Balancing Motherhood and Entrepreneurship

I am pretty sure that the elusive work-life balance does not actually exist. Yet we are all still constantly striving to reach that goal. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, once said, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”  We all just need to make it work. As small business owners and moms, we need to make it work even more since the lines between work and life blur much more frequently. I hope by sharing some tips for balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship, you can get just a bit closer to that “balance” we hope to find.

It has been said that if you are a small business owner, you can only choose 3 at any given time. Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, Friends. As a mom, sleep and family are non-negotiable so that leaves me with one. Inevitably, it is work. However, if I completely neglect the other aspects of my life the guilt sets in. I am going to suggest some tips on how to hold it together the best way I have learned how.

Find Your Tribe

On the day my doctor confirmed I was pregnant and suggested my due date as April 17th my second feeling after pure elation was anxiousness. As a wedding planner, I had booked a wedding a year before and it was scheduled for April 22nd. How would I make this work? How would I break the news to the bride? Well, I found out it was much easier than I had thought because I had chosen the people I work with wisely. I have been lucky enough to work with clients that also value family. They also trust me to make sure everything runs smoothly even without my physical presence. That is how I knew that I found my tribe.

I have also surrounded myself with people on my team that care just as much about my small business as I do. I am lucky to have found these people and trust them to delegate those tasks that take me away from family, sleep, fitness or friends. That is invaluable to me and worth the effort I had spent to cultivate.

Prioritize yourself.

My days are jam-packed with entertaining a 13 month old, squeezing in work during naps and bedtime routines, preparing tiny meals and cleaning tiny dishes. The days go by in a blur. I recently decided to build in one night a week that was just for me. On Tuesday nights, after I have put my son to sleep I do something just for me. Before baby, I enjoyed spending time by myself. I like the quiet and time to reflect. I crave that time even more now as a self-proclaimed introvert. I look forward to those nights and it gets me through and re-energizes me to take on the next busy day.

Create a schedule.

As women, we are master multitaskers. However, I have felt my anxiety rise when I try to do too much at the same time. Just because I can doesn’t mean I should. I have learned that I am a much better businesswoman and mom when I create space for both. This will look differently for each individual of course. Some may be better at it than others. So, I suggest creating a schedule for you that works and stick to it. We crave schedules and it helps us get through the day with much more ease. Believe it or not, the best investment I made as a small business owner was a sleep-training consultant. I was able to put my son on a sleep schedule that allowed me to create a schedule with confidence. If you are struggling to get through the day, maybe see if there are places where you can create a bit more structure. I have a feeling it might just help.

It is ok to say no.

I am a people pleaser. It is one of my best and worst attributes. Yet in these days I am learning to say no and not feel guilty about it. It is hard to say no to every new inquiry or creative collaborations that comes your way because you are saying no to more money or a cool opportunity but at what cost? Determine as a family what you feel comfortable taking on as you navigate and “balance” these early years as a mom and an entrepreneur.

This is still an on-going learning process for me. I hope just reading some tips might help you with some perspective on being a mom and a creative entrepreneur. Every family situation is different and we are constantly comparing our situation. I advocate that if you can get to a place where you feel secure in how you are making it work then you, my friend, have found the secret to the balance.

Photo Credit: Christina Lilly Photography

Venue: Content & Co.

Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon

Rentals: Dovetail Vintage Rentals & Party Rental Ltd.

Wedding Weekend Itinerary

Wedding weekends have grown to be full-blown events from start to finish, and when all is said and done, it’s sure to be something you never forget. With all the thought and hard work that goes into pulling off such a weekend, you’ll want everything to go as smoothly as possible and the key to this is good planning. To help make things a bit easier, here are a few tips for planning and hosting a wedding weekend full of activities for your guests to enjoy.

Provide Hotel Accommodation Suggestions

Guests coming in from out of town are sure to wonder what hotels are the best option for them to stay. From a variety of price points to the proximity to the venue, no one can give them better advice about your area than you can. Beat them to the punch by sending out hotel accommodation suggestions with your Save the Dates, and contact those hotels for a discounted block of rooms in your name.  Having everyone in one place will allow the party to continue because of sheer convenience, and can help with transportation to and from all events throughout the weekend.

Share your favorite things to do

In addition to providing hotel information, help your guests enjoy the whole weekend exploring your city by creating a list of your favorite restaurants, bars, and local attractions. It is especially important for your guests traveling from out of town, as many could make a trip out of their little getaway. On both a printed itinerary in their welcome bags and an online wedding page, include surrounding cities and popular places to visit. Consider including a list of things to do in New York for those attendees that are coming from out of state and might use this opportunity to visit the Big Apple.

Rehearsal Dinner Planning

Rehearsal dinners are the perfect start to an exciting wedding weekend. Planning the rehearsal should be a simpler than planning the wedding itself, but certain decisions need to be made early on to ensure everything is a success. First, discuss who plans to throw the rehearsal.  Once that decision is made, consider keeping it casual to keep costs as low as possible.  Especially if you have large wedding parties and a lot of family coming in from out of town, the expenses for a rehearsal dinner can add up quickly. A more casual option could be a cocktail hour only, outdoors, or by featuring a buffet style meal. We love the idea of hosting a BBQ, or a Mexican fiesta. Keep seating open to encourage guests to mingle and converse with one another.

The After Party

Most couples do not want to end the night once the wedding band has played the last song.  Consider hosting an after party by bringing in late night snacks such as an ice cream or food truck or pizza for those hungry guests who have danced their heart out. Something to keep in mind is that a wedding day is long, especially for you and your wedding party, so provide transportation back to the hotels for those with weary feet who would prefer to climb in bed.

Post-wedding day brunch

The end of the wedding night doesn’t have to be the absolute end! Hold your tears, plan a brunch the morning after and enjoy everyone’s company one last time. Pressure will be a little lighter for the groom, bride, their parents and wedding party as well, with all speeches, photos and ceremonies behind them so do yourself a favor and keep the brunch casual. There are many options for hosting such an event. Choose between organizing the event at someone’s house, renting a space, or gathering right in the lobby of the hotel.

I hope these tips help ease some of the stress of planning a weekend, and always know you are not alone! No matter what route your wedding planning takes, the most important thing is that you are surrounded by the people that mean the most to you.

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Love & Light Photographs

Stationery & Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon

Florist: Wallflowers

Venue: Mantoloking Yacht Club

Beauty: Beauty on Location

Ice Cream Truck: Hoffman’s

Rentals: Dovetail Vintage Rentals

For more from this wedding, visit our feature on Martha Stewart Weddings here.