleasant, but being selective and doing less, is how we become productive and focused on the few essential things.
3. Have the occasional early morning or late-night work session.
It will be best to do this occasionally but intentionally. Too much of this good thing and then suddenly you’re working ALL the time. Try doing an early morning or late night session with the intention of trying to get something done versus working while watching TV or unloading the dishwasher. You're likely limited on time in this season, but maybe you have big goals and big things you're working on right now. You can plan extra time to work after bedtime and before anyone gets up. Then, once your baby is on a regulated sleep schedule, you will have a few hours before you go to bed and a few hours before they wake up.
If you're still in the thick of night feeds, though, don't do this. Instead, get all the sleep you can and go to bed when your baby goes to bed. Even though I'm not doing night feeds with Colin anymore, I still wake up when he does in the mornings; I just get to bed much later. Then, when your baby starts sleeping more consistently, you could consider getting up early one day a week to get two focused hours of work done. If you did that twice a week, that's four hours extra a week; you're getting some good time to focus on your business.
I got this idea originally from Ashlyn Carter sharing on the Called to Both Podcast with Joy Michelle. The episode is an incredible compilation of work-from-home hacks to increase productivity as a working mom. It includes myself, Stephanie Kase, Ashlyn Carter, and Ashley Freehan. Ashlyn shared that she does her early morning work sessions by having an accountability partner in the form of another business owner. She talked about how you got your cup of coffee, no makeup on, just ready to go, opening Zoom and saying hi. Then you keep it pulled up for accountability while accomplishing whatever you're working on for the day.
This would be great if you're in a season where you could use an extra two or three hours, once a week, when the baby's sleeping, to get focused work done.
4. Let go of traditional views of time management.
We've been taught that every job needs to be done between the hours of 9-5 and somehow takes precisely 40 hours a week to do well, which is simply not true. Now that you're a mom, you might be looking at your schedule and seeing that you don't have 40 or even 20 hours to give. Feeling this sense of time scarcity can be overwhelming at first. However, I want you to know that time scarcity can be a gift to help you lead a more fulfilling life full of balance, where you can get the essential things done.
I have often said to myself since becoming a mom, ‘I don't know what I was doing with my time before I was a mom.’ Looking back, I feel like I was wasting so much time, even though it felt productive at that point. I wasted more time “halfway working” but not getting anything done. I do much more focused work now, and it's been great.
Let go of the belief that you need whatever amount of time you had in your business before becoming a mom. Know that if you focus and work effectively, you can do more with less time and return to your life. To do this, you need to know what you will work on before you start working. Ideally, you don't want to sit at your computer and spend the day putting out fires. You also should have one to two things a day in your business that are ‘must-do’s’ in order to feel like you had a successful day.
If it's a shorter work day, which is my situation right now, you know you won't have the whole day to work, so look at any to-do list item through that lens. Building on that, if you can automate or delegate it, do that. So often, we hold on to things in our business that we could delegate to someone else. Once you have added a baby to your business, there are some things you probably need to let go of when there is less work time. If you know a team member could do it just as well as you can, and they have more time, pass it on to them.
5. Be so gracious with yourself and your agenda.
I've experienced running a business with and without a baby; being a mom does change things. It's so fulfilling being a mom, but it is hard to run your business with a baby. There are a lot more decisions and a lot less time. But, on the other hand, you might be much tighter on time, so it's important not to expect things to be the same.
You need to be gracious with yourself when you come back from maternity leave, or even if you're on maternity leave and are still working a little bit on your business during the break. I had a lot of challenging moments early on when transitioning back into work. Even during my maternity leave, I naturally wanted to be harder on myself if things weren't going well. I wish I had been less hard on myself.
During this time, you're probably not sleeping much. You're feeding a baby and keeping them alive, which is a lot of work. Let your health and the health of your baby come before your business.
You will have seasons in your life where you'll be able to prioritize your business more than you can right now. The early days, weeks, and months of motherhood might not be when your business gets to take a huge priority in your life. Remember that the beauty of having your own business is the freedom to have job flexibility to do something like motherhood while working.
I would encourage you to say to yourself, ‘God has called me to be exactly where I am right now. He has called me to this exact place, and He will provide.’ Be gracious with yourself and your agenda. Give yourself time to get extra sleep, take a nice long shower, go on walks, and not feel like you need to work every nap time.
Your health and healing need you right now, and your precious baby needs you. It's not always going to be this way. There'll be other seasons where your business can be more of a focus, which might not be right now. And that's okay.
I love you guys. Thank you for reading to the end, and I hope this blesses you on your motherhood journey and this first year of motherhood.
- Plan times that you can work away from your baby with someone else you trust taking care of him/her.
- With your limited time, prioritize what you’re focusing on in your business, and let other things go or hire help. (aka do less)
- Have the occasional early morning or late-night work session.
- Let go of traditional views of time management.
- Be so gracious with yourself and your agenda.
I hope this blog post was super helpful to you. Let me know any other tips you have learned in your motherhood journey. I'd love to keep the conversation going on Instagram.
I’ve done a ton of episodes on the podcast, all about motherhood, maternity leave planning, and getting back into work productivity. I encourage you to download and listen to the episodes that stick out to you. I'm constantly trying to create content and teach things I wish someone had told me when I started this motherhood and business journey.
September 20, 2022