Big news for working mom entrepreneurs!! For nearly a decade, Mindful Return has supported thousands of new parents as they navigate both the logistics and the emotions of returning to work after parental leave. Until now, however, we have not had a program specifically tailored to the experience of working mom business owners. That is about to change!
Today, I am thrilled to announce that Mindful Return has teamed up with Arianna Taboada, author of The Expecting Entrepreneur, to bring you a brand new, 4-week, cohort-based Mindful Return course: Mindful Return’s Maternity Leave Course for Entrepreneurs!
Arianna and I have known one another for years. And we have consistently admired one another’s passion for supporting new parents. She first visited this blog as a guest back in 2016, when she wrote the helpful piece, Dear Boss…Oh wait that’s me! Navigating maternity leave when you are self-employed.
Particularly with the rise in self-employment and portfolio approaches to career, Arianna’s work in helping new moms entrepreneurs through the maternity leave and return process is extremely critical. Below, please find my interview with Arianna about our new partnership.
Whether you call yourself founder, CEO, entrepreneur, mompreneur, business owner, or something else, we hope you’ll join us – and your fellow new mama entrepreneurs – for an upcoming session of this new and wonderful course!
Question from Mindful Return: Welcome (back!) to the Mindful Return blog, Arianna! We are thrilled to welcome you here as the newest Mindful Return course creator and coach. First, can you tell us a little bit about your own personal working parent story?
Arianna: I’m so thrilled to be back on the blog and collaborating on the new Mindful Return Maternity Leave Course for Entrepreneurs!
When I became a parent, I’d been running a small micro-business for 3 years. It was just myself, a part time assistant, and occasionally some contractors. So my maternity leave and return to work was a big experiment in how I wanted to structure my work moving forward.
The first year of parenthood, I experimented with different work schedules, childcare hours, and types of client work. It took me about 10 months to feel like I was in a rhythm that worked for my business and my family.
Question from Mindful Return: How did you get interested in supporting working mom entrepreneurs through their maternity leaves?
Arianna: I am a public health social worker and perinatal health researcher by training. I worked in clinical settings before going into private practice. When I started my business in 2013, I was focused on postpartum support in general. I quickly realized, however, that my favorite clients were entrepreneurs. And they were often coming to me due to the stressors they faced in navigating maternity leave.
So, in 2015 I experimented with some new services specifically around helping founders plan and implement parental leave strategies. I have been in this work ever since.
Question from Mindful Return: What are some of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face in taking a parental leave?
In the years I spent working 1:1 with founders as they navigated leave, some clear challenges emerged across business models and industry.
First, founders have often built their business from the ground up. Therefore, parental leave is often, quite simply, an operational challenge. Who will handle the major revenue-generating tasks a founder often has on their plate?
Second, small businesses rarely have formal parental leave policies in place. So founders are charged with figuring out how much time they can afford to take, literally, and figuratively. There is no road map for them to follow. Maternity leave can look quite different for every founder and business.
Third, navigating their new identity, alongside their role as founder! Many entrepreneurs pour so much of themselves into their company. They joke that it’s “like a first baby.” This often means that in the return to work, there are a lot of emotions that come up around how to integrate being a founder and a parent.
Question from Mindful Return: What inspired you to think that an online, group-based course would be helpful to new moms going through this entrepreneur parental leave experience?
Arianna: We both are adamant supporters of postpartum support networks. We know what a crucial role community plays in preventing isolation. This course is one way to build that community, especially during a time when it can feel really hard to make time and space for connection.
One of the most common things I hear from entrepreneurs is how much of a lifeline other entrepreneurs in a similar boat can be. Taking leave and returning to work as a founder can look quite different than it does for folks who have an employer. This course is a space to honor and navigate some of those nuances.
Question from Mindful Return: If someone decides to join the course, what can they expect? Will you be providing coaching to them throughout the experience?
Arianna: They can expect a course that is truly designed to flexibly fit into this stage of their life. The course contains both practical tools and inspiration they can use in the moment. I am also really excited for course participants to be able to engage with each other, providing support and camaraderie through each other’s big transitions!
I will be engaging daily in the group, responding to people’s questions, and celebrating their insights. You can think of it as mini-coaching moments. My primary role is to help facilitate the experience and make sure participants feel supported as they go through the course.
Question from Mindful Return: What is your #1 piece of advice to an entrepreneur who is planning her return to work from maternity leave?
Arianna: Approach the return with a spirit of curiosity and experimentation! The silver lining for entrepreneurs who don’t have a concrete maternity leave policy in place is that the return to work can be a time to experiment with new structures and schedule for yourself. How do you want to spend your time? What do you want to take back on your plate? What do you want to continue to delegate to others?
Question from Mindful Return: Where can someone go to sign up for the next session of the Mindful Return course you will be teaching for entrepreneur new moms?
You can find all the details about the course and enrollment info here. We welcome anyone who is preparing to go on leave, in the middle of leave, or has recently returned to work. We can’t wait to have you join us!
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave