Becoming a first-time mom is an incredibly life-changing experience. Your world is turned upside down, and every aspect of your life is affected. As a CEO, the challenge of balancing motherhood and career can be even more daunting. In this blog, we will explore the challenges of being a first-time mom and a CEO, and how to overcome them.
The first few months of motherhood are a blur of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and feedings. As a CEO, you are used to being in control and having a plan, but with a new baby, you have to adapt to a new way of life. It can be overwhelming, and you may feel like you are not doing anything right. But remember, every new mom feels this way, and it is normal.
One of the biggest challenges of being a first-time mom and a CEO is finding a balance between work and home life. As a CEO, you are used to working long hours and being available 24/7. But as a mom, you need to prioritize your baby's needs and be present in their life. It can be tough to find the right balance, but it is essential to make it work.
Pre-baby, I was known for getting shit done. I took multitasking and follow-through to the extreme. In college, I worked three part-time jobs and juggled a full school schedule. One of my jobs was the overnight shift as a Master Control Operator for NBC and another was Event Staff for a Country Music Radio Station in Detroit.
Back then, my dream job was to follow Katie Couric's path. It wasn't until broadcasting school, which I did after my first Associate's degree, that I realized just how terrible I was in front of the camera. It turns out the reporter shouldn't have a cheerleader nod and smile when delivering bad news. My teacher suggested that behind the scenes was where I could excel.
Now, some days my greatest accomplishment is making sure my baby is happy, healthy, and fed. It’s been a process to try to overcome the feeling of not meeting the expectations I have for myself.
One way to find balance is to establish clear boundaries between work and home life. This doesn't always work - hence the photo when he was really young, but I try! Now that he's older and I take full advantage of childcare I've gotten better at focusing on work while at work, and being present when I'm home. Try to turn off your phone from external noise during family time, and give your full attention to your little one. It is essential to delegate tasks and responsibilities at work to free up more time for your family.
Another challenge of being a first-time mom and a CEO is dealing with the guilt of not being able to be in two places at once. You may feel like you are not doing enough at work or not spending enough time with your baby. This guilt can be overwhelming, but it is essential to remember that you are doing the best you can.
I fall victim to “mom guilt” as frequently as my toddler throws tantrums — on the regular! Tell me if these feel familiar to you - thoughts of self-doubt, anxiety and inadequacy in relation to parenting decisions/actions? Those of us with mom guilt always focus on getting things right or feel like we simply aren’t doing enough as parents to make sure our children have everything they need. It can be temporary or last for a long while.
One way to overcome this guilt is to prioritize and make a plan. Identify what is most important in both your work and home life and prioritize those things. Create a schedule that allows you to be present in your baby's life while still achieving your career goals. Remember, it is okay to ask for help, whether it is from family, friends, or hiring a nanny.
Other common examples include feeling like you don’t spend enough time with your children, feeling guilty about going to work, feeling like you don’t do enough for your children, feeling guilty for making mistakes in parenting or believing you don’t live up to society’s expectations of being a good mother or parent in general.
From the beginning, I felt like I was doing everything wrong as a new parent. It was hard because how are new parents supposed to know what to do? Being a first-time parent is a learn-on-the-job sort of thing.
Recently, I was speaking with a fellow mom about sending my child to childcare. I felt guilty about pawning him off and being with him all the time, but I have a full-time job and I have to show up in order to keep a roof over our heads.
My child is also teething right now. My guilt in this situation comes from wanting to take his pain away but not being able to. It always seems to be something. I constantly have to pause and remind myself to ‘be gentle’ (with myself). Ironically or maybe not, it’s the same message I tell my nearly 2-year-old as he’s chasing the cat with the frightful laugh that reminds me of The Joker from Batman.
Communication is key when it comes to balancing motherhood and being a CEO. It is important to communicate your needs and limitations with your colleagues. Let them know what your priorities are and what you need to be successful at work and at home. This open communication will help prevent misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.
All parents struggle and perception is not always reality. Heck, who am I kidding all HUMANS struggle with their own unique battles. Surface level some people’s lives may look perfect, but this is not always the case. Everyone wants to be able to do it all and do their best in their parenting pursuits and other endeavors, but that’s simply not always possible especially when you have so many different and important responsibilities requiring your attention.
I have always been a firm believer everyone is going through something. More now than ever, I try to take that lens of when someone frustrates me. I attempt to acknowledge they have stuff going on that is their highest priority. I hope people will give me that same compassion when I am distracted or not present.
Personally, I credit yoga and meditation as a reminder to be kinder to myself. They help me understand that I have to be the best version of myself to be the best for myself, my family, and my business. And, to be the best version of me I HAVE to make time for exercise, creative thinking, and my guilty pleasure, getting massages. Even though I own a global wellbeing company now, I only started practicing yoga in 2013 and it’s been life-changing for me.
Another challenge of being a first-time mom and a CEO is managing your time effectively. With so many demands on your time, it can be challenging to get everything done. I want to exercise and take care of my son in the mornings, but it never fails that he’s bored in a matter of minutes. It is important to prioritize your tasks and delegate where possible. Make a to-do list and tackle the most important tasks first.
Juggling being a CEO and first-time mom has not always been easy, but it has helped me with time management, made me stronger, taught me everything doesn’t have to be perfect, helped me listen to others, and allowed me to set boundaries.
I started FitPros in 2016, five years before becoming a momma. Like many entrepreneurs, I would work when I was inspired and whenever I wanted. Somedays I’d work for 18 hours straight. I simply don’t have the time to work whenever and some days, I’m lucky to get a few hours of work done. I have learned to be exceptionally productive in the short amount of time I have.
Technology can also be a valuable tool when it comes to managing your time. Use calendar apps to schedule appointments and meetings, and set reminders for important deadlines. Use productivity apps to help you stay focused and on track. FitPros offers our employees remote work and flexible hours, which can allow them to work around their children’s (or pets) schedules. I can’t imagine working productively any other way.
Finally, it is important to take care of yourself when balancing motherhood and being a CEO. It is easy to put your own needs last when you have a new baby and a demanding job, but self-care is essential for your well-being. Take breaks when you need them, and prioritize sleep and exercise. Take time to do the things you enjoy, whether it is reading a book or taking a nap - do you.
Whether or not your parenting style is conventional or what you expected it to be, doing the best you can in parenting is all you can and should be expected to do. Being a CEO and full-time mom is far from an easy feat, but having the right mindset and techniques to handle it allows me to do my best in both roles.
Lindsay Johnson, FitPros Founder & CEO
FitPros is a turn-key wellness provider empowering people to take charge of their personal health.
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