SO many people ask us about our experience being new parents to twins while running a business at the same time. A parentrepeneur… is that a thing?
The answer… well, it depends on the day. I mean, I believe this is the answer for any working parent. However, here are some points we’d like to highlight:
You are the boss:
Keep in mind that you cannot get fired when you don’t show up to work for what seems like months, because your children are constantly sick in the winter. You need to create your schedule around your children’s schedule — legitimately.
You learn to get better at letting go and managing your team from afar:
You accept the things that you can no longer do — like work a 12 hour day at the Farmers’ Market even though you loved every minute of it. You learn to get what you can done in the run of four hours — because that is usually the longest stretch of working time you can secure.
You are way too busy to worry about all the responsibility on your shoulders:
We’re sorry to say, but you actually don’t have time to worry. You can only take things one day at a time, sometimes even one moment at a time. Sometimes, you change your day and your plans twenty times… and that’s okay. Go with the flow. Instead of pushing against the waves, let the waves carry you but take charge of this new direction you’re heading in.
Your sleep schedule might be difficult to maintain, but you need to keep on top of it:
You might just have to go to bed at 8pm with your kids because you have learned that you might only get four hours of sleep, usually from 8pm-12am. You get up at 5am when your kids sleep through the night and work 2 hours before they wake up because those are the ONLY moments in the run of a day when absolutely NO ONE wants a thing from you… with the exception of other parent entrepreneurs (I’m thinking of you, Jennifer Brodeur). These folks will actually respond to your emails at 5am because they are up with the sunrise working, as well.
Honestly, most days… I feel lucky. Lucky to be alive, to be living my life with my love — co-parenting and running our business together. I feel like he gets me all the time. Most days, we are just ships passing through the night. But, we understand our struggles and successes completely. We are in this together — 50/50.
We get that it takes more energy to parent than it does to work. That work can feel like a break or a place where we can accomplish something. We understand that when you are going to be home at a certain time… you arrive on or before that time. Not a minute after. We love our kids and our family more than we could have ever imagined.
Here are two stress management tools that I have implemented since having kids. They both add tremendous value to the process of maintaining my stress levels and inner calm.
Think about those times when you have WAY too much to get done and not enough time. A million things coming your way, and you are beyond sleep deprived. It can feel like there might be potential for a fight or flight response with every single interaction. My solution? The pause is something I do every day, in every single moment I feel this way. As a parent, you usually end up feeling like this at least once a day. Sometimes thirty times a day. It’s a daily practice. I also make sure to have a drink of water in these moments (this really helps your body). Then, I remind myself that whatever it is, it is NOT an emergency. And then I respond accordingly. I cannot tell you how much this has helped, and saved me in so many different ways.
A stress map:
Honestly, the struggle with constantly feeling overwhelmed and anxious is REAL. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s all in your head. In those moments when I truly feel like I’m drowning, I break out a tool from my days when I was an HR Trainer. It’s a simple exercise called stress mapping, and essentially, all you need to do is draw one horizontal line through the middle of the page, and another vertical line through the middle of that. You’ve got four separate spaces to chart your stress into the following four categories:
1. High-level stress (that is in my control)
2. High-level stress (that is out of my control)
3. Low-level stress (that is in my control)
4. Low-level stress (that is out of my control)
Just the process of writing down my stress on a piece of paper is therapeutic. You’re essentially stopping it from swirling around in your head. You can visually see it on that piece of paper right in front of you. From there, I start to work on strategies… sometimes that same day or it might even be the next day. The strategies allow me to manage the high levels of stress first, starting with those that are in my control to manage. Then, I strategize and come up with ideas on how to let go of that high level stress that is out of my control. Once you’ve come up with a way to confront the high-level stressors, move onto the low-level ones.
In health and happiness,