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Interview With Our Founders: Balancing Running a Business and Being New Moms

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Our co-founders Hannah and Ariel were always good at multitasking, staying up late, and waking up early, but things just got crazier… they’re both new moms! Eloise and Reyna came into the world in December, and it’s been a wild, exhausting, and fun ride ever since.

Hannah and Ariel shared some of their experience in the first few months of motherhood and running a business. 

What is the most difficult part of juggling new mom life and running a business? 

H: Well I'm currently writing this with one hand and holding a sleeping baby in the other arm...ha! 

Prioritizing has been hard but so important...there are so many things I WANT to or NEED to do all the time as a business owner and I never stop thinking about them, but I also want to ensure I'm prioritizing the baby and our new family dynamic as first time parents. The good news is, having a baby made me realize the importance of "me time" and "family time," and has forced me to take a step back and truly focus my energy on what is most important, even when it comes to deciding what to do each day for the business. I try to focus on work that drives the most impact.

The one thing that was probably the hardest was not really taking time off after giving birth. Ariel and I started working part time just days after giving birth (although fortunate enough to work remotely and have an amazing team to support us), but I do wish I had some more baby-only time in the first month. It is super frustrating that in a developed, resource rich country like ours, we don't have government-supported paid parental leave. But that's a whole other conversation...

A: Time management and figuring out when to work have been the biggest challenges! The days of 9-5 straight work are gone for me! Let's just put aside the fact that there aren't enough hours in the day to work on your business and stare at your baby lovingly (as much as I'd like to, at least!), I've had to figure out when I can get the most work done.

In the beginning, I would use my baby's 3 am feedings as time to catch up on email. Now, she's 4 months old and I'm using her long naps as my "get it done" time. I think giving yourself the time you want with your baby is crucial, so to me that means working whenever I'm not caring for her. Honestly, it's a balancing act, and perfecting is going to take some time I'm sure.

What is the most rewarding part of Motherhood?

H: Watching her discover the world is so beautiful. I love seeing her curiosity, and her pure joy at the simplest things. It really reminds me every day to focus on the little things. She has recently discovered her feet and is having an absolute BALL staring at them and wiggling her toes. So freaking cute.  

A: Literally everything. If there is a memory I could live in forever though, it would be the first time I made Ella laugh. But it's every moment you realize you are so important to this little person. She needs me for every single thing, and somehow, it's not annoying or infuriating. Somehow Motherhood is both thankless and the most fulfilling gig at the exact same time. Being a mom hit me like a ton of bricks and every moment is just so sweet and special. I'm 4 months in and savoring every moment because it truly is pure magic. 

How is Motherhood and a business owner similar?

H: I think both being a first time mom and an entrepreneur there are times when you realize there is NO manual for this and you figure it out along the way. Also in both roles you feel so personally responsible for people and their successes and growth. We have a small amazing team and we are always thinking about how we can do better for them, and same rings true for baby Rey. 

 A: Again, thankless and somehow super fulfilling! Being a mom is so hard, but the love you feel for this little person makes it all worth it. Watching Happy Box start as an idea, then turn into a website, and then turn into a business employing some incredible people--THAT feels good. I think every mom and founder alike would agree that the "low"s suck, but the "high"s are what make it all worth it–so savor them!

Has becoming a mom changed how you view running a business and working? 

H: I definitely feel my general priorities have shifted overall and baby is above all. I also think it woke me up to realize that it shouldn't be a "perk" to have a family-friendly culture, it should be the standard. It is so difficult having a newborn or infant and all parents deserve flexibility to be a parent - to take care of kids when they are sick, to leave early to make a recital, etc. I genuinely cannot imagine working late like I did in some of my previous corporate jobs and missing bedtime every night. Ariel and I take this seriously and as business owners will always insist our team to put family first above the work we do here.

A: Being a mom has shown me there IS life outside Happy Box! I've realized how important a flexible work environment is for us and our team.  It's crucial to us that our employees LOVE working at Happy Box, which means being empathetic and providing an environment that encourages working around your life schedule, not the other way around.

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