I am so freaking excited to be a mom. Like really! I'm currently 37 weeks pregnant and am anxiously waiting for our little babe to arrive.
The thought of waking up every few hours to nurse my baby, letting exhaustion become the new normal, and becoming accustomed to the smell of baby puke and stinky diapers... it all makes me really excited! Crazy, I know...
So many of the moms-to-be that I've chatted with have talked more about their insecurities and worries than the things they are looking forward to. I've struggled to relate to a lot of them and sometimes wonder if I'm being too optimistic.
I get that for many women being pregnant can be super uncomfortable. I've been so lucky that I've felt pretty normal for the past 37 weeks. Sure, I have stretch marks, my shoes don't fit and have gained more than 50lb, but hey, I'm growing a freaking human and that trumps all of those things. I've heard many women express their concerns about what labour will feel like and how their bodies will never be the same as before they had children.
And don't get me started on the mom-shaming among pregnant women (as if moms make these decisions alone and dads have no say...) about breast milk vs formula, cloth diapers vs disposable, or heaven forbid a mom wants to give birth to a child and still work her day job!
Don't get me wrong. I'm not sitting over here thinking life as a mom is going to come without insecurities and challenges. I just feel like I am having very different concerns from those my peers have mentioned.
What I am most anxious about is finding a balance between being a focused mom and a focused business owner at the same time. And what kinds of challenges will I face as a working mom that I haven't yet thought about?
I am obviously pregnant and the question I get asked the most (right after is it a boy or a girl) is who will run the shop while you take maternity leave?
Um. Excuse me?
1. It's not really any of your business.
2. It may say owner next to my name in my e-mail signature, but I DO NOT run this shop alone.
3. If you know of a way for a full time business owner to take a one year, worry-free, leave of absence, and still continue to grow their business at the same time, WHAT IS THE SECRET?
When I break the news to these concerned strangers that I am not taking a traditional maternity leave, their face falls and they look worried. I can see their judgement and feel as though that what they really want to say next is how on earth can you be a mother and still work? A few have even asked how I think I'll be able to do it.
I've been thinking about how I'll be able to balance being both a mom and business owner since before J and I started talking about having a baby, and I often worry that I won't be able to do both well. Will I be able to continue to provide our customers and staff the same attention as I do now, in addition to sharing my time with my new little family?
I LOVE my job and made a conscious choice to be self employed (and exempt from EI/maternity leave benefits). And the truth is, some days I wonder if I made the wrong choice. There are days I am jealous of those who get to take a year off from their jobs and are able to 100% focus on their family...
Then I give my head a shake and realize that everyone's life is different and we all make choices. I can't imagine walking away from our business for a full 12 months. Going to work is fun for me and finding new ways to grow our business is exciting. I'm not sure I'd be happy giving it up 100% for a year.
SO, how on earth do I think that I'll be able to do it all?
Well, I'm just going to keep an open mind and see how things go. I'm not real sure what to expect and I know there will be curve balls thrown at me along the way. However I have the most supportive husband out there, we have wonderful staff who work with us at the shop, and I believe that if you want to make something work, you will. After all, it takes a village, right?