Just when I quit my job to focus on my business, I found out I was pregnant.
By Yewande Fatowore
Motherhood has got to be one of the greatest gifts a woman could ever have; its surreal, intoxicating and beautiful in every single sense but so also is the joy that comes with doing what you love especially when its proceeds are well enough to cater to your needs and much more (the joy of motherhood supersedes the latter though).
Now here lies the struggle— BALANCE. These gifts are too valuable, so much so that not one should suffer.
This by no means is an easy task, coupled with the fact that the man of the house must be catered to because you were first his wife before you became a mother. I will talk about balance in a bit, but I think I must mention how important it is to make sure that you don’t neglect your husband for the sake of your baby. They are both important, and whether they like it or not, little babies need more attention than full grown men. Take time out when you can to spend with your spouse. Don’t make it seem like you and your baby are on one side, and he is on another. No, you should both be a team. When you give marriage its rightful place, you’ll realize that your spouse would be more understanding in helping you balance work and motherhood.
In the pursuit of gaining balance, I found these decisions to be most rewarding; COMMUNICATION, DELEGATION, HAVING A SUPPORT SYSTEM AND NOT TAKING ON MORE THAN I CAN HANDLE.
Personally, I’ve had a stressful but interesting experience from pregnancy to being a mother. I run a craft business with Bags and Shoes as the main products. I chose to leave my former employment to run my business fulltime and not long after, found out I was pregnant. At that point, I had already gained some new clients and I was not ready to let my pregnancy affect my performance.
Then came the first trimester drama and I became very ill. I was In and out of the hospital, spending about 4/5days on the sick bed most times.. It was depressing.. Here I was with new clients and some pending orders and this just had to happen. I knew there and then I had no choice but come out clean as I work alone. It scared me to the bones to have to relay my problems to clients, especially the new ones as I was unsure about their loyalty to the brand..But guess what? I found in most of them the kindest of spirits. It paid me big time to have opened up and explained why their orders were pending rather than make promises and then excuses all the time.
Of course, some tact had to be employed here; I didn’t just go divulging my pregnancy experience to everyone but I had to give a good reason as to why their orders might be delayed, most times even before taking on the job. With most of them knowing the situation of things, I still didn’t want to take advantage of their kindness just so I don’t lose them. So whenever I got around to completing their orders I made sure to give a little gift of appreciation. Believe me when I say these clients have remained most loyal.
I’d advise strongly as a mother or soon- to be mum to COMMUNICATE early enough if pressure or anything of sort is telling on your performance with your business so that you don’t leave your clients making guesses on you and concluding that you are just incompetent.
If you work with a team, then you have the chance to DELEGATE. You really don’t have to do everything yourself. As earlier mentioned, I work alone but at somepoint, I had to contract a few jobs to a fellow artisan just so I could beat deadlines and keep business running smoothly. At that point I just needed to keep my clients satisfied, whether or not I did the job myself.
So my baby arrived and I immediately got addicted to him. This was a new phase that became very overwhelming few hours after. At the same time, I was loving every bit of making bags and shoes and didn’t want that to fall apart. Thank God I made communication a crucial part of my dealings with my clients, so most of them knew I just had a baby and understood perfectly well why I had to put business on hold for a short while. I just didn’t leave any room for guesses as I wasn’t ready to lose them. When I decided to get back to work about a month after, I knew I had to come back with a BANG!!!
In no time, things where back in place but the stress of managing the house, taking care of a baby and running my business became over bearing. My only choice was to get a support system and I found that in my husband, parents and sister. There has been so many instances when my husband had to feed and rock our baby to sleep because I desperately needed to work over night; times when I had my mum sleepover with very short notice and leave my dad to take care of himself because I was under pressure and needed help with my baby; times when my sister had to come spend weekends and forfeit her plans just because I needed that extra hand. They’ve all being my biggest SUPPORT SYSTEM. It could be a nanny, caretaker, in-laws but be sure to get a support system, its very key so you don’t break down.
With all the pressure juggling mummy duties , wife duties and work duties I soon realised I had to make some adjustment to my delivery span.. I moved from 5days to 7-10days to process orders. a few of myclients had some problems with the change but believe me when I say, when your work speaks for you people will come along eventually. It was important for my total wellness to ensure I DO NOT TAKE ON MORE THAN I CAN HANDLE . It was important that I was sincere to myself.
In all, motherhood and entrepreneurship could be a major struggle but it’s one of the many things that validate our multi-tasking potentials as women. So embrace it with all joy and find your balance at your own pace.
Yewande Fatowore is a guest writer at lajuiren.com. She is the CEO of Stockhub Nigeria Ltd. You can check out her handmade, got-to-love shoes and bags at stockhubng.com or on instagram @stockhubng.