I recently read an article by Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media that really hit me in the gut. It is a brutally honest account of the triumphs and failures of her time as both a pregnant CEO of a media company, and as a new mother upon her return from maternity leave.
She brings up two points I think are really important for any woman who has ever wondered how she is going to balance home and work life:
- It was really, really hard, and there were many mistakes along the way that impacted more than just herself.
- It was totally worth it.
We live in a world that still unfairly penalizes women, and we have a long way to go before we gain true equality as a gender in a male dominated workforce. But that doesn't mean we don't have every capability for success. We can have it all, being momtrepreneurs who launch successful businesses without sacrificing our family in the process.
Ladies Who Are Absolutely Killing It (For Inspiration)
There is a distressingly low number of female CEO's of major corporations out there. But there are plenty of examples of strong, successful ladies who are absolutely killing it in the business world, while maintaining families.
Probably the most well known example is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. The 40-year-old Stanford University graduate has instated as the head of the failing company during a dark time in their history. She has been credited with turning it around, and is now personally worth $380 million, and her company $28 billion.
Though they still have a long way to go to return to their former glory, Mayer is soon going to be announcing a turnaround plan. With a userbase of more than a billion people, it seems likely to work, whatever it is.
During her time as a CEO, Mayer gave birth to a child. She and her husband are the ultimate power parenting couple.
Mary Barra is the CEO of General Motors. She is also one of the top ranking business leaders in the world, and has headed the company through a series of massive failures, such as a recall crisis and a bankruptcy. Not to mention the bailouts that controversially saved the auto industry from total destruction not too long ago.
If you could think of one word to describe Barra, it is probably "stalwart". She is a pillar of her industry, and has shown her competence again and again. She is also a mother twice over.
Now working on her third business venture following two great successes, Jill Salzman is a bit of a serial founder. She is also the powerhouse behind Founding Moms, a child friend meetup organization for female entrepreneurs with children.
She not only manages to slay it with her many creative industry ideas, but she is crafting a growing support network for other women who are doing the same. She doesn't let anyone's biases hold her back.
Founder of Packit, a new kind of lunch box for people who want to keep their food fresh, hers is an incredible success story. Following a messy divorce, she suddenly found herself a single mother with no job prospects. As often happens to women who choose to stay at home with their children, she had no work experience and was struggling.
That is why she created Packit, and it was an instant hit. She has since grown her company to $11 million in market worth, and it is continuing to expand every year.
After years of working behind the scenes for many companies such as Ebay, mother of three Anne Raimondi decided to launch a product of her own. And so One Jackson was born, a clothing company that commissions work from indie designers who specialize in kids threads.
She is the perfect example of someone who chose to branch out and do her own thing, rather than continue moving up the ladder in established companies that might have felt "safer".
Setting Out To Be A Momtrepreneur
While the above stories are inspiring, looking at the biggest names can be a little intimidating. You don't have to be an CEO of a huge corporation to be able to combine motherhood with entrepreneurship. Look at many women who find the way to earn online while staying at home with their kids: FirstSiteGuide compiled a huge list of such stories.
If you are reading this, it is likely you are debating doing it yourself. But you might be hesitant, because the world has constantly told you it isn't possible, that only superwoman with super mom powers manage it.
So How to Make it Work?
I am here to tell you it is perfectly within your reach. Don't listen to the misogynist naysayers who still think a woman's place is at home, or without kids. We have to continue to shatter these harmful perceptions, and nothing speaks louder than success.
Every woman has its own way and its own tricks she develops along the way. I personally became friends with laptops of different sizes I was carrying all over the place and I was able to work alongside my growing baby. I made multitasking work for me and I became the most productive remote co-founder out there. Here are the tools that helped me survive:
- Dropbox: I was working from everywhere (hospitals where my kid and myself were admitted due to a nasty stomach bug, playgrounds, trips, home, even restaurants!), so having an access to everything from anywhere was very essential. Dropbox is not the only option. At some point I embraced Macs which are able to sync everything (even sessions) between devices. Also, for bigger databases and teams, Google or Amazon Cloud options are preferred.
- Trello is a free project management software which I was using for keeping track of my to-do list, making notes and projecting for the future.
- Google Drive is great for collaboration. My team and I were using it to remotely co-work on clients' reports, to edit and approve content, etc.
- Cyfe is the business dashboard which you can use to connect to multiple services and manage everything in one place. You can keep an eye on customer support team (Zendesk app), website stats (Google Analytics), invoices and salaries (Freshbooks, Recurly and PayPal) and many more. You can sort different widgets into different dashboards (tabs): Cyfe is a massive time-saver and helps you keep sanity managing too many things (along with your baby).
You can do it if you are determined to! Yes, you'll have to sacrifice on some good things many moms get (You'll be more stressed and probably get much less sleep than a perfectly jobless mom) but if you feel it's something you want to do, go for it!
My own motivation wasn't exactly money. I dreaded doing nothing: I'd rather be very busy doing millions of things than see myself only caring about one little person, sitting at home and waiting for the day to go by to see my husband. It's just me!
What I loved about that article by Rhea Drysdale is that it was balanced, and it didn't sugar coat it or attempt to make her seem like some unstoppable force of nature. She is a normal woman with a normal life, who struggles and feels both the sting of her shortcomings, and the surge of her achievements. She is living proof of what is possible, even if it is a challenge.
Be a part of the fight, and become the latest momtrepreneur to show them all how wrong they were. You have the power within you, just as we all do.
By Jessy Troy, a founder of a small freelance writing business, blogger and editor currently contributing to Successful Blog. Image credit: naturalchildworld.com.