Yesterday I received a very topical and timely email in my inbox from one of my favourite email newsletters, YoyoBelly. The email, which you can read here, was all about Employment Insurance in Canada for gals taking time off to have a baby and for those of you working in Canada and planning for a mat leave it is a great resource. You see, here in Canada we get a year’s paid maternity leave, that is of course unless your self employed (though there’s a happy exception for those of you fortunate enough to live in Quebec where the self-employed gal is eligible).
I’ve been thinking a lot. A lot. About balancing maternity leave, motherhood and entrepreneurship for the last several months as after nearly 3 years of trying, my partner and I are expecting a wee one in February of this year. I’ve not been making this particularly well known on ye olde internets up until now, though anyone who’s been paying close attention to the Smoking Lily blog would have picked up a clue. At first we were cautious due to a history of miscarriage and a slightly rocky start, then I was frankly too damn sick to be bothered to blog about it, but now I’m coming out of the fog and spending a lot of time thinking about how I’ll be juggling the world of business ownership and motherhood. I plan on sharing a lot of those thoughts, and the fantastic wisdom I’ve been gathering from other gals who’ve been down this road before, here over the coming months/years as things unfold.
If you’re a mom balancing self-employment or business ownership with a little person (or people) in tow, I’d love to know what the biggest challenges for you have been — from big picture to smaller details — and if you have wisdom to share I’m all ears. I’ll be reaching out to some of the mom/entrepreneur rockstars in my universe to gather wisdom and hopefully somewhere along the line I’ll have some answers and not just a head full of questions like I do now!
A final word. I have to admit that I’m also a little bit squeamish about my shifting identity from entrepreneur to mommy-entrepreneur. There’s an undercurrent in discourse that belittles/discounts the contributions of women in the business world already, and once we tack “mom” onto things it seems like that undercurrent gets a little louder. Wrestling with this identity shift is a funny place for me to be as a) I’ve wanted to be a mom for a very, very long time and in no way see it as detracting from my identity, b) the mom’s I know — whether they run their own business or not — are in no way a lesser group of women when it comes to bringing talent/strength and skills to the table. That said, I’m a bit nervous about being stuck in a new box, that I guess I don’t (yet anyway) see as my primary defining characteristic. It will all be a process I know, but I’d love to hear what some of you think on this topic as well.
Oh and one final thing. Now that I’m sharing my impending motherhood with the world, I have to point you all to a fabulous new site for mom’s Off Beat Mama brought to the internets by Ariel of Off Beat Bride fame, it’s a fabulous read for those of us not so comfy with traditional parenting roles.