After my last blog post, I was asked by a few women '...but what do you do for childcare?'
I find myself lucky to have the support system in place, that I do. I am surrounded by loving family and friends, and a husband who is continually at my back, catching me when I fall and pushing me forwards. With these people - I would have another path to walk down. I have a very near and dear friend, who is responsible for a lot of my childcare when I have prenatal appointments, or get called into a birth. She does this, every time, selflessly and lovingly. And did I mention - with 4 kids of her own & for free? It took me 28 years, to find a friend like her, and I hold her close in my heart. Without her, my business would not be flourishing as much as it is. Find your tribe, and love them hard. They will catch you when you have fallen, lift you when you do not think you can go on.
Another great path I am exploring, in terms of childcare and being an entrepreneur - is trading. Being able to find a doula, within your community, and work with each other to provide support - be in as a back up, swapping childcare, or idea bouncing. Having that steady hand to fall on, is so beneficial for all involved. Regardless if you are a solo doula, like I am, there are avenues to explore to find what suits your family best. The great thing about the birth and parenting biz, is that everyone has a different idea of what they want and need for their business. I myself have the flexibility to weave work into my life, not work my life into my work.
So how can you build yourself a solid support system?
Seek and you shall find
Don't be scared of networking and reaching our to your community. Find like minded mothers, doulas, and caregivers. This is essential to building that trust you will need, to leave your children with someone for when you need to go to work. And should you become back ups, for one another, having the same business ideals and philosophies will make it possible for you to have the potential for client sharing.
Make sure your partner has your back.
Do they support you? Do they want to see you succeed? Are they willing to make sacrifices, for you, so you will be as successful as you can be? Having these conversations, before and during your journey, is crucial. We all like to think that our spouse wants us to succeed, but with success comes a lot of work on both partners parts. Everyone will have to step up their game, in the home, to make the smooth running's of every day life work.
Ask your friends for support. Ask your parents in-laws for support. Don't be scared of what they will say - because the worst it can be is, no. But what if it is yes? We continuously worry and avoid conversations because the fear of the what if scares us. But being scared, could be hiding the answer you have had all along but not known.
What if you have no family close by?
Again, this is where seeking your community and friends is majorly beneficial. We are not all so lucky to have our families close by, as nice as it would be. It is not always possible. Reaching out and creating friendships, bonds, and networking in your town or city can create beautiful relationships. I have made some of best of friends, when I stepped out of my comfort zone and allowed myself to be open to new people.
What if you have to pay someone, for childcare?
When you start your business, accounting for childcare into your fees - whatever the amount may be - will help you cover the costs if ever the need should arise. Setting prices accordingly not only provides you the income you require to cover basic living expenses (child care included), but puts you on an equal playing field with those doulas around you. Doing this, keeps doulas valued on all levels. Accounting for childcare costs can mean a small amount accumulates over several clients so you have funds set aside for if and when your typical care is unavailable or, building in a standard amount as you would with any other expense with each contract is an option too so that you know your covered regardless. As you build your business and become better known in your area, both success and a steady income will become a given, making paying for your childcare expenses a breeze.
I have always said to myself - if not now, when? Will next week, month or year be better? Will I have more supports in place to better help me succeed? Maybe - but maybe I won't. Maybe jumping in with two feet will force me to face my fears, head on, and push my limits. When you set your standards above the bar, and reach them there is nothing quite as satisfying. I have pushed every limit I have given myself, thus far, and plan to continue. I truly believe that if we are not pushing ourselves harder than we believe we can, we won't get where we want to be. Be it 1, 2 or 40 years. Always strive for more than you think you can do; you will surprise yourself.
Kayla is a mom to three sons, wife, and doula. She works within the Shuswap/Okanagan Region providing mothers and their families with a whealth of knowledge and support in all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and beyond.