It's working for Heidi Rauch, Founder + CEO, Belabumbum
"As a working parent, a good day is when I slay enough dragons during the workday to stay offline and be present for my family in the evening and a bad day is when I am feeling spread too thin and unable to maintain a division between family and work time."
Heidi Rauch is the Founder + CEO of BELABUMBUM. She founded her business with a close friend in 2001. Belabumbum began as a boutique lingerie line, producing in Brazil (their name, pronounced bela-boom-boom, means “beautiful bum” in Portuguese). When the founders became mothers, their interest in maternity and nursingwear blossomed — along with their understanding of the importance of moms taking time to care for themselves. Here’s Heidi’s story about going back to work after baby.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH YOU COULD OFFER YOUR FORMER EXPECTANT SELF?
Stay flexible and be prepared for anything! My husband was overseas when our daughter was born 5 weeks early– not ideal, but it all worked out. Also- enjoy every opportunity to snuggle your baby because they grow up way too fast.
WHAT WAS YOUR PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR DECIDING TO RETURN (OR NOT) TO WORK?
Belabumbum was my first baby, so abandoning the business was not an option! Luckily we cater to moms who are pregnant and nursing, and many of our business allies are matriarchs in the maternity and breastfeeding world, so I felt very supported.
FOR MOMS: IF YOU BREASTFED, WAS THERE A PLACE FOR YOU TO PUMP THAT MET YOUR NEEDS AND WAS CONDUCIVE TO YOUR SUCCESS? IF YOU BREASTFED, HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO CONTINUE?
My daughter spent the first week of her life in the NICU. She was too tiny and tired to nurse, so I made friends with the breast pump on day one. Pumping is such hard work, but it helped her tremendously, helped me know she was getting what she needed early on and provided freedom when I had to travel for work.
HOW MUCH LEAVE DID YOU TAKE, AND HOW COMFORTABLE WERE YOU TAKING IT?
As an owner of the business, I took very little time off (like maybe a week). I got my first Blackberry right before Neena was born so I could respond to emails while snuggling in bed (so I was comfy BUT still working).
HOW EASY WAS IT TO PUT A CHILDCARE ARRANGEMENT TOGETHER AND DID IT WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Being able to work from home and have a flexible schedule was a real luxury that made this process much easier on our family. I ended up with a nanny who could tag and steam garments in a pinch, so it was a win-win.
WHEN DID THE “NEW NORMAL” SET IN FOR YOU?
After about 5 days of emailing from bed, I was back at the computer with my daughter in a sling. I have no idea how she slept through all of my skyping with our factories!
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE GOING BACK TO WORK?
Since I wear so many hats in the business I had a lot of anxiety about how I would manage to keep all the balls in the air. Instead of “What to Expect …” I was reading “Getting Things Done” and other office efficiency theory in preparation for giving birth.
WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF SUPPORT IN RETURNING TO WORK?
My husband was home writing up his Ph.D research during Neena’s first 3 months. I really cherished our time together, plus the extra set of hands.
FILL IN THE BLANKS: AS A WORKING PARENT, I NEVER EXPECTED ____ WOULD BE SO HARD AND ____ WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER!
As a working parent, I never expected traveling for work would be so hard and staying home would be so much easier (I used to prefer the opposite).
AS A WORKING PARENT, A BAD DAY IS WHEN _____ AND A GOOD DAY IS WHEN _______.
As a working parent, a good day is when I slay enough dragons during the workday to stay offline and be present for my family in the evening and a bad day is when I am feeling spread too thin and unable to maintain a division between family and work time.