You did it!!! You had your baby. Let’s assume you’ve changed more diapers than you can count, and you’re not quite sure what that stain on your shirt is. Yep, you’re totally in it. It is the wonderful world of parenting. And, whether you just had that sweet baby, or you’ve been in the game for years, chances are that as a business owner, you’ll face the following issue: child care! This is the follow-up to my intro of the Creative Procreative series.
Once the initial “OH MY GOSH, WE HAD A FREAKING BABY!!!” starts to wear off (okay, who am I kidding? I still feel like this!), you know it’s time to think about setting boundaries and finding balance for your business.
Personally, I was so unprepared for the toll that parenting would take on my business. I assumed I could work during naps. LOLOLOL to pre-kid Ravyn! You were so funny!! Really though, at the beginning, a 90 minute nap consisted of 30 minutes getting the baby to actually sleep, 20 minutes of using my breastpump, 15 minutes of email, and like 20 minutes of real work time. Surprise … baby girl didn’t get the memo that mama really needed to work. At 4 months, we hired a nanny. It was absolutely glorious. While paying so much for childcare was a bit of a blow at first, it was an expense we looked at as a cost of doing business. After Al turned a year old, we knew we were ready to explore different care options. While we loved our nanny, I was starting to wonder about interaction with other babes, and if another environment might be best. Plus, at this time, I was only getting about 15 hours to devote to work each week, and I was on the verge of a breakdown.
At 13 months, we transitioned Alba to a daycare … it’s a little school in our neighborhood, and it’s turned out to be such an amazing choice, investment, and opportunity. Again, the additional monthly cost made me want to cry, but it meant double the work time!!
It took about 2-3 months for me to find my groove, and now I just look back at pre-kid Ravyn, and pat her on the head. You sure were cute. Work during naps. HA!
I popped into my favorite group for creative entrepreneurs to ask other creative mamas and papas to weigh in on this topic. Here’s what they had to say:
Phyllis said: “Be open minded about your options! You will literally have no idea what the best option is for you until that baby is here and you’ve lived it. What works for me might not work for you but there are definitely more ways to integrate childcare into the equation than you think. And be open to the fact that it’s going to be an adjustment for you and for your child…so be kind to yourself about that.”
Katie said: “I love the flexibility of having a creative job and having 2 days a week of spending extra time playing with them and 3 full days of work. I’ve had to give up the idea that I could completely compartmentalize specific workdays and momdays, so everything sorta blends together….which some days is nice and some days is just overwhelming and exhausting (and makes client meeting scheduling incredibly difficult). I don’t think anyone has it exactly right, but I think with a little tweaking and constant reminders that I’m doing the best I can this is a pretty good fit for me.”
Renae said: “I wake up early every day (well, try to every day) to get in 2-3 hours of work before the girls get up and my store is open. I take the girls with me to the shop but try to leave tasks I can do with them there and customer service as the only thing to handle while they are with me. I usually get in another 1-2 hours of work at night after they are in bed and my hubby falls asleep too. It makes for long days but part of the reason I decided to open my own business was so I don’t have to have childcare so as of now I’m ok with working late and early.”
Abigail said: “I’ll be honest, my first two months back to working was really rough. I had overcommitted to assignments and quickly realized how much LESS actual work time i had. The days of working till 2 am and cranking out more at 6 am were over. I could only work so much because I had to be there for my baby. I didn’t miss any deadlines, but I sure stressed a lot. It’s much better to say no and have less stress. Anyway, after the first few months, I got more efficient, took on a manageable load and when naps started evening out, we really got rolling. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also, learn your limits and know how much you can take on. We don’t have a typical childcare situation, but I hope that is at least helpful!”
Ashlyn said: “Something I was worried about before putting him in is all of the scary things that could happen while he was in day care. I signed him up for daycare … and I am 100% glad that I did. He is one and a half now and he is sooo smart. He has gotten to experience so much.”
Oh, and logistically, here are a few things I considered when making our decision for child care:
- When choosing a nanny, we considered if I’d be able to actually distance myself from the action. We did have a dedicated space in our home where I worked, but it was also in the main living area. I changed gears, swallowed my pride, and setup shop in our basement. It meant I had my own space, away from the baby. I think that separation allowed both of us to thrive. And now, I actually really love my studio space!
- Did you know that child care (if your provider qualifies) is a tax write-off? When considering full time care for our little one, I was fa-reaking out over the cost. Because of the ability to setup an FSA account through my husband’s work, we were able to set aside the first $5,000 per year for school, and not be taxed on that money. Ask your CPA for more information!!
- Besides finding a provider that fit our needs, money was seriously the biggest piece. I had to break it all down … hours per month, cost per month, hours per week, determine if the hours/cost would allow me to add one more project per month, factor in additional time/additional profit, etc. It was a grid of problem solving, but it was doable. I realized I really needed to pay more to make more.
What about you?! What works for your family? Do you laugh at your pre-kid self too? I’d love to hear how you’ve found balance, or how you’re working to achieve it now.
Related: I cannot wait for Kindergarten. Public school is like my reward for paying for years of child care. Can I get an AMEN!?