If you glanced at my resume you would probably wonder how on earth I ended up as a co-founder and Creative Director of Rosie Pope Maternity, a clothing line covering everything from dresses to diaper bags, and MomPrep, my prenatal and postpartum education and fitness studios. Oh, and also that minor, pesky new addition to my resume: reality TV star of Bravo’s “Pregnant In Heels”…something with which I am still coming to terms!
However, now that I am here it all makes sense — to me, anyway. Just where, physically, is ”here,” you may ask? It is sitting in a crowded, small office just off Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan, amidst a gazillion samples of maternity clothes, several pregnant mannequins, stacks of pregnancy books and an obscene number of baby CPR dolls — certainly not yet a mahogany-filled corner office!
So, as you can see, I am by no means at the end of this journey.
Thinking back to when it all began, I was clear I wanted a career in which I could be successful and that would also allow me the time to be an amazing mom, all the while knowing that time is not exactly something most successful people have a lot of. With this mission, I have landed myself in a business run by myself and my husband, with a brand created to support parents and moms-to-be with products, a strong community and comprehensive education. I get to make my own schedule, and while this often means I have to work way into the wee hours of the morning, it also means that I almost always get to make it home for bath and dinner time, and of course get up in the morning for a daily dose of homemade pancakes with my wee ones. While, let’s face it, I am more excited for the coffee than the pancakes at that point in the morning, it’s not about me — it’s about my kids, and that is the way I have always wanted my life to be.
So just how does one achieve this delicate entrepreneurial balance between a successful business and a happy home life? Let me first preface this by saying that I am still figuring this out. I am still on the journey to achieving both, but every day I feel as though I am that much closer.
Here are five tips that have stood me in good stead so far and I plan to beat them into the ground until they stop working for me!
1. Have an eternal optimist in your life: For most, the road is long to entrepreneurial success. And though you may believe in your talents and your ideas, you need someone else that does, too. They have to be unwavering in their support for those days that you just can’t figure out why you are doing what you are doing, and whether it will ever be successful.
2. Have an eternal realist in your life: You may not always choose to listen to this person, but when you are on the highs of success or the lows of failure you need someone who can take a step back and help you see what is working and what is not working. You have to be dynamic and flexible to be a successful entrepreneur, and sometimes you need someone you trust to remind you of this fact.
3. Admit when you make a mistake and change course: Every business person who is also a mom makes mistakes in both areas of life. The key is being able to admit when you have made one and quickly change course. I have hired the wrong people, I have said the wrong thing and I have been too tired to play one more round of trains on the floor, but I have also realized when these things are happening and I have whipped myself back into shape. Being successful in business and as a mom is all about being perceptive enough to know when something is not working, and having the presence of mind to change your behavior accordingly.
4. Remember why you are doing what you are doing: My heart breaks every morning when I have to leave my children (2 ½ and 12 week old boys), knowing I won’t return until the end of the day. But I have to remember why I am working the crazy hours that I do: I am trying to create a bright future for my family (and my family’s families) .
5. Study, study, study: Entrepreneurs are held to very high standards, and so are moms (as we should be). People know when you don’t know what you are doing. You are the captain of your ship, and your ship needs to know what it is doing. You can’t hide away in an office cubicle and hide from responsibility for the knowledge and know-how you are supposed to have. Never stop researching, learning and improving, as the competition is fierce.
Most importantly, remember: this is not supposed to be easy. I truly have days when I cry (albeit in the privacy of a bathroom) at the enormity of my responsibility.
But then I pull myself together and keep going, because I believe that what I am doing is worth it — that ultimately is what you have to believe, too. Life is far too short to spend time doing something you don’t, with all of your heart, fully feel is worth it.