Meet Linda (35), founder and owner of Tiny Tribe Kids, and mom to Alexander (4) and Liam (1).
Linda started Tiny Tribe, an online store selling kids clothing and accessories, in 2016. Her experience of motherhood and entrepreneurship highlights the importance of not allowing “mom-guilt” to get the better of you.
What was your biggest fear around being a mom and an entrepreneur?
Time. How do I find enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done, and give my kids and husband enough attention and quality time.
Did you have a strategy in place for how you were going to deal with your business and a newborn in the first couple of months? Can you tell us more about that?
I didn't. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. I tend to worry myself silly, but still leave everything to run its course in the end. I truly believe things have a way of working out as they should. I am extremely lucky that I have an incredibly competent team around me. My sister, Wilmine, who does all my admin and so much more, really jumped in and took over the reins while I was not able to work. And Catherine, our in-house seamstress, is extremely self-sufficient, and takes initiative to get things done when I am not around. I was working until the night before my Caesarean, and I only took about a week off before I started working again. This is something I have learned about myself since starting my business – I have to work and stay busy. I struggle to sit still, I am at my happiest when I am working and getting things done.
How do you juggle everything?
When my second baby, Liam, was seven months old, I found an amazing nanny, Patience. She has been a life changer for me. To not have to worry whether he is getting enough attention and stimulation, and to have someone who puts my house back on its feet every morning is an amazing blessing. The thing I missed most when he was small was being able to focus on one thing (to be fully present when working, as well as when parenting). So being able to work, and focus completely on the task at hand is a gift I will never take for granted again. My working hours are from 9am to 3pm. After 3pm it is my kids’ time and I try to switch off and not check mails, messages etc. One gets overwhelmed so easily with always being available and online. So it is important to switch off and be fully present.
What's the biggest sacrifice you have had to make?
I honestly don't feel like I have had to make any sacrifices. I feel like I really have the best of both worlds. A fulfilling and successful career, while still being able to be there for my kids when they need me, without having to ask anyone if I can take some time off when needed. It's a win-win in my books.
Did you have support?
I would not be able to do what I do without my parents, who jump in at a moment’s notice whenever I need them. My sister, who just gets stuff done without me even having to say a word. My husband, who has supported me and my dream since the beginning. And of course my very competent staff members Catherine and Patience (this sounds a bit like an Oscars acceptance speech :-)).
What's the things about being a mom and an entrepreneur that nobody tells you about?
The juggling act. People do warn you but until you've experienced it for yourself, you don't truly grasp how much you need to divide your time and energy. Those little humans and their wellbeing will always be your number one priority, no matter how busy you are with work. So learning to get that balance is an ongoing process – I don't know if I will ever get it right! Oh, and getting up in the morning, after a night of little-to-no sleep, and getting on with your day can be quite a challenge. But I always tell myself, there are millions of moms doing it, and this too shall pass...
What has been the most unexpected part of this journey?
How much I love what I do! The saying ' do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life' really is true. I don't get Monday blues. I am so excited to get going, and get things done every week that it really does not feel like work to me.
What has been the most rewarding part of this journey?
Seeing my business grow and flourish has been an indescribable feeling.
Do you still make time for yourself? How do you do it?
It is really hard when the kiddies are still small. I breastfed both my kids until about seven months, which means you can't really go anywhere on your own, as they are so dependent on you, and only you. But since I stopped breastfeeding, I do try to fit in a little bit of me-time a few times a week, be it going for a facial or a pedicure, or attending pilates classes. But, that being said, having a full-time nanny, as well as two grannies close by does make it much easier. It takes a village…
How do you relax?
Reading a book, playing with the kids on the lawn, having a glass of wine with my husband, attending pilates classes twice a week.
What advice do you have for other women business owners thinking of having a baby?
It's tough, but it's possible. Do what you have to do to survive, and try not to let mom-guilt get the best of you, because it's a real thing! Also, get a support structure around you, and don't be afraid to outsource and ask for help. You can't do everything yourself anymore. Motherhood is the toughest, but most incredible and rewarding journey you'll ever embark on, so embrace it. The kids are small for such a short time. Somehow things just have a way of working out.
What's the most important thing you have learned about yourself in this process?
I struggled (and still do) with severe post-partum anxiety. It is not spoken about often, and if you haven't experienced it for yourself, it is impossible to explain to someone. It is an extremely hard thing to deal with and can be debilitating at times. But I truly believe it has made me a stronger and more empathetic person. It has made me realise that every person is doing the best they can, so never judge someone else's journey because you don't know what they are going through.