A year ago today I gave birth to Talulah Betty, and everything is better with her in the world. Initially thinking it wasn’t necessary, we decided we would celebrate Talulah’s 1st birthday – I also want to recognise My Body’s 1 Year Anniversary of transformation and healing. Last and by no means least, this marks the first year that I have been both the director of my own company and a mother, my experience of which I’d like to share with you now.
Thanks to my brilliant business partner Isabel (more on her later) I took 6 months mat leave, working out how to keep a small human alive, not sleeping, not caring, taking my placenta pills. We were surrounded by family, mine visiting from Australia- those with family abroad will understand the heartbreak of this. Thank god for Facetime.
The reality of getting back in the proverbial work saddle was not that straight forward. Initially, I was able take Talulah to Shoreditch House and work happily all day, as she lay mostly sleeping in the pram. Blessed with that aforementioned brilliantly sympathetic business partner of mine Isabel, we got shit done. Then at 7-8 months, things changed and juggling a small human and a laptop was quietly making my head explode.
It was crunch time – I needed professional help. Thankfully, my network of like-minded friends/parents meant I found the perfect childminder for Talulah – budget allowing for once a week, the plan is not yet full proof, but add grandparents, some kind friends and a flexible hubby into the mix and there are a couple of days covered. Phew! I had to bring Talulah along to many new business meetings, castings, and rehearsals. I am very happy to say that at no time was I made to feel bad for breastfeeding or having her with me; if anything it made for a better experience.
It’s a fine line though – balancing being a mum and running a business. The pressure to bring money in is real, especially when you and your partner both run your own businesses, have a mortgage, need to pay bills, need to pay for daycare in order to work to pay for daycare. At times it was overwhelming, but then my ninja skills took hold. I stepped back, remembered to breathe, and realised that planning had to include accepting change.
So, that brilliantly sympathetic business partner I mentioned? Isabel, Reuben Feels’ Chief of Play. She is also celebrating with her baby’s fifth week in the world. So now there are two babies at Reuben Feels, working mums forging our own way of running a business – and listen up – Reuben Feels has never been stronger. We were so proud that Reuben Feels was run by women, prouder still that it’s run by mothers, with a working dad joining us in October. We’re waving that flag and declaring that being a parent brings a whole new skill set that makes you better at your job. Women and men should put on their CV they’ve had a baby because it makes them better equipped in the workplace. High stakes? Keeping a newborn baby alive. Work ethic? This is 24hrs, 7 days a week people. Organisational skills? I have two full time jobs now.
I could go on and on about every detail, every moment, of the last year. The main takeaway is that every day with Talulah is magical and I am forever grateful she chose us as parents. And there is no better role model for play than an effervescent 1 year old.
To close, here are some learnings from a mother and a Feeler…
Work efficiently and effectively. Say no. Ask for help. Be flexible; it’s ok for plans to change. Do not apologise for being a parent. Listen. Listen to your little one. Listen to your instincts. Cake makes you happy. Exercise makes you happy. Put on makeup – or don’t put on makeup. Speak your truth. Mums rule. The future is female. I finally understand how my mum feels about her girls – the love is infinite. Enjoy the ride.