Taking the startup plunge is not for the faint-hearted. And if you are a mom, you require gritty determination to build your dream company while bringing up your children.
If you live in Bangalore, 2 words are a part of your daily lexicon – traffic and startups. Everyone invariably knows either a startup founder or an employee. Do you have a Startup Mom in you?
What’s so special about being a Startup Mom, you ask? Conducting meetings with kids in our laps, finishing up tele-conferences while waiting outside school for pick-up, taking our kids along to startup conferences and more! All of this can be daunting or fun depending on how you look at it.
Here are 5 things that have helped me look at the fun side of a Startup Mom’s life and that can tell you if you’re startup material.
1. Good is good enough
Something’s got to give – Want to be with your kid during soccer practice in the evening? You have to give the fun parties and after work table tennis matches a miss. Have an important investor meeting? You have to give the PTA meeting at school a miss. Have relatives at home? You have to give taking them around town a miss. The journey is all about choices and knowing that you cannot be perfect in all the roles you play. Good is good enough!
2. Get people to pitch in
You cannot do it alone – Involve your spouse, parents, in-laws, maids, nannies, brothers, sisters, neighbours, school teachers, everyone! Build a support system. If you have to leave your children with maids or nannies, don’t settle on anyone less than the best. Knowing that your children are in safe hands will give you peace of mind that cannot be measured in monetary terms. Be transparent about your priorities with those in your support system.
3. Involve the kids
Take your children to office, make them meet everyone in the team, help them understand what happens at work. Treat your Startup like your kid and make the human one interact with the abstract one. When children have a sense of what his/her mom does at work, they become more appreciative of what you do. I get all my marketing ideas from my 4 year old. He knows everyone at work and everyone knows about his school and vacation schedule.
4. Rope in the team
Involve your team members – Make sure everyone in the team knows about your priorities with your children. Do not shy away from saying that you need to attend to your children. If you have to go for a school pick-up at 1:00 pm everyday, make sure your team knows not to schedule any meetings at that time. But also, use your Support system to take care of your responsibilities if you need to be with the team or attend a critical meeting.
5. Keep calm and stay focused
Cisco’s ex Chief Technology Officer Padma Warrior once said that there is nothing called a work-life balance. It is important to stop classifying things as work and life and start viewing them as a continuum where both work and life priorities co-exist. As a startup Mom with no fixed start and end times to the ‘work’ part of life, plan your day around the most effective and efficient time to get things done – both personal and professional. I do all my shopping around 11:00 am on a working day. I also work until midnight after my son sleeps.
There are many examples of women who have excelled in different facets of life as mothers. If bringing a change in the world around you through enterprise is your passion, go ahead and take the plunge. We are with you.