I knew becoming a mom would change everything so I decided to design a career around motherhood. And it’s true, motherhood changes everything. For me, that meant a flexible work schedule. I also knew I’d want my own business well before Emilia arrived! So, I started preparing before she was even a glimmer in our eye, as they say!
I planned my finances for 18 months
Crazy, right? I followed these steps to plan my finances. The best tip I can share is to forecast what you *think* you could make in one year. Then, live off of that amount while you’re still working full-time. Put the additional dollars into a savings account for a rainy (business owner) day. While I was still working full-time, Matt & I learned to live off of one salary. We started with half of my salary, then a quarter, and then zero just to see what it was like. It’s better to test your financial discipline with the safety net of a paycheck going to savings.
I took the first 6 months to determine how much I wanted to work
No one knows what it will be like to be a first-time mom. If you want to design a career around motherhood, you have to experience motherhood before designing it. As a planner, that was a hard lesson for me. I look back and wish I gave myself more grace. We started with childcare 2 days a week and I tracked my hours on projects.
I found that I wanted to be around Emmie more than I expected. I’ve always been a career-driven woman, and I assumed I would want to work full-time after having the baby. I was wrong. I like to work, but find time to spend with Emmie also known in my world as “part-time most of the time.” After plenty of trial and error, I found that formula is our sweet spot. Plus, one day a week that I’m with her, I like to see someone else (whether it’s a grandparent or friend), too! The balance is really nice. However, there are always exceptions. When opportunities pop up that you can’t say no to, you figure it out.
I batch my work to be as efficient as possible
The biggest trick to succeeding as a working mom (whether you work for yourself, a small business, or a corporation) is to learn how to use 20-minute chunks of time. If you can master that skill, you will be a master of efficiency. Motherhood seems to offer these tiny windows of time often in 15 or 20-minute increments. Pre-baby, I’d scroll Instagram. Now, I use these tips to be super-efficient and batch my work.
And then there are the two questions that I know are on everyone’s mind….
Do you miss your old life?
Sometimes. I miss the routine and structure of going to an office, being apart of big projects that would occasionally land in a trade publication, and the team camaraderie or awards. Being a business owner can be a major lesson in being a humble human as well as super lonely. It took me about a year to adjust, and now I can’t fathom going back to a corporate job and being on someone else’s watch. I love making my own scheduling now and working the hours I need to make the salary I want.
Can you make the same salary as your previous job?
Well, there are a million ways to answer this question. In short, absolutely. It’s really hard, but you can make just as much money with working less time during the week. It does mean more nights and weekends though, so you’re essentially shifting your working hours to spread out across the week.
I think it’s important to decide how much money you want or need to make. Then, you can assess how you get there. This is honestly why I LOVE advising my clients and why I offer business advising as a service.
It’s all about the time to cost ratio. How much do you or can you charge for your time? How many people can you find for that service? There’s a lot of forecasting and math that goes behind how I spend my childcare hours. Ask my friends at The Marketing Greenhouse, I’m crazy about managing my time down to the minute.
If you’re trying to design a career around motherhood, I’d love to help you. I offer free 20 minute sessions to connect and troubleshoot where people are getting stuck. You can sign up here.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.