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.*

  • Kelly

    Great post. I had a different experience when I had my baby and all I wanted to do was spend every second I could with her while she was so young. The time was so precious to me. I found other creative outlets and still fuel myself that way, but I decided to give up my work for a few years. Now that my daughter just turned 2, I feel I am in enough of a rhythm that I could start back up again a little, but we are hoping to get pregnant again in the next few months….so I think I am just going to wait until I am done having kids. It’s a very personal decision, but I really enjoyed your perspective. It will be something I remember when I do decide to dive back in. In the mean time, I feel lucky that I have the option to stay home full time. Still using this time to find other ways to fuel my creativity and learn where I want to go next. Best wishes to you and your new expanded family and business!

  • http://Www.melodymiller.typepad.com Melody Miller

    Wow this really resonates with me. When I had my second 4 years ago, I was burning with desire to get back to work, but I didn’t approach the journey with nearly so much peace and tranquility as I see here. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to accomplish things at my intended pace; I was fretful about my new role as mother of 2. In the end, everything turned out fine! I’ve been extremely productive these last 4 years. I only wish I’d been a little more peaceful in that season, knowing all seasons eventually change. Thank you for this peaceful reminder.

  • http://noahscrew.blogspot.com/ ncrew

    Great post, I can so relate to a lot these points. Its been challenging having a 7mth. old and juggling all the things I love, family, crafting etc. I find that I’m a happier, less frustrated person when I go with the flow which by the way the baby not surprisingly dictates 🙂

  • http://www.ahappyadventure.com Hana

    Hi Allisa, as with Melody, your post has resonated with me. I have been a stay-at-home-mama for the last four years. With the birth of each of my children (I have 3) I have found myself fuelled with a surge of creative energy, and hungry to tackle all sorts of projects, although in the past I have often pushed it aside to focus on my main role of ‘mothering’.

    However, since the birth of my youngest daughter in December, I have felt a real need to create something that gives me an identity beyond that of mother. It is something that would have produced a lot of guilt in me earlier on in my path to mama-hood but now I feel happy and as though my daughters witnessing me following my passions will encourage them to do the same, it also allows an outlet in the chaos that is 3 children under 4!

    Your suggestions for holding on, letting go, adjusting and achieving a balance are much appreciated. Oh, and I love that Thoreau quote – so true!

  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/zoerooney/ Zoe Rooney

    Love reading these reflections, Allisa! I really felt the need to jump back in after my younger boy was born in February (and also HAD to jump back in after my maternity leave ended at 6 weeks). I had a lot of guilt at first, worrying about not bonding with him enough, etc., but as he’s gotten big and more interactive I’ve had most of those worries disappear. Turns out I’m not a newborn person 🙂

    Anyway, I totally agree about needing to find a new path that works, without expectations – I was really frustrated at first to not have the time like you described – especially that early morning time. But, it keeps getting easier and better!

  • http://www.bellapapergoods.com Meredith Collie

    Thanks for sharing how you are tackling the ultimate working mom juggle. I had my first child at the end of December and there are days/weeks that I have struggled to be productive as I learn how to be a mom.

    As Hana said, I feel the need to do something other than just be a mom and get rather frustrated when I’m not as productive with the time that I do have.

    I must learn not to be so hard on myself!

  • http://noisettemarketing.com Isa

    I love how honest you have been Allisa. It can seem like others have everything under control so it helps to see the feelings you went through and how you tackled them. It’s so different going from one child to two more so than I ever expected! Thank you for sharing some great tips on how to let go of the past and enjoy the new life and rhythms of home and business.

  • http://www.perideaudesigns.com Bridgett

    I just love the journey Allisa is taking and her admire her strength to share with all of us. She really is a remarkable woman and mother!

  • http://artfulrising.com Erika of Artful Rising

    My daughter will be attending a new school that requires us to change our entire schedule and way of doing things. She is only four and it is incredible to think how little ones can alter our lives. Allisa’s honesty reminds me that it is okay for me to be anxious, nervous, and excited about the changes and how they will impact my little ole biz.

  • http://chicagonow.com/parentingwithoutaparachute Elizabeth Rago

    This post was almost like an excerpt out of my personal diary. (Well, if I had time to have one…) It has been hard for me to let go of expectations and be flexible with my schedule being disrupted. Once I embraced the craziness of working from home with two small children, things seemed to get a little easier.

    I am 3 months pregnant and about to embrace the crazy again, so this post was a good reminder that I must go through the process of starting my life over, yet again! Remembering to breathe during overwhelming times has helped me immensely, so much that I have “Breathe” in big letters on my fridge! Great post!

  • http://www.beadladyangeli.blogspot.com Angeli

    Thank you for this insightful blog post.

    I am having a baby in a couple of months, so this topic is close to my heart.

  • http://www.aroundtheblockdesigns.blogspot.com liveacolorfullife

    Thank you SO much for featuring Allisa. I never get tired of her writing and always pick up such kernels of wisdom from her.

    P.S. Hi, Allisa!

  • http://www.allisajacobs.etsy.com Allisa

    Oh wow, I am so filled with joy from the responses and personal stories shared. It truly is a remarkable time- and the learning never ends!

  • http://www.andreeaayers.com andreea

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I actually had my third baby in June as well and I feel so similar to how you describe. Great to know that I am not alone in feeling this.

  • http://www.welovecraftytracey.com Tracey

    Enjoyed reading this and your honesty is refreshing! The holding on to celebrations (so important!) and letting go of the past (with birth comes grief) I especially enjoyed and found the same to be so true when I had my baies as well.

    Love the Thoreau quote as its so true! With every child returns fond memories of the same time with your older ‘babies’ a world full of new patterns and challenges and joys! Finding a way to be easy on ourselves as we navigate the path of parenthood is hard, but it looks like you are right on track 🙂

  • http://made-by-rae.com Rae

    Fabulous post! Thanks for putting this into words, it describes how I felt too!!

  • http://www.ahappywanderer.com heather

    i just came across your blog through natural kids… and what a wonderful, and beautiful post this is. with baby #2 arriving in just a few months, i am doing my best to be open to the life changes that may bring… and i’m sure there will be plenty that are unexpected. thank you for sharing 🙂

  • http://daffysdream.blogspot.com Daffy

    Wow! touching post! Well said, every women go through this process. I could also relate those points. thanks for sharing.

  • Frances Quigley

    I LOVE this site. I’m so glad I happened upon it. I am forwarding to my daughter-in-law. We are having another baby in the family soon and this is right up her alley in so many levels. Thank you so much for sharing.