What I Learned Raising a Child While Building a Startup

When you’re a parent, sometimes you need to multitask to get work done.

Long before my daughter came along, I already had other babies that I raised — my businesses.

I’ve said before that building a business is a lot like raising a child. But what I’ve only realized after having my daughter is that raising a child and a business at once presents a whole new world of challenges. And if your spouse also works, it can be especially hard to find time to spend with each other or have a few moments alone.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from taking on dual parenting roles, but I would say to consider some of these methods I’ve developed since taking on the additional responsibilities. And, since you never want to favor one over the other, here’s what has helped me distribute my attention equally.

Establish Shared Roles and Responsibilities

For the house to function as a well-oiled machine, with a few squeaks here and there, it takes the work of a small army. However, in this case, my wife and I formed that army and are in complete agreement in terms of who is taking on what. We use a scheduling and task app to keep track of what we both agreed to do. It doesn’t work if you just tell each other and nod in agreement because five minutes later, you’ve already forgotten who was going to be handling errands and who was on top of the laundry. My head is in my business primarily so that app helps me remember what I promised to help with.

You can also try to switch off roles and responsibilities so neither of you feels weighed down. However, there may be some responsibilities you prefer to keep full-time. For example, I take on the cooking and she’s got the laundry covered.

It’s OK to Multitask, Sometimes

I’m typically against multitasking when it comes to work. However, I’ve learned the place multitasking does fit is when you have a child and a business. Here, you can, and actually have to,  do many things at once. I am that person who made bottles and went on stroller walks while on a conference call.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about multitasking in this sense. I find that because it’s two separate areas of my life, my focus remains laser sharp. However, when I try to do this in business, I find myself being less productive. It works differently depending on the person, so you may have to experiment to see which activities fit together before you find your sweet spot.

That Goes for Delegating Too

When I just had my business, it was easy to be somewhat of a control freak about it. I wanted to handle as much as I could myself to conserve resources and also didn’t think anyone would care about it as much as I did. However, my daughter helped me take the movie “Frozen” to heart, let it go, and let someone else take the wheel on certain projects.

Delegating is ideal when you find the right talent you can trust and who wants to feel like an owner in how they deliver on their projects. Since delegating more work to my expanding team, I’ve been able to actually find some personal and quality time to spend with the family. These are priceless moments I would not have enjoyed without delegating.

Work While Others Sleep

I keep even less traditional work hours than I ever did. This is because I can get an incredible amount of work done when the rest of the house is asleep. Plus, I don’t find myself feeling guilty working and not giving them any attention. This also leaves me time during the day and early evening where I can enjoy my family. It takes time to adjust your body clock, but it may help you to feel like you are remaining productive while being available for your child.

It is also an ideal strategy for anyone who finds themselves not being able to maintain a regimen because their company or life is throwing them too many unexpected curveballs. When my day has gone off track, I know that I can make up the time while others sleep, and that helps bring the stress level back down.

Don’t Fixate on Perfectionism

This doesn’t mean to throw quality to the wind. It just means you should stop fixating on something and changing it continuously. You can always put something out there and tweak it later. Not everything is going to be ideal or your day may not go as planned, but that’s OK.

For me, instead of striving for perfection, it has become more about enjoying what I am able to accomplish and watch the results of my efforts.

Live the Dream

Watching my daughter grow and develop reminds me to focus on the very miracle of life and those moments that we should stop and savor. When you are able to participate in one creative experience, it’s an amazing experience. However, raising a child and building a business reminds me that I’m fortunate enough to be involved in shaping more than one miracle. When stress hits, I remind myself to be thankful for these opportunities.

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