When Motherhood and Entrepreneurship Collide (Disclaimer: It’s Not Always Pretty)

The road to entrepreneurship is paved with sweat. But what about motherhood—and what happens when the two worlds collide? We received incredible feedback from our community on what it takes to be a mom and an entrepreneur. While each entrepreneur provided unique insights or advice, there was one theme present in each and every response: It’s hard. And it’s chaotic.
Read on to see what these mompreneurs had to say.
Mom startup founders
It’s a crazy juggle
“Honestly, it’s a crazy juggle sometimes. Okay, a lot. I remember trying to close a partnership over Skype with a global hotel chain and my son who was home with a mild flu kept coming into my office every two minutes (I hit that mute button 50 times!) You have to laugh off moments like that and just keep going.
You also have to get incredibly efficient with your time, and do a lot of advanced planning to make sure the trains don’t go off the track at home (childcare, extracurricular activities, meals, etc.). But it makes you very productive when you are working, and kids force you to turn it off for little a bit every day, which is very hard as a founder when your startup is on your mind 24/7.”
– Nicole Smith, founder & CEO, Flytographer, an online marketplace that connects travelers with local photographers
It’s labor and time intensive.
“Being a mom is a lot like founding a new company, you need a strong work ethic, multitasking, creativity and the ability to manage people’s strengths and development. Both are very labor and time intensive, the difference being your children need you when they need you and when they are in the right space to talk. I’ve found that using operations management techniques to turn our company into a company that needs me—when I’m available—is  the key to work-life balance.”
– Leigh Dow, founder & CEO, com
There is no balance.
“Being an entrepreneur and a Mom definitely requires a little bit of crazy. These two passions – career and motherhood–are the most exhilarating, inspiring and insane. As a single Mom, when I left my cushy agency gig to start my own company I only knew one thing for certain—my company had to be successful because I refuse to let my son down. This inspires me every day, it pushes me through the hard moments, sleepless nights and missed school parties. And believe me—all of that happens on a regular basis. There is no doing it all. There is no balance. Doing it all, balance — those are unicorn concepts.
“My advice to other moms—by all means, take a leap and go for it. . . You can’t bake the cupcakes, clean the house, hire the team, manage the clients and even remotely give the illusion of rested and put together. Kids love that gross frosting on store bought cupcakes. When running late to school events, sneakers look amazing with pencil skirts. Cute glasses make tired look trendy. A solid team that you trust will become your second family. . . If motherhood alone takes a village, being a Mom and an entrepreneur takes a whole city.”
– Stacey Holifield, founder & CEO, Levitate
Support is critical.
“Creating a support community is also critical and I would encourage any mom entrepreneur starting up to cultivate a strong one before jumping in. Not living near family, I couldn’t have made it without my amazing husband and neighbors being all-in with me – both as my cheerleaders and helping with child care and the general parenting juggle.”
– Karen Bantuveris, founder & CEO, Signup.com
Life becomes a series of deliberate actions.
“Being a mother and founder means that I have had to be deliberate with the actions that I have chosen to take since the date I went into business. For example, I have deliberately chosen to only surround myself with likeminded people who elevate and support me in my endeavors.”
– Deborah Sawyerr, founder & CEO, Sawyerr’s House
You have choices.
This role is so much different than I ever could have imagined. The days I can get him from school or bring him to the office to do his homework makes my decision to be an entrepreneur so satisfying. It does mean late nights of working to make up for it, but I have the option which is not always the case with an employer.
– Joanna Killen, CEO, Momentum Canada
Get sleep.
“Get some sleep. I have spent too many countless nights not sleeping and most of the time it didn’t better my businesses successes in any measurable way but definitely impacted my health and my family.”
– Kara Carrero, Author and Podcaster
You can’t do it all.
“My startup went live about a month after I gave birth, so it’s been truly insane. The number one perspective that has changed for me since becoming a mom while launching a startup? There is no such thing as ‘doing it all’ in the traditional sense of how the phrase is casually tossed about; it’s an impossible standard to live up to. If doing it all means recruiting a village to help with childcare, sacrificing any and all leisure time (friends, hobbies, working out, cooking, going out) and being constantly sleep deprived, then I suppose from the outside in, it looks like I’m doing it all!”
– Molly Kang, founder & CEO, Floravere