Our CEO Becky shows us behind-the-scenes of balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood.
Two weeks ago, I went to visit Sandra, my oldest friend, in New York to meet her brand-new little dude Shane. Sandra had had her first baby at the end of January, coincidentally a day after my youngest was born. It was so amazing to see Sandra in her element as a new mom — she’s a natural and made it seem easy. But as seamless and easy as some people make it look, I know it isn’t. Every new mom goes through her own personal struggles and questions a lot about who they are, what kind of mom they want to be, and how to find a balance. This is especially true when you are not only raising a human being, but running a company as well, as CEOs and moms.
Sandra and I have a lot in common. Apart from growing up together, going to school together, going on the same girls’ weekend trip every Summer, being there for break-ups, marriages, births and even deaths, we are both entrepreneurs and love it! Sandra opened her own business, Clear Your Space East, at the beginning of 2016 and has been very successful in doing so. Her company helps individuals and businesses create systems and space plans that improve productivity and help take control of clutter. Her first year in business was great! Then came Shane and Sandra hit one of those “uh-oh” moments that most mothers hit: to work or not to work.
She had already been teetering on how much she wants to work versus how much time to spend with her little guy. Then she got back from her first meeting back at her BNI networking group, and nothing seemed to make sense. Sandra felt completely lost as to what direction to take with her business as a new mom. Should she work three days a week and take the other days with Shane? How could she grow her business and be a good mom? How much time felt right to spend with her little one? If she kept networking, what happens if the business started to rapidly grow and there wasn’t much time to be a Mom? After her husband Rob and I listened, we both advised her to take it step by step. This stage of life was all new and she didn’t need to have everything figured out. As Shane grows, things change, and so would her mindset. Babies grow into toddlers who grow into kids and their needs are constantly changing and so are ours.
I remember the same thing happening to me when I had my first son Raffie. Things were a little different — my father and Shop4ties partner Arnie came to my bedside ten hours after I had given birth to ask if I had checked my email and if there was any action on my end. Action? Of course I’d had a lot of action in the past 24 hours, I had just birthed my son!
My schedule evolved and changed over the years. First, I spent every Friday for two years with Rafael and made sure we had a lot of special time together. Then Arnie passed away and two days later my second son Agustin was born. This meant I had the largest promotion of my life to CEO while still sitting in my hospital chair with a 12 hour old baby. Days at home with the kids quickly turned into making sure our 35 year old company would survive that first year without its founder Arnie — but with the right support system in place, we did it. Now Raffie’s turning five, and Shop4ties is positioned better than ever for growth.
It isn’t always easy; I have internal fights in my head all the time, as Sandra and many other working mothers have. I wonder if I am doing the right thing and working full time, if I see my kids enough, spend enough quality time with them, and so many other existential questions that go through my head on a weekly basis. I do know that I love my kids more than anything in this world and I also love my job and that’s ok! I am raising two little boys and I want them to see the importance of powerful women in the workplace. I am trying my best to work hard and be the best mom I can be and that is all I can do. At the end of the day, it is about finding a balance. I continue to change and modify what that balance looks like, but I am proud of my boys and myself and am excited for what the future holds. I know that in time Sandra — and anyone out there struggling — will find momentary clarity on their balance. We all know that we can’t control life’s changes and shifts, but we can roll with the punches.