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running a business and pregnancy

(57 Posts)
June2009 Wed 04-Feb-09 09:40:13


My first baby is due in june and I'm trying to work out whether I will be able to work, how much and how long for.
Dh and I run a computer networks related business and I work from home and mainly do customer service/accounts/sales, dh is usually either here working on computers or out working "on site".

The plan was to do what I could and let my accountant do the rest, she was very helpful and worked 2 days a week doing credit control, paye, book keeping, vat returns and preparing end of year accounts, and would have been able to do more hours to help.

Unfotunately she has now quit so I have to do most of this work now as well until we find another accountant, hopefully soon enough that a good routine will be established by then.

I'm (was?) planning on breastfeeding.

I'd like to hear realistically how much work if at all I can take on after the birth. (assuming I can work full time until then.)

I've been told by my auntie-in-law that she certainly never stopped working even with 4 boys, in a tone of voice that insinuated that our generation needs to toughen up and that I should be ashamed of trying to get off work.

AliBean Wed 04-Feb-09 09:46:38

I can't help with any advice but I am in exactly the same boat (we sell eco homes) and our baby is due in September.

I have been struggling with my workload already due to pretty bad sickness and nausea and am also concerned about working after the baby arrives.

My DP says he will be around to help but I am worried that the baby will take up all my time and work will have to take a back seat...

Also can I ask when do Mumsnetter's think it will be realistic to plan to get back into the swing of things after the birth? I work from home too so no probs with baby being close to hand.

Is it totally unrealistic to type with one hand and cuddle baby with other?? hmm

clumsymum Wed 04-Feb-09 09:54:10

The main problem tbh is making sure you get enough rest time, especially at first. Baby will probably sleep a fair bit in the day you know, but you need to sleep then too, and the temptation will be to try to get some work done.

It's not impossible, but you are likely to find yourself doing bookkeeping at odd hours of the evening just to keep up.

As a side issue, whereabouts are you. I'm a freelance bookkeeper, 25 years experience ????

June2009 Wed 04-Feb-09 10:08:14

nice to know im not on my own alibean,

clumsymum, london n14. Our priority is to get our end of year accounts done now for end of june when we'll have to pay corporation tax. (something else to worry about saving for...).

Niecie Wed 04-Feb-09 10:18:47

I don't think you can tell really.

I was glued to the bed/sofa with my DS1 - he feed constantly for about 4 months. DS2 was a lot more settled and regular. He even slept occasionally.

Mind you, I didn't have to get DS1 in a routine so perhaps he could have been better. I doubt it though tbh. When they want to feed they want to feed and there isn't that much you can do about it.

I think evenings may be your best bet if you want to do some work but then it is a trade off with being the most tiring time of day. I did get my evenings back first - after about 2 months.

Not the same thing I know but I was studying an OU course when DS1 was little and I managed to keep on top of it by doing it in the evenings.

AliBean Wed 04-Feb-09 10:49:20

I guess it is impossible to guess how a baby will be...we can hope and pray for angels who sleep all the time and slip into a routine but I don't suppose we will get them!!

I am thinking that a book-keeper will be essential for me as that is the area of the business I enjoy the least and find it hard to knickle down to at the best of times! Am the queen of procrastination when the VAT is due!

Other than that we will have to see how it goes and adjust accordingly... Good luck June2009!

Gemzooks Wed 04-Feb-09 11:38:53

I think the best way to tell is to gauge your general energy levels as a person, how good are you at working when you're really tired and fed up, for example,and to assess how good you are at switching off emotions and getting on with something. I would imagine you're good at these things since you run your own business which already makes those types of demands.

I am quite dreamy and highly strung, and not specially high-energy. Therefore after giving birth I did go back to full time work quite soon (4 months) but found it very hard to get much done and concentrate, because all I cared about was the baby's welfare, and there were so many hormones swilling around.

Before 4 months I just couldn't have done anything, and I had full family support, even meals cooked etc. My son was a good baby, breastfed, with a good routine and a good sleeper, yet I still found it impossible to get anything done. However, as I said I am not very driven.

I would say in the first 2 months you will not be able to do more than about 2-3 hours work a day spread here and there. of course it makes it easier being at home, you can email while feeding etc, get some good systems set up. Say you feed for 30 mins 6 times in the day, you could use those times for work. But the sleep deprivation is hard. From 4-5 months when they sleep a bit longer (6 hours at a time) it is all manageable and you could return to a normal schedule if you have childcare.

good luck!

June2009 Wed 04-Feb-09 12:11:23

Yeah that's what I thought too, just see how it goes.
I think I'm going to have a long and detailed conversation with the new accountant to see the extend of what they can do within our budget.

I've usually got high energy levels, push myself too much and then get ill and depressed/stressed.

Evenings are an option, I've done it before, albeit not while pregnant or with a baby. When we're on holiday if I spend half an hour or an hour on emails catching up I can usually get by on a "skeleton service" (with the accountant backing me up and faxing/posting/chasing/etc for me.

If the new accountant can confirm what maternity pay I can get (the old accountant said I could claim it and it would be refunded by the gvt) then that'll make the budget a bit bigger to take someone on or increase what the new accountant will do.

I really envy people who can just stop working and focus on bringing up their little one 100%.

wontbepreggersagain Wed 04-Feb-09 12:18:53

it can be done- at least if you work from home you have privacy- bubs in sling feeding with norks easily accessable.

I went back to work straight away but spent a lot of my time hiding in the office with the girls (retail) But it does get easier and a routine soon emerges!

Good luck!

mrsfossil Wed 04-Feb-09 12:32:13

Have you looked into maternity allowance, that would give you some money so you could take some time off. I worked out that ma will be about £4500 for me so i can now take time off and enjoy my time with the baby.

June2009 Wed 04-Feb-09 12:35:42

thanks wontbepreggersagain that makes me feel a little bit more confident at least

re: your nickname, it's funny how b4 being pg there was no doubt in my mind that we'd have 3 children.
And now I'm thinking, let's get through with this one first, we'll see about the others later!!.

wontbepreggersagain Wed 04-Feb-09 12:55:31

June- these last were no's 4 and 5 grin

It gets a lot easier as well once you have some sort of routine going on.

Check out Keeping in Touch days as well with MA- that was something i didn't know about!

thelollipoplady Wed 04-Feb-09 13:55:18

Congrats June2009! There's some really good advice on here - I'm a freelance writer, and before I had my first, thought - how hard can it be? But those first few weeks full of pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep can be pretty draining. Also, if you bf remember that can be draining (literally) too.

I imagined typing with bubba cuddled up to me - reality wasn't quite like that.... But it can be done - all babies are different, but they do sleep a lot when they're little. Now - 2DDs and pregnant, I do most of my writing in the evening.

My advice - don't overestimate what you think you can do. Better to be pleasantly surprised by your energy levels, then tired and ill.

Oh and cleaners are a wonderful thing...

Nekabu Wed 04-Feb-09 18:10:20

I've carried on working as normal and am going to invest in a sling so I can sort of type around it whilst it's munching! I won't be able to work such long hours (I usually work about 9 hours a day) but I reckon I should be OK for a reasonable amount, probably with a fair few interruptions!

Nat80 Thu 05-Feb-09 14:39:08

It seems everyone in this link works from home which sounds much easier!

My husband and I own and run a letting agency 1/2 hour away from where we live, managing 200 properties and 4 staff members.

Our office is a bit of a tardis, and I was thinking of bringing the baby (due 28th Aug 09) into work... don't know whether that'll be practical?! I could work from home but it would have to be during office hours due to the nature of the business.

Am I being completely off my head thinking that I can continue working (either from the office or from home) when the baby's born? I've currently booked myself 2 weeks off leading up to the due date, and 4 weeks after... (??)

wontbepreggersagain Thu 05-Feb-09 15:10:40

nat- i don't work from home! i take twins into a retail shop everyday.

The key to it is planning- we have a pram purely for at work, travel cots, playpens highchairs and toys. We run a nappy laundry service from the premises so nappies aren't a problem.

In fact i wonder why i have such a large changing bag because i don't carry anything backwards and forwards really grin

invest in a good sling- top tip!!!

Nat80 Thu 05-Feb-09 15:58:28

Well that sounds like a plan! Is the room sound-proofed or is there a magic way of ensuring babies don't cry and scare off the customers? (and neighbouring offices who can hear through paper-thin walls!) hmm

lilimama Fri 06-Feb-09 07:26:29

Pah! Reckon your auntie suffers from the same old Victorian mindset that most of Britain still has a hangover from. It is shocking how much a of a transition first baby arriving is. Take all the help and time you can. If you can afford extra short term help to enable you to b'feed if that's what you want and to ride the transition healthily then I'd get it asap. Many health problems in women are traced back to not recovering adequately after childbirth and the first year. all the best and enjoy it! I wish I had known with DS1 how fast the first year goes and that i'd never get it back.

ranirani Fri 06-Feb-09 12:12:15

Hi June2009, I am in the same boat too, with the difference that my due date is one week away! grin. We have our own business too ( me and my DH), and before I got PG we had offices, staff etc. Now due to credit crunch and my PG we reviewed our business and i am now working from home ( although our office was 2 minutes down the road anyway). This was the best thing that ever happened to me! first, i do not need to go anywhere ( I can do all the work on computer at home, WHENEVER I feel like it, sometimes 12 at night) but then I can get up at 11 in the morning!! grin and secondly, not having any staff who you have to manage anyway and who drains your energy and money was another bonus. I was in bliss as soon as we moved the office to the house. To be fair I did not work first 3 months, hardly anything, as we had staff then, and with 2nd trimester bloom it was easy to start working again. I think 1st trimester is the most tiring and shcking, i did not expect the leverl of fatiqe I'd had. Obviously as you are approaching your due date things are getting tougher. there are days sometimes ( maybe once a week) when the only thing I can do is to sleep all day, but then next day I am full of energy ( I am quite active person, work wise, not gym wise grin. Just like you even on holidays I check my mail and accounts every day).
Obviously my DH had to get used to the fact that not everything is done straight away, but it is done in the end. wink
I definitely think I will be able to carry on like this till the day my baby is born. lets face it - sitting behind the desk, typing and calling people on the phone is not physical work ( I just finished my VAT returns all by myself), it is almost the same as sitting on the sofa and watching telly. Advantage is that sitting behind the desk you can lean forward which puts baby in better position for birth, whereas watching telly - you always slouch, so i love working!! ( I probably sound crazy to some of the mums grin )
You can always find your way, all babies ARE different, but you can work you way round it.
AND as someone mentioned before: CLEANERS, CLEANERS, CLEANERS and TAKEAWAYS! I would not be able to manage without my cleaner ( bless her soul) and takeaways now and again.
So there is hope, June2009, as I am 39 weeks and still working and enjoying it! If you love doing what you do it is easier, also comforting knowing you are not giving your cash away so you can enjoy better things in life yourself( like having weekly massage, which also tremendously helped me in my PG).
It is worth every penny!

good luck and keep in touch, I will let you know how my work schedule goes after the baby is born ( fgingers crossed).
congrats on your PG!! ( this is my first one as well)

ranirani Fri 06-Feb-09 12:13:11

sorry for the long post, blush I just do not have anyone else around me to share my experience. everyone else is 9 to 5.

June2009 Mon 23-Mar-09 08:50:52

Thanks for your post, Ranirani, I take it you had your baby by now, I hope everything went well for you!
How are you coping?

June2009 Tue 05-May-09 14:39:17

heya, just wondering if anyone's still around and how they are managing so far?

Been finding it increasingly stressfull as I'm trying to get everything up to date and ready so I can take at least take some time off (like 1 or 2 weeks) - as if we were going on holiday sort of thing.
It's getting there but still quite daunting how it's all going to work out once baby's here...only about a month to go for me now!

Nekabu Tue 05-May-09 16:01:31

I'm still here! Working as normal but hoping to be able to take a couple of weeks (maybe up to 6 if I'm very lucky!) 'off' but during that time actually working as and when I can. Did you have any luck finding another accountant?

June2009 Wed 06-May-09 09:26:13

Hey Nekabu,

Thanks for replying, same as me then, "off" meaning still working as and when possible.
Some days I feel really positive about it, other days not so much.

We did find a new book keeper, a new chartered accountant and an auditor.
Turns out the old book-keeper/accountant made quite a lot of mistakes (we paid too much corporation and personal tax), and did not do what she was paid to do (mainly credit control and end of year accounts) so I've been catching up, going through every customer's account and finally getting a list of who owes what - today - on our newly updated Sage. I have 4 weeks to get that missing money in our account.

Focussing on the fact that it should all calm down by the time the baby is here, if not I have a friend who may be looking for a job when she comes back from a long holiday and she would be good at helping if she is available...fingers crossed it all works out!

Still not worked out maternity leave/pay.

When are you due? and what sling did you get ;) My friend is getting me one from Peru apparently, we also got a cheap version of something like a baby bjorn from TKmax. (it looks cheap though, not sure how good it'll be.)

June2009 Wed 06-May-09 17:46:35


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