No one hands you a guidebook, sets you up on a training, or offers a performance review when you start your own business. You decide to risk it, to take the leap, to be brave, and to give the world your very best. The same can be said about the journey of motherhood. For most of us, blending the two is a place uncharted.
We asked our community of business owning mammas to share their wisdom, and one truth became clear: every journey is different, but you don’t need to journey alone.
I struggled through the year, facing so many fears along the way, but I was never alone. I found a community of family and friends that helped carry me when I couldn’t carry myself. – Grace Burt
For some, approaching business ownership and motherhood looked like strategizing, planning ahead, or finding a new sort of inspiration. For others, it was learning the art of giving yourself grace, asking for help, or letting yourself heal.
Below eight amazing women open up to us about their authentic stories, what they learned, and what they wish they’d known as they navigated motherhood and owning a business.
“I strategized so I could be fully present.”
As a content creator, I knew I wanted to still be sharing weekly educational newsletters and blog posts with my audience, but prioritized actually taking a maternity leave – which is not always common in the entrepreneurial space. Instead of just letting my content channels go silent or stressing each week to write, I batch produced content and prescheduled it for 4 months after my due date. It allowed me to be fully present with my son after his arrival, but still connect with my audience every week to stay top of mind! I shared about that process here.
Because I still was sharing content while on maternity leave, my business and services were still top of mind for people. After sharing various content, blog posts, and more, I had the opportunity to book a few clients while on maternity leave. Even during a time when I was not in the office on the day to day, I easily sent over my contract to be signed and saw income into my bank account while I was snuggling my newborn.
Lauren Carnes, Lauren Carnes Photography
“I let motherhood inspire me to take my creativity to the next level.”
Motherhood presents its fair share of challenges when trying to pursue dreams in a career simultaneously, but I have found it to be the greatest source of inspiration in my life! After giving birth to my daughter several years ago, I had a surge of creativity and self-confidence that helped to propel me into forming my own business a few years later. I used to doubt my strength, but having had two children really helped me to limit those negative thoughts. Also, juggling my dream job and dream other job (hehe) is fun, exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating and inspiring all in one. However, I constantly take a step back and remind myself that I am living my dream. I am so thankful and tired. 😉
Through HoneyBook, having a direct link to commission clients on my site is a HUGE time saver. Basically every single part of my identity nowadays is about saving a bit of time so that I can savor the moments I have doing each part of my life.
Megan Elizabeth, Art by Megan
“I ditched the guilt for gratitude.”
The challenge (or one of them) of being a full time mom, while also being a full time business owner, is the mom guilt and the mom shaming. I’m so blessed by my career, and the opportunities I get to travel all over to do what I love. But the comments from others was hard to take in at first. “Wow, you’re away a lot. Do you ever see your kids?” The amount of defensive responses I had saved up in my head was ridiculous. It was wearing on me, and the guilt was heavy. My advice? Lead by example and be PROUD of the life you’re living. Own your success and your confidence. Be so full of gratitude and humility, that the comments from others can’t bring you down. Be someone your kids look up to! It’ll be a balancing act, between being a mom and being a kick ass entrepreneur, but you can (and you WILL) learn how to make it all work. Don’t let anyone else’s opinions of your drive to work, or your determination to pursue a life less ordinary, bring you down. One of my favorite quotes is by Rachel Hollis and I’ll leave you with it here! “The more I’ve thought about it, the more I believe that God made me this way. He knew I would have a worker’s heart, and He knew I would want to build big dreams.”
HoneyBook has made balancing my work life and mom life, in more ways than I can possibly count! The time I’ve saved (alone!) responding to emails and sending proposals has been enough to give me those extra hours playing with my kids, making dinner, saying bed time prayers, and let’s not forget, being a present wife to my husband!
Monique Serra, Monique Serra Photography
The only one expecting perfection from me was me. Give yourself grace, mama. – Joy Michelle
“I let go of perfection.”
Before becoming a mom, I really thought I would be in it alone as a mom and small business owner. I thought it would be on me to juggle it all perfectly and not let my new life with a baby slow me down, but I was pleasantly surprised to find how supportive other moms (especially moms with businesses) are, and how understanding my clients and customers have been. The only one expecting perfection from me was me. Give yourself grace, mama.
Having my workflows completely set up and using the templates features inside HoneyBook has changed the game for me as a new mom! I no longer need to be on my computer to stay on top of all my client communication and deliver an incredible experience.
Joy Michelle, Joy Michelle Photography
Knowing that what balance looks like on a Monday won’t be what balance looks like on a Tuesday helped me keep my postpartum from becoming overwhelming and helped keep the bad days from seeping over into the next day. – Justine Russo
“I leaned on my community to help me heal.”
Overcoming Postpartum took a village. My family and friends were a huge support to me in that time! I struggled with asking for help and carried the heavy feelings that I needed to do it all. Realizing I couldn’t was a huge blow and one I struggled with constantly. I wanted to be an amazing Mom and be an amazing business owner, and somewhere in my brain, perfection in both was the only way to do that. I was so wrong! I’ve learned since that taking time away from both your business and your responsibilities as a mom are the only way to do both to the best of your ability.
Talking to a therapist was one of the best things I ever did, and once I started talking about it I was surprised how many other people I know also see therapists. To have someone on your team to give you support and an unbiased point of view on your life and struggles is so refreshing. It’s helped me discover tools to effectively transition between work time and Mom time without feeling like I want to pull my hair out. Approaching each day at a time, as an individual day also helped immensely. Knowing that what balance looks like on a Monday won’t be what balance looks like on a Tuesday helped me keep my postpartum from becoming overwhelming and helped keep the bad days from seeping over into the next day. And lastly, knowing that everyone struggles with postpartum differently. Don’t compare. Your journey won’t look like anyone else’s. I put off for so long talking to anyone about it because other moms had it “worse” or mine “wasn’t that bad”. It doesn’t matter how yours presents, talking to someone about it never ever hurts. Taking time for yourself to heal and rest is never a bad idea!
HoneyBook helped me stay organized and on the days where work was the last thing I wanted to be doing. It helped streamline my emails so they weren’t as overwhelming!
Justine Russo, Justine Russo
“I learned how to maintain my identity.”
After having my first daughter I struggled with postpartum depression. It was a really rough year. So when I had my second daughter, I made a point to take steps to combat the depression by staying connected to friends, being active and jumping into my business. Having my business allowed me to have an outlet that wasn’t connected to being a mom. It helped me keep my identity and not get lost in motherhood.
HoneyBook has been a huge part of my business from the day I first signed up. The great part of having it after my second child was that I could automate my emails and booking process, which allowed me to balance work and motherhood much easier. Having that balance helped me not feel so overwhelmed and left me in a much better mental state.
Kendra Swalls, Paisley Layne Photography
“I gave myself grace and room to grieve.”
Having a miscarriage taught me a lot about running a business during very difficult emotional times. I learned that it’s okay to be honest with your clients, to ask for the time and support you need, and to take time grieve without guilt. Trying to act as if everything is okay when it’s not will only lead to burnout or worse. Give yourself grace and protect yourself.
Becky Mollenkamp, Mindset Coach
“I found opportunities through vulnerability as a single parent.”
When I became a new mom, I knew it was going to be hard, but I never dreamed I’d have to do it alone. A few months after my daughter was born, my marriage ended unexpectedly and I became a single parent. I was terrified, not knowing if I could do this on my own. The beginning was very difficult. I struggled through the year, facing so many fears along the way, but I was never alone. I found a community of family and friends that helped carry me when I couldn’t carry myself. I’ve slowly regained my strength and confidence, and I hardly recognize the person I’ve become. By being vulnerable and sharing my story, some wonderful opportunities have opened up to me that never would have been possible before. I’m so proud of all that I’ve accomplished as a single parent, and everything I do is to build a future for my daughter and I, together.
Grace Burt, The Soft Season Photography
Running a business and motherhood are both complicated, unique, challenging, and life-giving journeys. Whether you’re in the height of joy or the depths of sorrow, try to plan for what you can, give yourself a little grace, stop chasing perfection, and keep your people close. You’re unstoppable, mamma, and you deserve to be seen and supported – right where you are.