I’m officially coming back from maternity leave starting next week! I’ve been doing a lot of resting and relaxing these past three months but I haven’t been able to stop my brain and the ideas are flowing! I am pumped to get back with you all and share my discoveries over the past few months with you. Hope you don’t mind my little side-kick baby. She’s super cute and I am soaking up every minute! 🙂
FUN FACT: One of my membership sites, Corporate Rescue Plan, was created 4 years ago when my first daughter was this age, 3 months. Today we have over 500 members and hundreds of women have launched their business dreams because of it. I’m excited for you all to see what else I’m giving “birth” to over the next few months…all inspired by taking time off and 3 AM pumping sessions.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions on Instagram about coming back from maternity leave and work-life balance so I wanted to answer them for you in this blog post:
How long was your maternity leave?
12 weeks. I originally planned for only 6 weeks but then I read this blog post from Kate Northrup and realized I could make it a lot longer if I wanted to. Sometimes as entrepreneurs we forget that we are in charge of our schedules. A 6-week maternity leave was what I was planning because that’s the normal amount here in the US and what I would have had at my old company if I was still working. Kate’s post inspired me to create a maternity leave that was best for me and my family. I love how she recommended giving yourself more space than you think you’ll need because I was nowhere near ready to be back at work at 6 weeks.
How did you plan out a 3-month maternity leave and still keep your business running?
There were two things that I had to sort out for my leave, consistent content for my blog/podcast and consistent content for my membership sites. I wanted it to appear like I was never gone and was still providing value to my audience. This required a lot of planning ahead. Of course, I used my 90-day planner to create a 90-day plan that involved a lot of batching.
Podcast: For the podcast, I started scheduling a lot of interviews. Every Tuesday, I interviewed 4 women so that I could create enough content to take me through the end of November. My due date was August 4th so I didn’t want to have to stress about creating content for a good, long time after the baby arrived. My virtual assistant helped me pre-schedule all the podcasts so everything was set up before Sienna was born.
Membership site: I made a decision to automate a lot of the content and streamline it so that members started getting emails every week that were specific to the phases that they were at in their career. For example, if someone is just starting a business, I wanted them to get information on what type of business to start, rather than scaling your business with Facebook ads (which would immediately overwhelm them). So, in April, I spent a week writing a ton of emails for each phase of our membership site so that we could automate the emails and it wouldn’t require me to write an email each week during maternity leave. Ultimately, this was best for our members and it’s been on my to-do list for a long time. It was perfect that maternity leave planning forced me to sit down and make it happen.
How will you work with the new baby?
My personal preference is to work a lot in the mornings, evenings and naptimes rather than use childcare early on. My husband and I switch off watching the kids and my mother is also nearby so she can help out some too. My 4-year old daughter is in pre-school for a few hours three times per week so that is the biggest chunk of time I get to focus. I’ll be doing a lot of work with a baby napping on me and I will make it work. These times go by so quickly and my priority really is my kids right now.
I know my purpose is to be a mom and I also have a purpose to help other women. When my first daughter was 3 months I almost quit my business because I was failing at both. But, I realized that giving myself that space to write a blog post or answer a reader’s question made me happier and more fulfilled. The days I didn’t have that interaction of helping others, I felt lost and sad. So I know that balancing these two things that I was born to do is the right thing now. I also did a lot of work years ago setting up this life and work situation so that I could do both of these things easier and better right now. Never forget how much those 15-minute increments TODAY can add up in helping you achieve your dream life someday!
Honestly, my work-life is a little jumbled and sometimes stressful. I don’t have a ton of focus time which is what I love. It’s not easy and sometimes I complete things in 20-minute increments during the day. I have offers for childcare on my phone and I could easily take them tomorrow. I don’t really want to. I’m not ready. It’s my daughter’s last year before kindergarten and I want to spend afternoons with her. So I don’t have a good answer for this question because I don’t have a working schedule yet. I just keep my priorities front and center and am not afraid to say no right now to things that aren’t my priorities. I will sleep a little less than normal and make the most of my early mornings before my kids and husband wake up. I will figure it out and if I need help, I know I can always ask for it.
What are you working on now that you are back?
Lots of exciting stuff!! During leave, I’ve had so many ideas and projects I’ve been thinking about. One that we are seriously taking action on right when I return is launching our first physical product! We’ll be coming out with the physical version of our 90-day planner next month which is a dream come true. I’m also doing a re-brand of Classy Career Girl to make it fit a little more of where we are headed today (not three years ago). I also have a new year planning course that I want to launch before the end of the year. Can you tell taking time off is a really good thing for me?
THIS WEEK: I have something special I am doing this week to kick-off my return from maternity leave. I’m hosting a 5-day Instagram Planning Challenge. I’m doing this because Instagram is something I really struggle with myself and I have heard that so many others are struggling with it right now too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram and our Classy Career Girl Instagram is doing great. We just passed 30,000 followers! But, I really want to focus on growing my personal Instagram account, @annarunyan. That’s what I am going to focus on during our Instagram Planning Challenge with members of Corporate Rescue Plan. Doors have been closed for a while and will only open for 2 days. And, you can join us for the challenge for 7 days for only $7 here before Monday at 11:59 pm PST.
How is life with 2 little children? I want to have two but I am not sure how people handle it!
Honestly, it’s the best. My 4-year old is such a great big sister and the way she interacts and loves her sister makes me so happy every single day. There’s a lot more to pack when we leave the house and my days pass incredibly fast but it’s so fun. Motherhood is much easier the second time around because I know more about what to expect. I love being a mom and I love the freedom and flexibility I have as an entrepreneur. I think life could be very different if I made some different choices 8 years ago but because I started this blog and focused on growing a business I love, my days are pretty great.
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I am taking much better care of myself this time around and taking time to make sure I eat healthy and go to the gym. I didn’t do this last time and I believe that this has made a huge difference in my overall happiness and mental health as a second-time mom! I’ve been following the Fitness Carli Meal Plan and I hired a Personal Trainer at the gym as well as do Kayla Itsine’s BBG at home during naps on days that I can’t get to the gym. It’s a priority right now and I make the time even if that means 9 pm workouts (which really suck but I had to do once and hopefully never again).
How will you manage your career and work-life balance?
By saying no to pretty much everything and only focusing on my priorities. I am super strict on using my 90-day system I have created in my 90-day planner and reviewing my weekly and daily goals. Without my system, I’d be lost. I put important stuff on my calendar like going ice skating with my daughter or going on her class field trips. Balance is something I always am working towards. I have good days and bad days but each day I try again. I am very aware of my happiness and fulfillment level so if something is making me unhappy and stressed at home or at work, I figure out what it is and how I can improve it. If something is causing me stress, I will try to either delegate it to someone else or just get rid of it entirely. Our brand is focused on helping all women have career fulfillment. That means I have to set the example of being happy and fulfilled in the work I do too and in my personal life too since my husband and I run Classy Career Girl together.
How do you manage to get enough energy for all the things you have to do?
I always have energy when I am doing work that excites me. Right now, creating a physical planner that I have been dreaming about for two years is so exciting. Waking up to work on it isn’t hard. The times I don’t have energy are when I am doing work I don’t like to do. I try to do the things that need the most energy first thing in the morning. My days are filled with coffee and I often take naps. Working out and eating healthy has definitely helped me maintain my energy these last few months and do all the things that I have to do.
What do you do if you are in the middle of the important task and the kids need your attention?
Usually, I stop that task and help them. I don’t ever take phone calls or do Facebook Lives when they are around since I know I would lose my concentration if one of them needed my attention. If I am working on something that has a deadline, I will leave and go to a coffee shop and leave my kids with their dad or grandma. But, this doesn’t happen often. My #1 strength on the Strengthsfinder is “Focus” so this time is incredibly important for me. I find focus in the early mornings before my kids are awake most days. I’m also not taking any phone calls right now except very important ones and rarely doing Facebook Lives until I have a better handle on this working mom of two role I now play.
If you have any questions about motherhood or work-life balance, please leave them in the comments!
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