Leo's 1! Lessons From Being A Mum For The First Year

Jessica Nazarali

Being a mother is one of my proudest achievements. As I look back on the past year, I'm shocked at the ways I've grown. I'm definitely more organised, nicer, able to function on less sleep and ruthless about saying no to things that don't matter. Leo just had his first birthday and it's made me evaluate all of the things I've learned in the last year as a mum.

Among the lessons about patience, kindness and not taking myself too seriously, I have learned many business lessons as well - most that are applicable even if you never want kids!

Do away with the 8-hour workday

It's a myth that you need to be working a solid 8 hours a day (or more) to see results. Think about your last working day; were you really absolutely focused and productive from 9 - 5 pm? Probably not. According to various publications including Forbes, the 8-hour workday is a relic of the industrial revolution.

I've discovered that you can get a lot done in a short amount of time. What's important is that you structure your day in a way that works for you and that you focus on what matters. Committing only to the kind of work that lights me up has changed my life, and motherhood has helped me to muster up the courage to do just that.

Say no

These days, if it's not a hell yes then I simply say no. Combining laser focus on the things that are important to me with a workday structured in a way that meets my needs has transformed the quality of my work and my life.

Recently I was offered a last minute speaking spot at an event in Sydney because the original speaker was sick. The opportunity was in 3 hours time and I sat on the couch wondering what to do. On one hand, I didn't want to “miss out” on an opportunity. On the other hand, I knew what was required to rearrange my life to get there and it was no easy feat. I ended up quoting a speaker fee that I guessed would be out of her budget (and it was) but anything less wasn't worth the upheaval to my life on such short notice.

If I was getting paid at that rate, it was a yes. Doing it for free was a no.

You may feel bad when setting boundaries, increasing prices or only saying yes to super ideal clients BUT at the end of the day, if you have limited time to work on your business, you need to spend it on things that are going to make the biggest difference to your overall goal.

Mums in business have to ask for help

I've always been pretty good asking for help, but motherhood has made me even better at it.

It can be tempting to sacrifice your well-being and try to do everything so you save money here and there, but your well-being isn't worth the sacrifice. If you're sick, the whole family will suffer. Start asking for help. Even if it's just getting a cleaner for two hours a month. Or start handing some small business tasks over to a Virtual Assistant.

You will be surprised the moment you start to build, and pretty soon you will be outsourcing more and more. It may sound counter-intuitive but the more you try to DIY and do absolutely everything at home and in the business yourself, your business will stay smaller longer.

Build a strong team

To accomplish something great, more often than not you need a great team. Who you work with matters. If their energy is off it will affect everyone. Raising Leo requires me to dedicate time to him and because I'm not as available, my team needs to be on.

Motherhood has taught me the importance of a fantastic team and has also aided me in trusting my instincts. Instead of mulling it over for a long time and ultimately wasting time, I now understand that if someone doesn't seem like a fit they likely aren't.

There will be some days where things don't go as planned and you wish you didn't have any ambition or drive. (I've definitely had those days!) It can be challenging blending work and family life, but oftentimes the things you were stressing about usually aren't even on your radar a day later.

In this past year, what l am most grateful for is that I have built a business that allows me to work from home. I'm not sure how other full-time working moms manage to go to an office every day without the flexibility I'm fortunate to have.

Motherhood has made me even more passionate about helping other women to have this freedom and helping young women to choose a career that supports them and provides them with the flexibility they need for their families.