One of the things I have really struggled with in starting this business has been balancing its demands with my family’s needs. I started working on the idea when my twins were 8 months old, but it took me a long time to work at the pace I had worked before I had children. To be very honest, it didn’t really happen till the twins turned two last November!
Sometimes I wonder whether other parents had a different experience, or whether I could have moved more quickly earlier on. But when I think back to when they were younger, I am not sure that I could have done it much differently.
I remember once when the twins were 14 months old, my son developed a high fever and could not sleep. As I held him in my arms, he began to move his limbs in a way that I had never seen before and he didn’t respond when I called his name. Some of you will probably recognize what was happening: he was having a febrile seizure, a benign but frightening response that some babies and young children have at the onset of a fever.
My son recovered quickly from the seizure, but I didn’t. For many nights afterwards, I slept with the twins’ monitor at top volume, waking up at every rustle. Predictably, his sister also developed a fever, and I was so anxious that I brought my laptop into their bedroom after they went to sleep and worked in the dark, listening to her breathe and feeling her forehead every half hour.
For weeks afterwards, every cough, runny nose, and fever for the twins resulted in greater anxiety and less productivity for me. On a more practical level, pediatrician appointments were always scheduled in the middle of the day, which meant fewer working hours. Multiple middle of the night wake-ups from stuffy noses resulted in sheer exhaustion.
In some ways, I have felt extremely fortunate to be able to start this business at this time. My husband’s steady paycheck meant that I could focus on it, instead of trying to do it only at night or on weekends. And being my own boss has allowed me to be flexible for my children when they needed me.
But I am always aware that every moment I spend on the business is time I am consciously spending away from the children. Especially when one of them is under the weather, that is just not an easy decision to make. When I do get to my desk on those days, I have sometimes found myself overwhelmed with guilt. I don’t think there are any easy solutions to assuage this guilt. But I do know I am happier when I am working, and that my twins are probably better off with a happy mother who is around less of the time, than an unhappy mother who is around for more of the time.