Working motherhood

Yes! This is my official pregnancy announcement.

As of the writing of this piece, I have a 7 month old and also am 7 weeks pregnant. If all goes as planned (that’s a big “if”), my two children will be born 14 months apart. Not quite Irish twins, but relatively close.

I admittedly am a bit conflicted about making this announcement, and perhaps that’s why I’ve decided to share my behind-the-scenes thinking. Part of me wonders if people will think I’m child crazy or if they’ll think I’m career-obsessed after reading this. But the truth is, I’m both, and happily so.

I also want to share because, being fairly new to motherhood myself, I’ve been shocked how little candid and relatable information is out there for working moms. It’s a journey that involves a lot of practical considerations, but it’s also an emotional and oftentimes conflicting one.

Having my daughter has been the most magical and life-changing experience I’ve ever had. Without doubt, the highest highs I’ve had in the last few months have all been tied to her. 

Yet, at the same time, I am also wired in a way that I would much rather spend 10 hours each day working instead of taking care of my daughter. For the record, and for anyone who thinks stay-at-home parents don’t “work,” I find the days that I spend taking care of my child far more exhausting than the days I do at my day job, which involves running a fully remote company, a team of eight, and a global membership community of several thousand women. 

And the reality is that so many parents out there feel similarly. Yet many of us, especially working mothers, feel guilty for this preference. What helped me personally with these bursts of guilt is realizing that most “working dads” don’t face this internal dilemma. (“Working dad” doesn’t even seem to be a term we ever hear — a subtle testament to this.) And so I’ve learned to embrace it. 

So much so that it’s influenced my decision to have my second child so soon after my first. 

Here’s why: Right now, I’ve structured my daily tasks and team in a way that allows me to both work and be a mother. In fact, parenthood has been the biggest work catalyst I’ve experienced so far. In anticipation of this life event, I had to scale myself, expand the team, and put systems in place that allow me to maximize the output of every hour of time I put into the company. So far, it’s been working out. And I have visibility into what’s on the horizon for my company, at least for the next few months. But I don’t know what my life will look like in a few years. So, why not take advantage of the situation now?

What’s more, in order to do the work I do, I need slightly more than full-time childcare. Having two children close in age, with similar childcare needs, hopefully simplifies things and makes it more likely that I can provide them with the best level of care. There will also be fewer years when I’ll have to shuttle one child to a school and one to a different location for preschool, and so forth, and when they get older, they may be able (and want!) to entertain each other. All of this will hopefully lead to efficiencies that can contribute to either bandwidth for building my company or slightly more sanity. 

I’m fully aware that trying to plan and optimize parenthood is optimistic at best, borderline crazy at worst, and that many of my assumptions will end up playing out vastly different. But I view this similarly to starting a company. Beginning with a thesis, especially for something that will so profoundly impact your life, is helpful for navigating an otherwise very chaotic process, even if you end up somewhere you didn’t exactly plan to be. 

Another added factor for my husband and I specifically was that we were told that we’d have a hard time conceiving. In hindsight, that appears to be far from the truth. But me being 35 years old, and not knowing what my chances to conceive would be without actually trying, definitely did play into not wanting to wait too long. (I also got lucky that my first pregnancy and labor went quite smoothly, not giving me reason for needing more time between children.) 

I know that my reality doesn’t apply to everyone: I work for myself, rather than for a corporation, I’m privileged enough to be able to afford hired childcare, and I’ve had an easier time getting pregnant than others. But I think it’s important to share different stories and show that the narrative of becoming a parent, finding fulfillment in your work (even when it gets really hard), and being more successful because of your children, not despite of them, is a possibility.

On the flip side, while I’m so grateful to be pregnant again, I also have to admit that I’m really scared. I don’t know with certainty if I’ll be able to continue to juggle it all. I’ve had fleeting moments during this pregnancy where I’ve questioned even wanting a second — having an infant and going through first trimester symptoms while working full-time is no joke. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this parenthood and founder journey is that the best things in life tend to be a challenge. They test us to the core, but they also gift us with the opportunity to grow and find whole new meaning with each chapter.  

And I wouldn’t want to miss that for anything in the world.

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