“What to expect when you’re expecting”... It was a book title that grabbed my attention immediately. As an avid-learner, a true Capricorn, an ambitious woman juggling three businesses (and an imminent house renovation), it’s the certainty about this new chapter of motherhood that I crave. And yet, there is so much about having a baby that I know I’ll never be prepared for, no matter how many books I read or Instagram mums I follow.
Entrepreneur Lauren Armes is preparing for a new chapter of motherhood.
For context, here are some numbers. I’m currently nine months pregnant (in fact, I’m 7 days past my so-called due date). It’s been five years since I left my corporate job. I now run three businesses. My husband joined me as a business partner two years ago. One year ago we got married – just before lockdown here in the UK… which is where we’ve been ever since.
Being in lockdown whilst pregnant with my first child was a bit of a gift. It gave me that extra time to read wildly about childbirth, stalk supermums on Instagram, take a hypnobirthing course, and decide on the kind of mother I want to be. And with all this headspace (naive as I might be to any parenthood veterans reading this) I’ve set a few hopeful intentions regarding the latter.
I plan to minimise the mum-guilt...
I’ve read a lot about the guilt-load associated with being a new mum who also has strong career ambition. The constant self-judgement and inner criticism that clouds an already emotionally-charged period of transition doesn’t sound all that helpful to me. So, is it inevitable? Or is it a choice? My intention is to attempt a gentler route - one that leverages the support of a village, like the good old days!
I’m under no illusion that enjoying this next chapter, especially those early precious moments, will require me to cool it a little on the work front (and plans are in motion for that), but I’ve been inspired too by the fellow businesswomen I follow who remind me that it’s ok to get help! Be that a fortnightly cleaner, a part-time nanny, healthy meals delivered, or simply looking more to my team to help take the pressure off on the business side of things. There’s a lifting of the lid on these superstar mums that appear to be juggling it all, and underneath I’m seeing just how willing they are to seek out support from those around them.
I want to continue being me...
There’s another narrative I’ve seen play out, that points to a sort of loss of identity; and it’s a storyline I’ll be trying my best to challenge. Is it possible to continue to travel, meet with friends, take weekend escapes and be a business owner with a little one in tow? Or does it just become easier to stay at home and put up the white picket fence? Depends who you talk to.
My husband and I have seen it play out both ways amongst our friendship group. We know which version we prefer. And yes, I know, it may well depend on the type of baby we have – Do they sleep? Do we sleep? Will we even care about the social affairs we now thrive on?
Self-care is on the agenda…
This is one I always learn from second-time mums who wish they’d prioritised this first time around - and that is the importance of self-care. It’s rooted in the old adage; “You can’t pour from an empty cup’. And I work in the wellness industry, so it’s ever-present in my mind that a healthy, happy mum, equals a healthy, happy baby. But what does that even look like?
I’m sure that the one-hour yoga classes and evening bubble baths are soon to be in the past, but it’ll be the momentary rituals I’ll be clinging to. A quiet cup of tea in the morning whilst hubby takes the first shift. Five minutes of breathwork to calm the soul whilst baby naps. The willingness to ask for help from family and friends who’ve offered to provide me with an afternoon off… Again, the way things used to be when we were more reliant on the tribe.
So yes, I’m naive and I’m still days from a whole new reality… which is when I’m sure I’ll be reaching out to amend this post. But for now, take this as a pregnant, ambitious entrepreneur’s wishlist… one that will, fingers crossed, come to pass.
Lauren has set some “hopeful intentions’ about the kind of mum she wants to be.
“I’m under no illusion that enjoying this next chapter, especially those early precious moments, will require me to cool it a little on the work front, but I’ve been inspired too by the fellow businesswomen I follow who remind me that it’s ok to get help.”