I’ve juggled motherhood with businesshood for five of the six years I’ve been in business, and tomorrow Archie turns 5! This is my letter to him (warning, it’s a novel):
Archie, you took forever to come into this world. We were ready, you weren’t.
15 days after your due date, when April had become May, you finally started making your move and 34 hours later, I held you for the first time. It was 10:30pm the day before Mother’s Day. You looked battered and bruised, but alert and calm, and you filled me with confidence that I could totally do this mummy-gig.
You gave me such an easy start. From the very beginning you showed me the ropes of this new life as a family of three. You fed well and slept well and went through the night from 7 months old.
Everyone said you seemed like such an old soul; maybe someone who had been here before.
And that wise way hasn’t left you.
But somehow, 5 years have gone by.
Parenting is a tough gig. It’s basically like doing an apprenticeship but without anyone to teach you the theory side. It’s practical from day one, and it’s all ‘on the job’ training.
And there’s no qualification to work towards.
For someone like me, with an academic background, that’s tough. I’ve spent thousands of dollars gaining a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA as ‘proof’ that I’m good at what I do, and in the professional world, that counts for something. The qualifications give me confidence that I do know what I’m doing.
But as a parent, it’s different.
I feel like I’m constantly in limbo, teetering between thinking I’ve totally nailed it one day, and the next day, thinking I’ve plummeted from top of the class to the absolute bottom.
This weekend epitomised how tough it is.
I used to be obsessed with making new years’ resolutions. I’d vow to eat healthier, exercise more, swear less. They were pretty arbitrary pledges and more often than not, I’d completely forgotten what they were once the second week of January hit, which means it was a pretty pointless endeavour.
Once I started in the working world, my new years’ resolutions became “goals” for the year. A fancier term, but essentially the same result. Again, they were crazy promises that were too whimsical, too unfocused, and quite frankly, too hard to keep.
Since then, through my own experiences, doing some study, reading books, and following successful business people around the world, I’ve learnt about the art of setting goals that inspire you, motivate you, and drive you to smash them out of the park.
Putting down roots in a new town is massive. If you’ve done it before, you’ll know what I mean. It’s such a crazy scary thing.
And starting a small business in a small town is crazy scary too. There are just so many unknowns that you really feel like you’re taking a gamble.
Before I made the move here to Otorohanga I spent a fair few sleepless nights wondering what I would be getting myself into.
I wondered if the district was somewhere you could start a business, and make it a success.
I wondered if it’d be a nice place to raise a family.
I wondered if I’d make friends.
I wondered if there was passion. Energy. A sense of community.
I wondered if it was a town living or dying.
A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to meet with other female business owners as part of a newly forming networking group in Hamilton.
Roadworks meant it took longer to get there than I had anticipated and I battled finding a park in the big smoke, but I made it.
And I had a nice time. The Tank salad was delicious. My boy Otis charmed everyone, and I scored extra brownie points because I happened to be wearing a dress made by Hayley Addison from Addison Clothing who was there too. No better way to show your support of small NZ business than by sporting their wears!
During the catch up, we went around the table and each of the 25 ladies introduced themselves and their business. They rattled off their achievements, future business goals and strategic plans, and all had an impressive resume – it was a group of self-starters who’d forged their way in a predominately male business world.
Almost as an after-thought, they mentioned the fact that they were a mum.
I started eight73 consulting in 2013. It was a month before I became a wife, and 15 months before I became a mum. For that first year, my business was my baby. It was pretty all-consuming, physically and mentally, and the responsibility I felt to keep the business alive was at times intense.
I was torn between spending time developing the business through approaching new potential clients, while also investing in nurturing the partnerships I’d already secured, and of course delivering to the work I had on. There were never enough hours in the day and I constantly felt like I was chasing my tail.
And then, in May 2014, just as my business was really starting to hit its straps with consistent work from strong partnerships I’d developed, and a steady pipeline of referrals, I had a baby, a real baby. A real life human being who’s sole survival depended on me. I had to think and act for Archie all day and all night, on top of running a business.
Our story really starts 6 years ago, in 2012. Back then I was living the life in Melbourne. I worked hard, played hard, and studied hard. That (fateful) year, I was also a bridesmaid at a uni friend’s wedding in Auckland. Read More »