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Once you become a mama, more often than not, there’s a visceral shift in figuring out to attain a work-life balance. For many, motherhood brings a change in priorities and spending time at home with a newborn can leave you wondering, “What’s next?”Randi Zinn was one of these mamas who felt the need to reimagine her career and connect with other mamas who wanted the same thing, which ultimately led her to start the networking community, Beyond Mom. From the start, Zinn has been a champion for women, encouraging them to cultivate their passions, discover a meaningful career, and forge new connections along the way. Her work through Beyond Mom also led to pen a new book, Going Beyond Mom: How to Activate Your Body, Mind and Business after Baby (out now) that highlights the importance of finding your strength and driving your passions post-baby. Below, she offers five steps to overcoming your fears when you start something new. Read on…

Career after baby from Randi Zinn

Truth: It’s complicated to have a beautiful babe in your arms and to feel utterly shocked that you’re not entirely fulfilled focusing on just the babe. That actually….you want more.

Feeling this truth can feel surprising and overwhelming. Especially when you thought it would be enough to be a mom.

Many of you reading this have navigated this paradox: facing the fact that being a mom, while the most important job in the world, isn’t always enough to make you happy.

And in the midst of the confusion that so many us feel, many women during this time birth not only a baby, but also an idea, something they want to do, give back to, share with the world. Somewhere in the midst of everything, you start to chew on an idea. It starts to haunt you, sometimes wake you up in the night (no that wasn’t the baby, that was your muse!). But how does one get an idea off the ground, carve out time to be productive, work on something new and possibly groundbreaking? It’s incredible how momentous it can feel to even open up to this idea during this critical time of motherhood.

First, let’s take a deep breath. It’s always good to start there.

I’ve recently published a book called Going Beyond Mom: How to Activate Your Body, Mind and Business after Baby, and I wrote it because I know how intense this period of contemplation can be. I interviewed some of the most powerful, dynamic and present women I know so that I can provide a guide for exactly how to connect with the woman born with the baby. So I got pretty up close and personal with the major challenges new moms experience as they step into the next phase of their lives, but I also gained some profound wisdom to re-center, re-enter, and activate you and your idea (trust me: the two must go together).

Here are a few of the most common and profound challenges I’ve discovered that frequently interrupt productivity for moms with big ideas, followed by tips and tools that can make incremental and massive impact.

1. Exhaustion

The issue: Every woman longs for a time when she got enough sleep and awoke refreshed and ready to conquer her dreams. Those days are long gone, and I’ve discovered personally that wallowing in the lack of sleep just makes me more tired and more frustrated. All productive moms must move past the mental limitations around tiredness and simultaneously nurture the tiredness when at all possible.

Tips for stepping forward:

Our mentality has a huge effect on our reality. We must rest our tired selves, even for 10 minutes, to rejuvenate just enough to continue marching on. A short power rest really does wonders. Do not berate yourself for utilizing some caffeine (most moms do) but attempt not to abuse it. You may suffer other physical setbacks from too much caffeine and acid. Move your body to release endorphins. Yoga, running, dancing, walking – I don’t care which one, as long as it makes you feel good, which will in turn, wake you up!

2. Time Limitations

The issue: between sleep schedules, homes that need tidying, school pick up, bills that need to be paid and the random moment to see friends and family, early motherhood can feel very full. How can we possibly make time to develop an idea? Let alone build something that has momentum? The overwhelming nature of making time to pay attention to something like this is enough to drop the whole thing.

Tips for stepping forward:

Similar to exhaustion, if we walk around telling ourselves that we have no time, we most certainly will not have time. Shifting our mindset will make a huge difference in how we step into working. So perhaps we tell ourselves: time might be tight, but I’m going to carve out windows of time for my idea development. I’ve learned that printing out a calendar of a week or a month at a time and carving out time bubbles is a huge help.

For instance: On Mondays and Wednesdays from 11am-12pm, I’m going to research the children’s clothing market. Carve it out, write it in, and highlight it. It’s so helpful to see it in front of you and to do it on repeat; it makes it a reality. As you begin to carve out time for your idea development, you may need some help with the babe or around the house. Consider what it means to invest in some support, whether a babysitter or a housekeeper. These early investments in your family and home dynamic begin to open up these small slivers of times that allow for you to begin your work.

3. Personal Disconnection

The issue: All too often, once some time passes, even a year or two after babe was born, women can feel disconnected from who they previously were, from the person who did lots of other cool things with her free time. So even if an idea floats into the brain space, if you’re feeling personally disconnected, it can be tough to motivate.

Tips for stepping forward:

Sounds like you need some you time. You need some culture, some friends, some great food, maybe a little physical fitness, some of anything that used to light you up from the inside out. This steers us back to the idea that we may need some support, either from someone we hire or from our partner, to carve out a little bit of time that we can tune back in. Trust me, it doesn’t take much to make an impact. You don’t need 10 hours a week to feel yourself waking up. I’d say something like 2-3 hours per week to be present to you and your passions. I’d also view this time as an investment not just in your happiness (hello, of major importance) but also as an investment in your future business. Most of the successful businesswomen I’ve spoken to absolutely make time for workouts, girl time, and travel for pleasure. It’s a life dynamic we’re creating.

4. Lack of Experience

The issue: What if you have an idea and you’ve never stepped foot in that particular industry? What if you see a major gap in a market but have never created a product or run a company? What if you’ve experienced a particular challenge and want to help others in your situation, but know nothing about starting a non-profit? It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and scared to dive in.

Tips for stepping forward:

These are the moments when we must tap into our innate strengths: our persistence, our curiosity, our intelligence, and our confidence. With these skills we can learn and succeed at anything. I’ve interviewed women who left finance and designed nursing clothes, women who were attorneys and started clothing swaps for kids and families. With focus, research and the right people around you, you can apply your skills and do anything – even if you’ve never done it before. Think of how our little ones feel – learning to read, count, put ideas together- the learning never stops, does it? Embrace the newness in the same way you want your children to.

5. Lack of Community

The issue: it can feel socially awkward to be in the “mom space” and to also feel like you have that budding idea that needs love and attention. Suddenly you’re not just thinking about baby food and PTA meetings. So do you fit in with the mommy groups or the working mom groups? In your head and heart, you’re truly somewhere in the middle. This is the space of the “mom entrepreneur,” and it can feel a little confusing until you find your footing.

Tips for stepping forward:

This is exactly why I formed Beyond Mom and why heymama launched its platform – because we knew that women who are moms and also entrepreneurs, whether at the early idea stage or years into their creation, need community around them. See, we are a unique kind of bunch. Usually we are highly productive, perfectionist people. We hold ourselves to extremely high standards but also can get paralyzed under crippling self-imposed pressure. How do we swim above it and utilize our gifts? Only our fellow mom entrepreneurs really get it – so we must band together. Not to mention, we often have the best resources to suggest to one another and make the best workout buddies!

Motherhood can take us outside of ourselves in an instant. In fact, the whole thing can feel like a blur. The key is to develop tools that take your back inside, back to the woman inside the mom, the woman who has some pretty amazing stuff to do. Believe in her wholeheartedly. She is capable of anything she sets her mind to.

 

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