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How Being an Entrepreneur Helped Prepare Me for Motherhood

I’m almost two months into the parenting journey and I can’t help but notice the similarities between being a mom and running a business.

One of the most obvious comparisons I’ve picked up on is this: nothing can prepare you for this life.

No matter how many books you read, or how many articles you browse on the Internet…

No matter your best laid intentions and plans…

No matter all of the advice and anecdotes you hear from family and friends…

Like entrepreneurship, when it comes to parenting, the only way you’ll ever truly understand it is by living it.

After all, there is no practice run. You take the leap and, somehow, you figure out how to work those wings before you hit the ground.

And while this is true of my path to running my own business, it couldn’t be more relative to my journey as a new mom.

Here are three lessons I learned as an entrepreneur that I’ve applied to my parenting experience:

1. There is no “right” way; you just have to do what feels right for you.

This is just the beginning of my motherhood journey and already I’ve caught myself questioning my choices and worrying about the judgments of others…

(Should I really be taking my baby out in public this soon? Am I over sharing our experience online? Should I remind people to wash their hands before they hold her or can I trust them to come to that decision on their own?)

In business and in motherhood, it’s easy to get lost in the comparison trap. Social media makes that dark and winding tunnel more tempting than ever. (#MomGuilt anyone?) But what works for your colleague, or your neighbour, or your best friend, won’t necessarily work for you. You have to learn to navigate your own way and be confident in your decisions.

2. You can’t predict the future (so don’t bother trying).

When my daughter was just three days old, I was pumping milk from my body and feeding it to her using a syringe. I can still see her big, round eyes looking up at me – I felt like I was feeding a little bird. I remember how difficult those first weeks were – I was recovering from an emergency c-section and trying to find my way as a new mom. To say breastfeeding didn’t come easily for us would be an understatement. Not to mention, feeds would last 60 to 90 minutes, and when you’re nursing every three hours throughout the night, that doesn’t leave much time for sleeping.

Breastfeeding was always a long-term goal for me and I caught myself wondering if we would ever be able to pull this off. Still, I was determined to find a way. I quickly realized that if I tried to look too far into the future, I’d get lost in the self-doubt and negativity. By focusing on taking it one day at a time, one feed at a time, I noticed Kennedy getting bigger and stronger (along with my milk supply).

Now, eight weeks later, I can say with confidence that we’ve finally hit our stride. But if I think back to that first week, I never would have been able to predict we’d be where we are now. Just like in business, I had to trust my intuition, and let it lead the way.

3. Be patient and savour the moment for what it is right now.

If there’s one comment you hear constantly when you have a baby it’s this: “enjoy every moment!” People say it with the best intentions, of course. But these three simple words have a way of adding pressure to an already overwhelming experience.

We all know living in the moment is much easier said than done. As entrepreneurs and as parents, we’re always looking to the future – making plans, setting goals, envisioning what the next step looks like. But I’ve realized that slowing down to savour the moment—for both its challenges and victories—is a life-changing feat.

Soon, this time will pass, and we’ll be left looking back on how far we’ve come. Until then, I’m trying to appreciate the newborn stage for every experience it brings—from the sweet snuggles to the sleepless nights—because I know the days are fleeting. And while I’m rocking my baby to sleep at 3am, I stare at her sleepy eyes and find myself feeling so grateful for this moment and all of the trials and tribulations that led us here.

There is truly nowhere else I’d rather be.

Author:

Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.

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