As I get to grips with the idea of running my business while caring for my baby, I thought it might be helpful to record my journey with you! But I do have a massive disclaimer – if there’s one thing I’ve learnt since having a baby, it’s that all babies are different. So don’t compare your situation too much to mine. Some babies are more laid back, some require more care. Your day could look very different to mine! I really don't want anyone to come away from this post feeling not good enough.
Edited to Add: An Important Note to Myself & To You
I originally drafted this post when my baby was 10 weeks old, looking back at the first couple of months. I never published it at the time, because I wasn’t working much – although drafting blog posts like this was one way I kept sane during the hardest days when I was living off very little sleep!
Now baby Rowan is almost 8 months old and things have changed massively since I wrote this (we are now on a much more fixed schedule, for one)! It's actually quite funny for me to look back at what I wrote, remembering how I felt like those days would never end, but now they're far behind me. And I think I put too much pressure on myself back then.
I’ll write a post on my most recent experience soon. But for now it’s a good reminder to myself and to you that (a) everything can change, and change quickly and (b) cut yourself some slack in those early days. It’s hard, and everyone’s experience is different, so I really think the best thing we can do is be kind to ourselves during this time when you’re adapting to a new identity as a parent, and your baby is growing and changing every day too. (And I know that this still applies to me now!)
Now, onto the original post that I drafted when I was still in that newborn “fourth trimester” stage…
Notes About Our Situation
As I write this, my baby is just over 2 months old, so I am well aware that everything can change. Things change all the time with babies, and it’s taking me a long time to get to grips with that fact!
Some things to point out before you keep reading:
- No two days are really ever the same and we are not on a fixed schedule, this is a general overview of how things go.
- I am lucky to have my husband at home – he’s also self-employed. We’ve both chosen to work a lot less for these first few months. I know I am lucky to have this support!
- I am the only one doing the feedings right now as I’ve chosen to breastfeed, and he feeds around 7-8 times in any 24 hour period (including during the night still).
- I planned for 3 months maternity leave but I still have basic business tasks to do and also choose to work when I can as I feel like it’s a nice mental break.
- I need to start working more again when Rowan is 4 months old. My husband and I don’t yet have a plan for how we’re going to do this! I’ll definitely post more updates as we figure it out.
Business & Baby – My Experience from Birth to 6 Weeks
I did get small amounts of work done from birth to 6 weeks of age, but to be honest I don’t think you should plan for much during this time. I went through several weeks where I felt like I was cracking up due to sleep deprivation. That, combined with hormonal mood swings, meant I was a crying, tired mess a lot of the time. And thinking about my business and how I was going to keep it going just made everything worse. My husband told me I shouldn’t be worrying about it yet, as everything can change, and he was right.
So, if you can, I really recommend you take the first 6 weeks off as a minimum after having your baby. I’ve written more about planning for maternity leave from your business in a separate blog post. I’m really glad I did this.
Daily Routine at Around 6 Weeks
Like I said, no two days are the same, but a typical day can look like this.
7am – Woken up by Rowan. Feed and playtime.
8am – My husband takes Rowan in the sling so I can go for an extra nap to make up for lack of sleep the night before. I used to feel quite negative about this napping, feeling like I was “wasting time” during the day (because I was LITERALLY either caring for Rowan or napping myself). But recently I’ve come to realise that I am lucky to have the chance to have this nap, so I’ll take it! I do feel like I could survive without it, and I know I’ll have to if I have another baby, or when I have more work to do. But for now, I’m taking the opportunity.
10am-6pm – Wake up, shower if I have time, feed, hopefully eat some breakfast myself. Put Rowan in the baby carrier for his nap (the only way to get him to sleep longer than 20 minutes!). Do as much as I can while he’s napping (relaxing, work, stuff around the house), which is tricky as he’s very sensitive to our movements. Rinse and repeat this cycle.
6-7pm onwards – We are currently just playing it by ear every evening, as we can’t figure out what makes him sleep best at night. He often naps on and off on us as we spend some time together eating and watching TV shows, or he is very fussy and needs calming down.
10.30-11pm – Bedtime! I go to bed as soon as the baby does to maximise my sleep, as he will wake me up several times through the night. If I’m lucky he goes down, and goes down easily again after night feeds. If not, he wakes up several times or takes an hour to get to sleep, which is why I enjoy that morning nap!
From the schedule above, the total “me” time comes out to about 4 hours maximum. In reality, it’s never that much. I almost always get interrupted during naps as he doesn’t nap well and needs re-settling. Not to mention the fact that I need some time to do basic household chores and take care of myself! I could find more time in the mornings and evenings if I had to, but I don’t want to compromise on sleep right now, since I know how badly it affected my mental health when I wasn’t getting enough. And mentally I just can’t work every free second of the day – I need adult conversation so usually spend evenings with my husband or family.