A New Business and Expecting My First Baby at the Same Time. Am I Crazy?

Updated on February 01, 2010
N.H. asks from San Rafael, CA
5 answers

I am in need of some advice from some seasoned working moms out there. I currently own my own business but have the opportunity to start another one. I am also newly pregnant with my first child. My current business pretty much runs itself which is not a problem, but I am concerned that I may be getting in over my head with starting a new business and having a baby at the same time. I realize that both are huge time commitments, but think I can swing it by working on weekends and evenings when my husband is home and also working from home some days. Of course, we may ultimately need day care or someone to come to the house as well. Just curious if anyone out there has been in a similar situation and can give me advice on balancing a career with child rearing? This business opportunity could really help us out financially too.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all your words of wisdom. Fortunately, I am sane and have come to realize that what is most important right now is having a happy, healthy child so that will be my focus. If this business opportunity is truly that then it can wait until the timing is right for me. Thanks again for giving me some clarity.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Work/life balance is challenging enough for most professionals even before a baby enters the picture. The first 3 months postpartum should be focused on caring for this helpless newborn and getting the rest you need to recover from childbirth. Starting a new company--an option that doesn't sound like is an absolute necessity for the wellbeing of the family--is something that is best left for you to tackle after the first year of your baby's life. The first year postpartum is filled with challenges and adjustments, with life revolving completely around the baby. Unless you have a very good support network of family, friends, neighbors, community programs, etc. the stress of having a baby to care for in addition to a job (or even multiple jobs), housework, etc. can easily put you at risk for postpartum depression (PPD). PPD specialists and books say that major life changes during the postpartum period can only add stress. Much like having to relocate/move to a new home, starting a job--and in particular a new company--is considered a major life stressor. Any kind of change—even a change in lifestyle, due to baby’s presence or change in husband/wife relationship—can cause stress. Having a baby is one of the most significant life changes you’ll experience in a lifetime.



answers from Santa Barbara on

Congratulations on your pregnancy and a successful business! Before I became a parent I thought that I could have balance with work and a child. Personally, I could not. I either spent too much time at work and my son suffered or I focused on my son and my work suffered. The balancing act is very hard, but some women can do it and do it successfully! My thoughts were to wait on the new business until you understand how demanding parenthood truly can be and take it from there. The fact that your husband is a good support system is important to making both work. One question, if you're off working when you have downtime when will you have family time where you, your husband and your child are all together?

I wish you the best of luck! It's an incredible journey you're about to embark on.



answers from San Francisco on

How deadline-dependent will this new company be?
How disciplined are you when it comes to prioritizing work things?
How comfortable are you with "good enough" vs. "it has to be perfect"?

I have a new baby and I recently joined an early-stage technology startup company - I worked up until 4 days before I gave birth, and came back to work after 6 weeks, and so far, it's been great!

It's a lot of work, but I work from home and make my own schedule - so I get the challenge and excitement of work AND get to be near my daughter all day. (I also plan on transitioning to part-time day care when she's old enough to be mobile / benefit from socializing with other kids.)

Of course, it helps that generally it doesn't matter if I do something at 2pm or 11pm - which is important, because even with a "good" baby, you can't predict when they'll be sleeping or awake. There will be days when you get NOTHING done.

If you love working, you'll be happier working... and that will make you a better mom. If you own your own business, it'll mean a lot MORE work than a traditional 9-5, but also a lot more flexibility.



answers from San Francisco on

I have two children and have managed a full time career (which included a basically 24hr job managing global teams) outside of the house. You can do it. AND you can do it and still feel like a good mom.

The short answer is that it all depends on your ability to handle chaos, the flexibility of the enterprise you are attacking and the personality of your baby. If you thrive in chaos, this will be a breeze. If your new business doesn't require you to have consistent hours, you'll be in better shape. And if your baby is a good sleeper with an easy going personality, you'll have a cake walk. Unfortunately, you are only really in control of the type of business.

Plan for the worst case scenario. Cost out your financial benefit after you factor in the cost of a nanny. (In Berkeley, we paid $24/hr; half that for a nanny share). Plan to need to sleep late some days. Expect that your baby will get ill at the most inconvenient times, so bonus if you can run your business while cuddling an ill baby. Super bonus if you can run your business from the clinic waiting room. Expect to have a rebalancing of household work assignments as your husband's equal contribution will save your marriage. Factor in time for dates with your husband and you time, as these two things will keep you from being that mom we all read about in the newspaper whose undiagnosed PPD causes her to do terrible things...

You can definitely do it. It won't necessarily be fun in that first year or in those first 4 years if you have 2 kids, back to back. It is kind of like running a marathon - trying to balance being a good mom with being a good business woman. The personal accomplishment you feel if you can actually pull it off is amazing. And, if this sounds daunting, rest assured that if you enjoy working, you will enjoy working after you have your child, and being able to continue will help you be a better mother. Balancing a challenging career helps me value every second I spend with my kids and keeps me from going insane worrying about the dust collecting in the corners of our house.

Go for it! Good luck!



answers from Portland on

You are wise to ask this question now, N.. You will be busier and more overextended with your new baby than you can even imagine right now. And hormones, wonder, love, exhaustion, and possibly even post-partum depression will drastically rearrange your priorities.

This has been the experience of every new mom that I have ever known, even those in the best, most supportive families. My very ambitious, career-oriented daughter went through this 4 years ago, and is only now beginning to be able to re-prioritize her career. If she had stressed career earlier, she would have negatively affected the attention and care she's able to give her little boy and supportive husband.

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