It’s a dream to have a job that works around your life. I have such a job and a few people I know aspire towards this lifestyle but their approach, I now realize, is completely wrong.
Before I had a baby, I used to imagine that maternity leave allowed one to pursue personal interests other than those of rearing a child.
When people told me they planned on starting something during maternity leave I agreed that this was indeed an appropriate time. When friends with babies said they weren’t being able to get anything done I thought they just weren’t balancing things correctly – I, in this case, was wrong.
Unless you pay for childcare don’t expect to have any time to focus on a business when you are on maternity leave. In America where maternity leave is only two months it’s definitely not going to happen but in the UK and Europe where you are allowed up to a year off with your job still guaranteed at the end, an opportunity to plough more energy into a business exists.
My baby is overall an easy one. He sleeps well at night but during the day he requires a fair amount of playing with and attention. I think that’s fair. I wouldn’t feel right to ignore him or place him in front of a TV if he’s awake. I have to deal with my business things on my own time, not his. As a consequence I have a nanny for 3 to 4 hours three afternoons a week and during this time I do my blog writing, video editing, business accounts and catch up with the people that do graphics and other work for my business.
I did start off trying to work while he slept but the problem with that is that it led to inconsistent output: Sometimes my boy would sleep for ages and other times he wouldn’t do more than a 30 minute nap here and there. There was simply no way I could do any solid work unless I had someone caring for him so, in the end, that’s what my husband and I decided to do.
If you want to start a business and think that the best time to start is during maternity leave, I hate to tell you this but this is unlikely to happen unless you organise some support. Several of my friends have tried this and have all tragically failed; now that I too am a mum, I understand why.
So, what are your options for child care?
1. Nanny or nanny share
If you can afford it, pay for several fixed hours every week for childcare. A more affordable way to do this is to have a nanny share whereby one nanny looks after your child and someone else’s at the same time so that the cost is shared.
I am lucky to have someone on my street to nanny share with so this reduces the cost. Mind you, the cost is not exactly slashed in half by having a nanny-share because the hourly cost of taking care of two babies is higher than the cost of one-on-one care (but it’s not double).
I only need to work 20 hours a week (4 hours a day, Monday to Friday) but for now I only pay for 10 hours because I can make up for the rest during nights when my son (and husband are asleep).
2. Ask family for help
If you are lucky enough to have family nearby they may be willing or even dying to spend time with your baby. Work out an arrangement that works for everyone so that your family get some valuable time with your baby and you get to do some work.
3. Speak to your partner
Ask your partner how they can best pitch in to help you get work done. My husband adores our son and gets one-on-one time whilst I work. He loves doing bath time and does some play time.
Luckily, I don’t need to take that much time away from family time. Once I’m done with my work I let it be and spend time with the family.
4. Save for childcare
If you don’t have family nearby, a supportive partner or the funds for child care then it may be a good idea to save a lump sum for childcare before you have your baby.
If you have more suggestions please make a comment.
In summary, maternity leave may provide a chance to put more energy into a business but if you don’t plan for childcare, it won’t happen; so, plan for it!
I hope you have all the knowledge you need to build your 6-figure product business so that you don’t waste time making it up as you go along when you should just be running your business. If you need a blueprint for building a product business join The Money Spot Program. You not only get access to knowledge but to a network of individuals who can share ideas with you via our closed, members-only Facebook page but you can obviously ask me questions whenever you need.
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Heather on Wealth
I enjoy helping people think through their personal finances and blog about that here. Join my personal finance community at The Money Spot™.