My baby is one! Cadence, my little girl, just celebrated her first birthday, and I cannot believe how fast time has gone.
Let me tell you, that baby stage did not last long enough for me. I loved the days where she could just snuggle with you for hours. It was exhausting, sure, but oh my gosh, I’ve never felt so much love in my life.
Now, she is growing into this spunky, independent personality, and it is so much fun to watch her just love life. Loves food, loves people, loves exploring, and is just this beautiful soul that I am so grateful to know and raise.
This has been the most fulfilling, challenging year. I have arguably exerted the most energy in my entire life keeping so many things alive.
Between loving this sweet little girl and running my company, I never thought I could accomplish so much on so little sleep.
I’ve been getting this question a lot about what it’s been like being a mom and a CEO.
To be honest, it has been incredible.
It’s had its difficulties, for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever had to make such hard choices and function at such a high, exhausting level. But looking back on it all, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So I’m going to tell it all! What role I’ve taken on In my business since becoming a mom, how I integrate work and parenthood into my life, and the practical side of our schedules as a family of entrepreneurs.
What it’s Like to be a Mom and a CEO
So, the role I’ve played in my business has dramatically changed since I’ve had Cadence.
When I first started my company—I was literally doing it all, as so many entrepreneurs do. I was doing the actual work building websites, orchestrating Seo campaigns, and running social media accounts, all the while building relationships, generating sales, doing my own marketing, managing software, bookkeeping, taxes, you name it.
This is the first year that I have really been able to step into that CEO position, which has been a breath of fresh air, and I love it up here
I get to lead my company into success, being that visionary that I’ve always wanted to be. I lead my team, solve problems, strategize solutions, and set standards for my company and our work. I am doing high-level work the majority of the time, and the business can run pretty well on the day-to-day, with or without my presence, which makes the spontaneity of parenthood much more manageable.
Scaling My Business to Give Me Freedom and Flexibility
It has taken so much thought and action to make this a reality, however. I spent an entire year before she was born preparing my company for this. It was my intention before Cadence was born, I wanted to build a business so that it could run without me.
I wanted to be able to take maternity leave, take a vacation, catch a cold, and not have my ship sink while I was away.
I’ve talked about this scaling journey several times on this podcast because it’s made such a difference in my life and in my business. Scaling is what has allowed me to step into my dream role and still get to be fully present to love and raise my baby.
Now, I’m so much more intentional with my time and am still actively working towards developing systems and infrastructure that will not only let me continue to blend life and business together but do the same for my team.
My Philosophy as a Parent and Entrepreneur: Work-Life Integration
I’m still developing a philosophy in how I feel about parenthood and entrepreneurship, and there’s this really interesting concept called work-life integration, which is a very different philosophy than its predecessor: work-life balance.
Work-life balance is traditionally defined as keeping work and life separate but investing 100% in each so that they remain balanced and equal. You traditionally don’t blend work with life and vice versa.
Work-life integration is the concept that both can exist simultaneously, and the two blend together rather than having black-and-white boundaries.
I think this is a really refreshing outlook, especially for parent entrepreneurs. Instead of feeling that constant push and pull between business and parenthood, you are allowing yourself the flexibility to choose and blend if needed.
For example, when Cadence was born premature, she spent a month at the NICU. Every morning as soon as I woke up, I was on my way to that hospital. I stayed until the afternoon before I switched with my husband, and he spent all evening with her before crashing into bed in the early morning hours.
Given that we spent so much time there, I remember hoping on my team meeting at the hospital, with my week-old baby sleeping on my chest.
I joined because I WANTED to, not because I had to–and that is such a beautiful reflection of the foundation I had worked incredibly hard to achieve in business, but also a reflection of how much I love my company and what I do.
I’ve always loved working. My company gives me so much passion and purpose. A feeling I didn’t know could be replicated until I had Cadence.
Now, I have these two things in my life that I can’t live without, and don’t want to. So I choose to make them work. I choose to integrate them both into my life.
Why Not Both? Finding Ways To Blend Passion and Parenthood
My favorite saying and life motto that I usually live by is: Why not both?
Can I run a business and be a present parent? Why not both?
Can I go on a business trip and have a family vacation? Yep, let’s try it!
Can I lead a team and serve my clients with as much care and intention as I raise and love my daughter? Without a doubt.
This isn’t quite the same concept as “You can do it all,” which I feel like is an impossible standard that mothers have to live up to.
This is the idea of integrating motherhood and business ownership.
It’s taking the parts of your life that give you joy and prioritizing those.
It’s finding a way to integrate seemingly opposite things.
It’s choosing what matters to you, and getting rid of the things that take from you.
It’s about sacrifice.
It’s hard, it’s exhausting, and sometimes you feel like you are failing at everything.
But when I hear my daughter laugh, or when my employee tell me that this is the best company they’ve ever worked for, I know it’s all worth it.
The Practical Side: How Do I Have Time To Work as a Mom?
So now that I’ve said my peace with my sappy philosophies, I would love to share the practical side of how being a mom and a CEO actually plays out in my life.
First, let me just say how incredibly privileged I am to have the situation that I do. For example, I have a husband who runs his own business and can be with Cadence while I work, then have so many family members who live nearby and can take Cadence to allow us both time to work. I fully recognize that it is so rare to have this kind of convenience, and I am so so grateful for it.
So my typical day looks like this:
I wake up with Cadence in the morning, make breakfast, have playtime, and then my husband takes over around 9:00 while I start my work day.
I work from home and have an office with doors, so I get to hold my meetings, accomplish my work, and get done what I need to. Meanwhile, dad takes care of the baby, gets us all lunch, and puts her down for a nap. I usually eat lunch with my family, but sometimes have meetings in the middle of a project deadline to wrap up. My work day gets done around 2:00 or 3:00 or whenever I want to be done, and I take over the baby from there. Jimmy goes up to his office to work, I make dinner, usually take Cadence for a walk or give her a bath, then one of us will put her to bed.
This is our typical schedule unless one of Cadence’s grandparents takes her for the day, which usually happens about twice a week. This gives us both a lot of free time to work uninterrupted, to clean the house, or enjoy each other’s company.
This schedule does not always work perfectly, and the hardest situations are when I feel like I’m pinned against a corner and need to choose between business and life (which goes against my utopian work-life integration philosophy, right?)
Sometimes my girl needs me, and I have to cancel my meetings. Sometimes I am in the middle of a crisis and have to call my mom to watch Cadence for an hour. Sometimes my husband is sick, and I cancel my schedule.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned here is to be present and patient where I am. Entrepreneurship is what has granted me this flexibility in life, and I have built my business to respond to situations like these.
What I Want My Daughter to Know
Ultimately, In loving life like this, I want my daughter to know deep in her soul these few things. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that she was prioritized. That she is important and adored. I also want her to recognize that work is meaningful and can be a point of passion for her. I want her to know that she can create the life she wants and have the freedom to balance and integrate her priorities.
I am so proud to wear this mompreneur hat. I am a parent, and I am the CEO of a successful company. I can have both. I have to put forth a massive amount of intention and effort to have it this way, but I am so grateful for this life, for my daughter, and for my business.
Thank you for letting me share my story.
Until next time, keep succeeding small.