*This post is part of a monthly series called CEO Mommy which will be guest written by a few amazing ladies in my personal and professional network. The first installment is from Heather K. Terry, the woman behind NibMor Chocolate, and the author of the recently released book, From Broadway to Wall Street: Cautionary Tales of an Unlikely Entrepreneur. Enjoy!
Nothing was more thrilling than becoming a mom. I wasn’t born with the mom gene (I actually never thought I’d get married, let alone have a child) but when I had my daughter, I was equally excited and terrified (which oftentimes is a sign that you are on the right path, by the way). I was overwhelmed, full of gratitude and had no idea what I was doing (kind of like when I started my first business, nibmor.com). Everyone spends so much time getting you prepared for the delivery of a baby, but not very much is spent on discussing the next 18+ years that follow.
You share your body with this baby ‘tenant’ for 10 months and then…guess what? You share your life! Like not just a little bit of it, but a whole lot. I was not prepared for this – at all. I was already in my 30’s when I had my daughter. I was set in my ways. I had MY way of doing things. I could watch TV whenever I wanted. I could go out at 10pm on any given night. When my business had a fire that needs to be put out, I could go extinguish it at any hour of any day- no one depended on me to BE there (except maybe my dog, but he had an amazingly strong bladder). My life was all mine but now it isn’t.
No one sympathized. I was one of the first of my group of friends to have a child. I was expected to have this baby and assume my usual responsibilities. I was back to work within the week of having her – from home, but still working (when you have a start-up it’s tough to lose a pair of hands when all hands are on deck all the time). I didn’t know how to take a shower and watch a baby. I would touch her every five minutes to make sure she was breathing while I was ordering inventory for my business and answering emails. You get the point. The whole thing was bananas.
I thought it would all get ‘easier’ but what I realized after a while was that it was just going to be different. I was going to have to accept the fact that society expects a whole lot more from us moms. We have to be the primary care giver to our children, we need to work, we need to take care of our home, pay our bills, still find time to work out, look perfect and be on top of everything. HA! This is the biggest joke, ladies. See the thing is, you do the best you can. You have good days and bad days. It’s life. Please, I beg you, stop trying to be perfect at everything. You will drive yourself mad.
With that said, I have some helpful tips and tricks for keeping it together. Some of these were created so you can stop driving yourself bonkers. My personal and professional plates are VERY FULL because I choose to do A LOT with my time. I am pretty “type-A” and I can’t sit still, so I have a kid and a business, I’m in school, and I think I’m a pretty good wife and friend (I’ll let them judge!). Also, I get help. I have zero shame in admitting that. You don’t have to do everything to still be amazing. However, if you choose to do a lot (because you want to), these suggestions should help you out:
1. Figure out what you really want and need in your life. This is key, ladies. Don’t do things you hate – it will spill over into everything you do. If you love yoga and need it, find a way to get it into your schedule. If you go to a spin class because you think you are supposed to and you despise it, stop and find something else. That spin class might keep your waste line trim, but you will just be in a bad mood, which doesn’t help anyone.
2. Get on a schedule. This is a really serious point. I wake up at 5am to practice yoga (because it makes me feel good), I shower, then I spend time with my daughter before I get on the train to the city at 7am. I have my day and I haul ass back home to be there for bedtime because it is important to me (there are days I have to stay late – life happens and so do meetings). I cook dinner and then I work on classwork and my biz for the rest of the night. I am lights out at 10pm. That is the way it goes in our house. Get on a schedule, get in the important things and get your sanity back. Schedules change everyone’s lives.
3. Schedule things to look forward to. Plan a trip or outing either with or without kids that everyone can look forward to so the monotonous day-to-day stuff is more bearable. I am a big fan of the spouse trip without kids. If you don’t have a spouse, go with your significant other or go with your sister or your mom, I don’t care just get away and do something for you, without kids! IT’S IMPORTANT!
4. Negotiate with your partner. My husband and I both need downtime and we know how important it is to our sanity. We take five minutes on a Friday and negotiate when we’ll each get a little alone time to do whatever we want over the weekend. Not because we don’t love each other or our kid, but because we do.
5. Get help. Get it in whatever way you can. I cannot stress how important this is. 30 years ago most of our parents had family, of some kind, living nearby to help out, but that is generally not the case today. You know the saying, “It takes a village?” They were referring to the village that supported you in your life – we don’t really have that anymore, so barter, pay someone, do a nanny share, get someone to help clean your house – ANYTHING! It will be the best money you ever spent!
Fellow mommies, you are not Superwoman. It is impossible to do it ALL on your own. Find what you need and what makes you happy and you’ll be doing just fine.
Heather K. Terry is the chocolatier behind NibMor Chocolate, which can be found in thousands of retail locations nationwide. Entrepreneur, yogi, food enthusiast, author and mom, Heather is a health aficionado and an advocate for eating real, simply prepared, organic foods (especially chocolate). Heather is also big on empowering women in business to live their lives while bringing home the (nitrate free) bacon and inspires thousands via her Instagram feed (@heatherkterry) by sharing her entrepreneurial experiences, yoga practice and food choices. She holds an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and studied chocolate making at The International Culinary Center (where she is now pursuing Pastry Arts). Heather’s first book, From Broadway to Wall Street: Cautionary Tales of an Unlikely Entrepreneur, hit bookshelves November 2015 (heatherkterry.com). Heather also feels kind of weird tooting her own horn and writing about herself in the third person.