Being a mummy is hard enough but being a working mummy or a mumpreneur, especially when the baby is very young, is just madness!
I thought I’d share my tips with you and what kept me sane… This is more for women who are planning their pregnancy and are not sure how they can combine it with work or running a business but maybe anyone will get a nugget for themselves 🙂 That’s the intention anyway!
1. Save up and reduce your costs
Running a business is stressful… You need to keep your eye on everything. Is your product/ service still up to scratch, are your customers happy, are they doing well themselves or about to go bust, what are the trends, what are your competitors doing, what’s the next big thing, how is your brand/ reputation doing, are your employees happy, can you still afford your rent, what’s the path to world domination, do you have the right insurance, what’s the corporation tax going to be this year? You name it…
Imagine adding a small baby to the mix and not being able to work and being able to sleep for 4-5 hours a night for the next 6 months or so… The last thing you want to worry about is money… so save up… Being short of funds can be extremely stressful and it’s best to create a baby fund up front that would keep you running for at least 6 months if not 12 months. You never know what’s going to happen after the baby is out… Maybe you will want to ditch your business altogether, retrain and do something else? Reducing your costs is another way to effectively allow you to go for longer on a set pot of money… just to give you comfort that you don’t have to go out and earn immediately after you have your baby.
2. Go to an NCT class
Regardless of what you think about the NCT this is a great way to meet people who are in a very similar situation to the one you are in AND live locally literally a few streets away. Our NCT girls have all had their babies within 2 weeks from each other. It was great to be able to confide in them, help each other, research together – e.g. we did a first aid course for babies together, signed up for Baby Sensory classes, looked up baby signing classes… The NCT class also allowed Mark (the dad) to be a bit more involved in what was going on with me and confide in other dads… Really a great support structure.
3. Do a maternity photo shoot and a newborn photo shoot and an underwater photo shoot
Ok this has maybe nothing to do with work but it’s a lovely way to capture this special time you are in… Highly recommend it! And it’s fun to do and again engaging for the dad 🙂 It makes for a lovely Christmas pressie as well if you make your own albums. By the way recommend the Jessops software (a bit dear though but great quality) and mypublisher.com. As far as photography is concerned, highly recommend Antonina http://www.antoninaphotography.co.uk/ and Little Neptunes for the underwater photography http://www.littleneptune.co.uk/. Meet Oscar 🙂
4. Get a case load midwife
Again, nothing to do with work but it was a God send for me. Case loading is a new concept in the NHS, in the West Middlesex Hospital they have only been doing it for the last 1.5 years. Basically, you get your own midwife on the NHS. She can go to your house for checkups and take bloods at home. This is ideal if you have other kids already… And she will also be at your delivery whether it’s at home or hospital. We stroke a great friendship with my midwife and the whole experience was just delicious… highly recommend! Oh, and it’s free…
5. Get lots of help
After the baby is out you will not recognise your world 🙂 It’s best to have someone reliable you can trust around for at least the fist few months. My mum and Mark’s mum were taking care of all of us for the first 2 months and it was just unbelievably amazing… I was able to do a full 8h work day on day 4 after giving birth knowing that all is under control… It was strange for me because my brain wanted to continue working and my body was extremely tired… It took me a few weeks to switch off work and focus on my new baby…
6. Relax and think about yourself
This is what I did not do very well but you have to… otherwise you will not enjoy this special time… I remember that the first time I went to the hairdresser was 6 months after giving birth. Don’t do this 🙂 Try and sneak time for you and for your partner – take long baths, eat well, have people pamper you at least once a month… Don’t worry about dirty washing, piles of washing up, walking in your pyjamas until the afternoon… As long as your baby is happy it’s all ok – just relax – don’t make yourself ill with trying to have a perfect house, perfect nails, perfect hair, perfect haircut… just relax. I could not do this and ended up being very stressed, very grumpy and not nice to be around… In the end I signed up for pilates and physiotherapy and it was amazing both physically and mentally.
7. Wean early
The guidelines in the UK say wean at 6 months. Pretty much everywhere else in the developed world they say wean at 17 weeks which is about 4-4.5 months. Weaning early was amazing for me as Oscar started sleeping through the night and finally I could become more human again… Now he also eats everything and is not fussy at all… My friends who started weaning at 6 months or later ended up with fussy babies, at least in the beginning.
8. Work from home in the beginning if you can
This was amazing for me as I can focus pretty well on what I need to get done but being at home also had the benefit of seeing my beautiful new baby whenever I wanted. I could also continue breast feeding without any problems… and I could keep in touch with my work ‘brain-wise’… so highly recommend this on all fronts.
9. Get an iPhone 🙂
Great for keeping on top of your ToDos, work emails…but also to take pictures and movies of your little ones and share them… Really good investment. Oh and the apps! There is a fantastic rattle app and a baby shapes app that keeps Oscar quiet and focussed at doctors appointments 🙂
10. Go to a few local playgroups
Same as with the NCT – great support group for local mums. You can learn a lot, share tips of how to keep your little one entertained, become a cooler mummy! 🙂 We chose Baby Sensory and Water Babies. Our local library had a Tiny Teddies musical session for tiny babies which was free and our local Welcare centre had a fantastic baby massage class and pilates class – also free. It’s worth looking for these.
11. Get a nanny
This is the absolutely best thing…both me and Mark agree on this… If you have the right nanny it’s just the best. Our nanny is an ad hoc nanny – she works as many hours as we need. From 2h per day to 16h per day… In this arrangement you can work as much or as little as you like… and you know that the nanny will take a good care of your little one, take him for a walk or to a playgroup, go shopping, cook yummy food, keep the house clean and organised, go to the bank or do your post… It is really fantastic to have such support…
12. Shop online
Yes! Do! It’s quicker, you can do it any time and they deliver to your door…or to your kitchen if you shop at Ocado or Waitrose 🙂
Well it got to 12…so be it 🙂 Hope this helps 🙂 I’ll try and add more to the list when I come across something worth doing or thinking about 🙂
Let me know what you think and maybe you have your own tips also? Please share!