My boyfriend and I developed a quarterly plan in January of 2011. In March, we’d get a dog; in July we’d start looking for a house; in September we’d get engaged; the following June we’d get married; in August I’d get pregnant. This is was all perfectly timed because Red Magnet Media, my startup social marketing agency, was only a year old. In the meantime, we would stay in his small apartment on a sketchy street in the Mission District of San Francisco, business as usual.
Well guess what happened? I found out I was pregnant in February. I was in shock; this was not the plan. Although I may appear carefree and spontaneous when it comes to big life decisions, in reality, I analyze and plot. Everything is calculated and optimized. How was I going to be a co-founder of a startup and have a baby? How would we be able to continue to grow our business if I took off for maternity leave? Would people think my “life had ended” and I was out of the game because I had a kid? Most importantly, could I be a great mother while being an entrepreneur? I was in shock for 72 hours and wasn’t quite sure what to do.
I spoke to my good friend Susan, a mother who had recently joined a startup. Susan shared that there’s never a great time to have a baby and not to worry, there are always ways to make things work. I realized I did want to be a mom; I just needed to reconcile that while this wasn’t the best timing nor the original plan, my life partner Dan and I would have time to come up with a new vision of how our personal life was going to evolve. My co-founder Athena and I would also have nine months to develop a new plan for our business.
Lilah Grace was born on November 27, 2011. She is a wonderful, joyful sweetheart who is curious about the world; thankfully, she is also an amazing sleeper. Dan is my 50/50 partner in helping take care of Lilah and our household. Red Magnet Media flourished while I was on maternity leave and in many ways, I think the team benefitted from me being out of the picture for a little while; they found new ways of working together and worked closer with the clients who I previously felt were too dependent on me. While on maternity leave, I closed a wonderful client who is still with us today.
Now that I have Lilah to go home to, I feel I am a better leader because I need to be laser-focused at work and clear about my priorities. Creating a successful company is paramount to me because I aim to be a strong role model for my daughter. I want her to see that you can do what you love and be a great mom at the same time.