There are lots of things they don't tell you about starting your own business-- like how long takes to figure things out or how it can be weird to not have coworkers. But for ladies having babies, the roadmap is even more elusive. We know it's different for everyone, but we thought we would have #ahasmember Lisa of Zelma Rose share her experience now that she's a couple years past diapers and middle-of-the-night feedings.
Are you a maker mom? What's your experience with a little one and pregnancy been like?
Q: Tell us about your business!
A: I am a fine artist and best known for my modern needlework jewelry designs for Zelma Rose, along with my large scale needlework installations.
Q: Where was your business at when you found out you were pregnant and how did you see that changing with a baby?
A: My business has grown right along with my daughter from the beginning. I started out as a fine artist and then in 2003 returned to school to receive a Masters in Clinical Psychology.
I went on to receive my license and at the time of my pregnancy I had just taken leave from my Private Practice. I never expected to find myself leaving the profession I had spent the previous 6 years working on, but toward the end of a chaotic year in our family, I needed to step away.
As I spent time away from my practice, and became pregnant I realized that I did not want to continue doing the kind of intense psychological work I had been doing. I went back to teaching art and started creating like crazy. I was making anything I could get my hands on. I started messing around with jewelry and without really knowing it created a collection.
A friend was visiting and said, "Hey you've got a business here. I'm coming back next week and shooting these for Etsy." Before I knew it I had a little Etsy shop and had started to do some shows.
Things grew very slowly at the beginning and I had absolutely no idea what to expect when my daughter was born. I had the sense that I wanted to be a full time stay at home mom and once she was born I knew that for certain. I became passionately driven to find a way to be home with her. Each month that passed Zelma Rose became more and more of a way for that to be a reality. I still had no idea how hard it would be to run a business and be a full time stay at home mom and work from home, but I was determined to make it work.
Q: How did you manage pregnancy and your business?
A: Pregnancy was the easy part! Even on my worst days I still had more energy and creativity than I did once my daughter was born. I tried as hard as I could to get as much set as possible before she arrived. I remember during labor I was fulfilling Etsy orders on my phone from the hospital!
Q: Once the baby arrived, what was your plan for maternity leave and how did you swing it?
A: Even if I'd had a plan, it would not have prepared me for what was coming. I really had no idea that I would feel so strongly about being at home full time. That was a real surprise. It was not a reality for me to do so without a business, so I worked my ass off to create one that let me be the kind of mom I wanted to be. I never took leave and nearly 5 years later seldom take a break or a vacation. It can be crazy making, but at the end of the day if I have been able to be with my babe without having to put her into daycare, then my business has been a huge success.
Q: How did you manage your business with a baby once you went back to work?
A: I'm still figuring that out. My daughter's schedule and needs change each year and I just try to go with the flow and adapt. The biggest lesson is still remembering that it is a choice. I have everything I want, but it means that sometimes things need to move a bit more slowly. There are days when I can only get to 50% of what needs to be done business-wise and that has to be okay. I've become a master of using time wisely and working at night and the early mornings.
Q: What was the most surprising thing about running your business and pregnancy and/or having a baby? There is no such things as balance, only a juggle and I'm a mind-blowingly amazing juggler.
Q: What would you like to let new moms and those thinking about having a baby know?
A: It is the best. The absolute best. I never knew how much being a mom would change my life. It is my favorite job and one that I never expected would define me in so many ways.
Remember to breathe and know that you will NEVER have the time to perfect your business in the same ways that your friends without kids are able to. AND THAT'S OKAY. You will get there, it will just take longer, but the journey is of motherhood is well worth the snails pace.
Q: Anything else?
A: Ask for help. A lot. Seek out other new moms who run their own businesses. The challenges are unique and having a supportive network of friends and colleagues with similar challenges is important.