Going Full Time, Navigating Pregnancy & Business, and Hopes for 2018
Hello! Usually I do not share a lot of personal information here on my tiny corner of the internet, but I've been going through a lot of shifts in life and business lately and felt it was a good time to share some of what I've been going through in the off chance it could be helpful to you. So forgive this little turn into the personal, if you are only interested in tips & tricks or pretty pictures of calligraphy projects, I promise those will still be the majority of the content up here!
Here goes nothing...
As of a couple of days ago I am 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby. We are expecting a boy, Otto Riley, in early February of 2018. At the start of my pregnancy I was still working full time at the University of Michigan as an event planner (though I did not know I was pregnant when I put in my notice!) - and life was moving incredibly fast. Juggling three career paths that I loved was becoming incredibly challenging and really wearing on my body. By nature, like many of us, I am an achiever and value hard work and rising to the "top" in everything I take on. At the time I was trying to get M.B. Calligraphy a steadier flow of business, taking on clients with Ines & Marie Events, and as I mentioned working at U of M and doing a lot of traveling and planning tons of events of all kinds.
I truly do love all of these paths, and the decision to drop one was incredibly difficult. My job at the University was of course the most lucrative, provided excellent benefits, and surrounded me with amazing coworkers that motivated me to be better every single day. But, it also was the most taxing on my mind and body. I started to feel a lack of alignment with how I was operating from 8-5 with how I wanted to grow in my life and career, and it trickled in to other areas of my life. (P.S. I was fortunate enough to escape my first trimester with NO morning sickness or nausea, just the incessant need to be asleep. This wasn't great for productivity, but I'll take it over nausea any day.)
So, after evaluating my passions and how we could make it work, I decided to take the leap into full time business as a calligrapher and as a member of the Ines & Marie event planning team. I am fortunate enough to be able to hop onto my husband's insurance, but we still had to make major adjustments to our lives to make it work on a much smaller annual budget. Personally, I love using Mint.com for tracking my personal finances. It has really helped me set goals and make real progress towards them. I can see how much I am spending in each category and found out exactly how we could dial back to make sure we weren't dipping into our savings account in months where I don't bring in the salary I used to.
One of my biggest challenges over the last few months has been figuring out how to generate the kind of business that will yield the kind of household income that will cover our expenses, the arrival of a newborn, and help us save for our big goals (buying a house, replacing old cars someday!). This is something I am still navigating everyday, and am working hard towards achieving.
Being pregnant while navigating all of this newness has been a greater challenge than I anticipated. While I generally have been very lucky with my pregnancy, as I near closer to my due date literally everything is changing. Many sleepless nights, hip pain, the need for a daily nap, emotional highs and lows (random crying over food, anyone?!), and the general aches and pains from being MUCH larger than normal have made getting-all-the-things-done very difficult. And as an achiever, this has been incredibly stressful.
While I credit part of my relatively easy pregnancy with taking care of my mind and body and not taking on too much stress, as I work through this final phase I can't help but struggle to meet my own expectations. Prior to my third trimester, taking the time out to take a warm bath, listen to a podcast, take a quick nap or go to yoga class helped me maintain a general calm and happiness throughout my pregnancy that extended into my life and business. But now, as the due date looms, I have developed fear around taking a maternity leave and how it will affect my business, navigating running a business with a newborn, and making enough money to support our family.
As I move forward day by day, I remind myself that I cannot control how I am going to feel when I wake up each morning. Growing a tiny human is serious business and is not easy (but is an experience I am incredibly grateful for). But, I can control how I respond. I can take deep breathes, take small breaks throughout the day, and learn to enjoy the process. I think that a lot of achievers/highly motivated people like myself tend to be so outcome driven that we forget that the journey is just as important, and often times is more valuable in the end. So these are the little things I am taking with me each day as I try to forgive myself for not being exactly where I hoped to be in business at the end of 2017.
That being said, here are some of my hopes and dreams for 2018:
- I hope that becoming a mom invigorates me and gives me a revived sense of purpose that adds even more intention to my business.
- I hope that watching me work hard to create a life and career that I love inspires my son to do the same.
- I hope to teach more calligraphy classes and inspire more people to try new things and make more art!
- I WILL find meaningful ways to give back to my local community to make it a safe space for ALL people.
- I WILL show up at 100% for all of the couples and clients who trust me with their cherished projects. I can't wait to create new relationships with wonderful people!
- I WILL relinquish control. I am slowly learning that I cannot control everything around me, and that in a lot of areas of life I have to succumb to the journey!
If you're still here at the end of this long post, thank you. I appreciate you sticking with me. I'd love to hear from you either in the comments or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any words of encouragement or need any words of encouragement from me, I am always happy to provide :)