Holding On & Letting Go: Returning to Small Business After Baby

by Allisa Jacobs

small business tips, entrepreneurship parenting and motherhood, holding on and letting go, allisa jacobs
When my second little one arrived this June, I’ll admit, everything wasn’t all sunshine and lemonade. Sure, I was over the moon in love with our new baby, but the adjustment period caught me by surprise. Not only was it difficult with our three year-old to have his little world turned topsy turvy with a newborn, but it was hard for me from a business perspective as well.

Leading up to the birth I had prepared myself for feelings I thought I might experience; perhaps dreading a return to my studio or maybe even putting things on hold for a few years. What I didn’t expect was this extreme desire to jump right back in. Not because I wasn’t cherishing the time with my two boys; on the contrary, I simply felt an undeniable urge to contribute to our family. I discovered that my business actually feeds my mothering soul – it gives me an opportunity to thrive, earn income, and create something my boys can look back on and hopefully say, ‘wow, mom stayed home with us…and made it all work.’

This transition has been a lot of trial and error and even a bit of tears. I have, however, learned that returning to the studio involves a delicate scale of both holding on and letting go:
small business tips, entrepreneurship parenting and motherhood, holding on and letting go, allisa jacobs

Letting Go of the Expectations

While preparing for baby’s arrival, I had somehow created a long list of expectations for myself.  Actions I thought I would take, feelings I thought I would feel, accomplishments I thought I’d achieve.  What a disappointment when those things didn’t materialize. On good days I felt confused and on the worst of days I felt like a failure.  But that was only because I hadn’t lived up to some standard I had set before baby had even arrived.

Add in all the pressures of what other people say we should do and it’s a whole mess of burdensome expectations. I found that throwing all these out the window freed me up to chart a new path and determine what really works for me in this new situation.

small business tips, entrepreneurship parenting and motherhood, holding on and letting go, allisa jacobs
Holding onto the Celebrations

Prior to baby I reserved the celebratory festivities for big accomplishments in my shop. But with long sleepless nights and little just-for-me time, I realized that even though I’m still aiming for the stars, during this transition the little bits of business goodness are worthy of celebrating too.  The first hour back in the studio, the custom order just completed, the blog post just written.   The big things will still come, but holding on and appreciating the mini accomplishments fuels us during this time of change.

small business tips, entrepreneurship parenting and motherhood, holding on and letting go, allisa jacobs

Letting Go of the Past

Oh, the way we were…At first, I longed for the routine our family had created in the years before baby’s arrival. My early mornings. Coffee alone while I wrote, brainstormed, created. Time with my husband in the evenings to discuss businessy stuff.  But instead of grieving for how things used to be, I had to look at it as a chapter in our lives, a period during my business journey. I had to venture forward creating new routines and finding new ways to make it all happen.

 

small business tips, entrepreneurship parenting and motherhood, holding on and letting go, allisa jacobs
Hold onto the Spark

During this transition, it’s been essential for me to hold onto my creative spark.  I felt so strange not making anything; sewing has been both my work and my therapy for so long.  So although I was in no position to return to the sewing machine, I could still channel my creative energies. Whether that meant drawing sketches at midnight or browsing fabric inspiration online, I was still stoking that creative fire.

A quote from Henry Thoreau really resonated with me during this transition:

“Every child begins the world again….”

It’s so true on the grand scale of life, but it also holds so much meaning in our own lives. Adjusting to life and returning to our small businesses after the birth of a baby really is a new beginning; one to be embraced, enjoyed, and cherished.

*Editors note: Thank you Allisa for your honesty and wisdom-I can relate to so many of the points in your post and am grateful for your sharing your story. We are in the process (thanks Zoe for your help) of moving all our contributors to having a snazzy new bio at the end of their posts so soon you will be able to see all their links and posts instead of my bio hogging all the glory. In the meantime be sure to visit Allisa’s Etsy shopblog, Facebook and Twitter.*