Every woman entrepreneur makes choices when she becomes pregnant. There is almost nothing prescribed about how the pregnancy months or the months afterwards will proceed. Every woman’s story is different. And because there is no single path, no single story, no single best option, it helps to learn what other women have done when they’ve crossed into the hectic world of pregnant entrepreneurship. Here is one woman’s experience, published in DailyWorth on 9/10/14.



Nine days after my c-section, I took on a new client.

In the final days of my pregnancy — in excruciating pain from my ribs being pushed out from the inside, like some horror-movie reverse corset — I read an article suggesting that after you have a baby, you should wear nursing pajamas all day as a visual reminder that you are still recovering and should not be expected to cook or make your guests a cup of tea.


Tags: , ,

I recently attended a time management seminar, and the core idea was to break down the entrepreneur’s time into a systematized workweek of 1-hour blocks, allocated in certain ways. I’ve spent 10 years professionally helping mostly women with time management, and I was one of the first true work-at-home employees over 20 years ago, when the internet was still new and shiny, and “logging on” meant listening to a symphony of computer clicks and chirps at 64 baud. So I know a little about working, working whenever and wherever, and working when family demands your attention. I know this traditional approach of managing your life in tidy 1-hour blocks doesn’t work as well on the road as it does on paper.

If you, also, are a busy women looking for time management answers, check out the latest book I’ve read on this topic, called “Overwhelmed:  Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time” by Brigid Schulte.

For some people the issue is needing more structure and discipline in their lives, and I love it when they show up in my client base, because my job is then easy.  We just fill in a calendar with one-hour blocks as traditional teachers on time management will propose, and away they go. BUT THAT NEVER HAPPENS. The real problem is what Schulte pinpoints as “contaminated time” or “fractured time”, which is the modern expectation to work from anywhere, seamlessly, and still hold down the home front. This is mostly a female problem, magnified in households where there are young children, and quite different from what most men experience. This is not chauvinistic, just the facts.

Some folks can still operate and succeed in this world of contaminated time, and some feel constant and unmanageable stress from it. The idea that our day can be broken down into 1-hour blocks of time is hilarious. Even 30 minute or 15 minute blocks are hard to come by (although one strategy that I help my clients with is to create those 15 minute blocks, using an audible timer while removing or  shutting off all other distractions for brief bursts of time, repeating them over and over in rapid fire to create larger blocks of time).

I think Schulte’s book is an important addition to the modern library. You’ll hear Schulte describing, sometimes with real, justified anger, what the family has to go through in America. Most women I know and work with are exactly what Schulte describes…successful professionals who had to make drastic changes, sometimes “dropping out” and re-inventing a new career path in order to find a spot where they could re-fashion their calendars to allow for the demands of a family that needed them to be there for sick days, snow days, and horribly expensive childcare situations.

Women will read this book and feel relief; their “contaminated” and “fractured” calendars aren’t a symptom of their inadequacy, but rather a symptom of modern life. Men can benefit from this sometimes raw description of how their wives, daughters, and co-workers are juggling too much. There isn’t one solution to this epidemic, but rather a series of small steps to recognize the problem and manage it for every phase of your life. Read Schulte’s book through to the end, and then develop your own plan to manage the time challenges in your own life.

Tags: ,

Recently I received this request:

I run a business, I am an expert in a very niche area, my business is four years old and I am based in Scotland. It has really taken off in the past two years, with lots of hard work on my part, I work for companies around the globe. My business is my baby and to a large part it is probably my sense of self. I love my business, I love what I do, I love being an expert go to person for people. It is also the money source for providing for the two kids (7 and 8) I already have, my husband is also unemployed at present so I am the breadmother (43% of women in the UK are the breadmother).  I have a network of consultants who work for me on various projects, but I do not employ any directly. So I am pretty much freaking out about how I continue in this high growth phase of my business and have a little baby, without going slightly mad with the stress. Just knowing there are other women out there who have done this and coped is a massive help. Will your book, the Pregnant Entrepreneur, be useful to me as non-USA-based person? (emphasis added)

The Pregnant Entrepreneur blog and book does does reference once of the biggest problems US entrepreneurs have historically faced, of getting healthcare at any stage of life. I don’t devote any significant amount of space in the book to that, and the situation here in the USA is now changing, with the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The topics that the book and this site cover are universal:

  • When to disclose your pregnancy and to whom
  • How to prioritize and balance the demands of pregnancy with your business
  • Maintaining credibility with your peers, employees, and customers, even while you can’t see your feet
  • Wardrobe worries
  • How to manage the “fourth trimester”, maternity leave, and re-entry

My heart breaks when I read stats about other countries and their generous maternity leave policies and state-based support for new moms. 

I’m a mom, an entrepreneur, and an author. I may be an activist, in some sense. But I am US-based. I’d love to hear your experiences as a pregnant entrepreneur, whether US-based or in some other country. Let’s open the dialogue, and share in the comments below. 

What was or is your experience as a pregnant entrepreneur?


Tags: , , ,

breakfast (2)
It can be hard to keep so many balls in the air and still take care of yourself. I’m sharing one of my favorite and fast breakfasts ever. Actually, one of my favorite meals ever.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 green or yellow zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • jar of salsa
Fast, healthy, yummy

Fast, healthy, yummy



Saute the diced onion and zucchini for about 5 minutes in a smidgen of olive oil. Scramble in 2 eggs. I often do this right in the pan, so I don’t have another prep dish to clean. Top with a spoonful of prepared salsa. If you have time, serve with a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, or do without. If you are really in a rush, put the eggs in a tortilla wrap and head out the door.

Here’s wishing you a healthy pregnancy.


It started with an age old question from a friend, “How do women go back to work full time? What do working parents do with their children? Especially, during off school days like Election Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, etc.? How about snow days? Full time camp in summer?”

Yes, working for yourself might seem like it’s going to solve the childcare problem, but an entrepreneur has commitments, too. If you want to keep your professional credibility, you need a plan B (and maybe plan C and D) for your baby, your toddler, and even your school aged child.

Another friend provided one of the best responses I have ever read. She’s agreed to let me print here.


How do you solve the child care puzzle?

This is a really tough question. Here are my thoughts:

1. In my fantasy world, you have family in the area and they step in to provide babysitting– regularly or on an as-needed basis for those strange holidays. We do not have this arrangement (parents are out of state or not well enough to help)– but a few friends of mine do have families who help out majorly.

2. Neighborhood grandma: Growing up, when my mom entered the work force, she had to find a place for my little brother to go before and after school. She found a retired grandma who would take in my brother before and after school. It was easier in the “old days” because, for example, you could get the school bus to stop pretty much anywhere (or even take a different route home)– now, the rules are much tougher, but allowances are made for regular transportation to babysitters.

3. Nanny share: Some families (more common in some neighborhoods) share nannies– they might have a nanny two or three days a week, which lets them work on those days.

4. Au pair: The current rate for au pairs is around $355/week, which for 40 hours of care would be doable, since we normally pay $15/hour to babysit just the two older kids. I’d be able to work at least a day a week (probably more like 2-3) and could cover the au pair fee myself with earnings. The downside would be that the person would have to live in our house– which is big, but not set up for that type of sharing. For example, we do have a guest bedroom, but the bathroom is currently being used by the kids.

5. Stop funding retirement and hire more help: If we needed to hire a nanny, that would be what we might have to consider doing– but retirement savings is so important so we have been unwilling to do that.

6. Don’t go back to work full time. I ended up quitting a job that I loved to stay home because it was so hard to work out childcare. I just decided that for now, I should be home with them. I am lucky in that I have a nursing job that I can do per diem, part time, or full time, and pretty much any shift– but even with all that flexibility, it was just too hard for me to figure out the daycare aspects– so I quit.

7.  Some schools run programs before and after schools. You can pay for care on a daily basis (as-needed) or routinely.

8. Local college students might have students who are able to work for you; many have their own cars. Contact the career placement office to post a job ad.

9. Local daycare facilities. When we did a large school (franchise chain), it was nice because they were open from 7am-6pm, and they never closed down if someone was sick (i.e., if you had a babysitter and they called out sick, you’re out of luck). The downside was that for my kids, the noise was overwhelming– I felt like for me personally it ended up being more like a parking lot for my kids rather than a place where they grew and thrived.

10. Local pre-schools: Nice for enrichment & social aspects, but it’s only 3 hours a day. You can pay for more care there (at $7/hour for up to 3 hours)– but even with 6 hours of care a day, that’s not enough if you have an 8-hour shift somewhere. However, it does make it a little more possible for a neighbor or friend to pick them up and only watch them from 3-5 or 3-6.

11. Local sports facilities. See if yours has a busing arrangement with area schools.

12. I’ve also heard of the local Karate place as taking kids after school (I forget if it’s once or twice a week)– they pick up and then provide a class.

13. Building Blocks: They are a daycare facility that also allows you to buy a day at a time. If I were working and needed care for a school holiday day, I might consider them. I think someone told me that it was $150/day, but don’t quote me on that. I have only talked to one parent who sent their kids there– they ultimately switched– but they had some challenges with their kids so that might have contributed.

14. There are also online resources like sittercity.com and care.com — as well as joining local Moms Club and trading babysitting (which I’ve done and is usually great). Ask at your local church (if you have one). I would stay away from Craig’s List– too many weirdos.

Closing thoughts: It’s just really, really hard to make it work. I look at families with grandparents who help out and I’m envious. However…. not having my parents so close also means that they don’t interfere with my parenting–which is nice, too.  (Trying to find the positive!) When I drive around in the morning dropping my kids at school, and returning home with the baby, I’m always struck by the thought of “Wow, I could be doing so much, but instead I’m home with the baby, and she would probably be just as happy hanging out in a room full of babies”– but then I need to pick my second one up at noon, and be here to greet my oldest at 4 when he gets off his bus– so I feel like I’m at the mercy of their schedules— but in a few years, once they are all in school for a full day, I’m hoping it gets easier (or at least less expensive)– then I could potentially either work overnights (with a shift starting at 11pm and ending at 7am) or weekends, or something…. but right now, I just don’t know how people do it. If anyone solves the puzzle, please clue me in.

Put together by just another mom…

What’s your childcare solution while working? Does it feel like it costs you a million dollars?


Tags: , , , , , ,

On October 1, 2013, major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) kick in (again). If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, this could matter greatly to you.

A friend of mine recently shared that she’s suddenly and happily pregnant, but in a job situation that she is desperate to get out of. She started her own side business just this year, but there hasn’t been time to ramp it up, leave her old job, and switch over to her husband’s employer-provided healthcare plan. Her immediate options are:

1. Leave her job immediately, which she desperately wants to do, and pay COBRA to continue her existing insurance to continue her current coverage, which will cover her pregnancy and delivery.

2. Leave her job immediately, and petition her husband’s employer to allow their family to begin a family policy under his company’s insurance. It is common practice, although not a given, that most companies allow an employee to opt in to company insurance when there has been a major life event, such as a spouse’s job change, divorce, or death. It is also not a given that her husband’s employer policy would cover the pregnancy, since that was a pre-existing condition.

3. Stay in her job until after her delivery.

So what chances due to ACA after October 1, 2013? Well, for one, good luck getting straight answers from anyone. Because of the political rancor surrounding this Act, and the huge changes that are going into effect, there is a sea of information and misinformation about what may or may not be changing. Over the next few months, if you find yourself newly pregnant or in a situation like I describe above, be sure to carefully document who you talk to about changes in your healthcare, and get it in writing if you can!

The big change will be the insurance exchanges that states will offer to provide affordable healthcare to just about everyone. But because each state also has the option of opting out of providing a state healthcare exchange (in which case, the state exchange is run by the federal government), the answers to questions like these are going to be different in parts of the country.

If you are a pregnant entrepreneur with no primary health insurance or spouse-provided coverage, the ACA does not mean that you will suddenly have free insurance. In fact, although the exchanges open October 1, coverage will take affect January 1, 2014 for those enrolled by December 15, 2013.

What the ACA does do for the first time, however, is prohibit insurance companies for turning an applicant down for insurance, jacking up their rates, or excluding care due to their medical history and pre-existing conditions, according to the Huffington Post. That is good news if you have not had insurance or need to switch policies during the middle of pregnancy.

Also new, health insurance policies generally will cover important things they have not in the past. Well-visits and breast pumps are covered today, while they were not just a few years ago.

However, be aware that there are loopholes and quirks in the system. If you have questions about your coverage, it won’t be a surprise if you have to make several phone calls, wade through pages of insurance information, and ask your question several different ways to get answers to your specific questions.

Still need to know more? Of course you do. Check out this helpful insurance exchange calculator tool from the Kaiser Family Foundation to see what insurance, premiums, and subsidies might look like for your family after January 1, 2014.

*Please note that I am not an insurance rep or agent. The best advice is to meet with a qualified insurance professional who can evaluate your family’s individual needs. There are also paid guides, called Navigators, who are being trained to help people through their state’s exchange programs. Please search the internet for “(your state) health care exchange” to find these trained resources.

Are you a pregnant entrepreneur and uninsured? What’s your experience getting coverage through the new health care exchanges?

Tags: ,

As much as I love my country, I just think this is a disgrace.

Paid Maternal Leave Map from NY Times




Are you on LinkedIn?  Then you probably know it is a professional social media tool, one that many, many people use to network in digital form. 

LinkedIn is not Facebook.  Just like looking for a job is not hanging out with your buddies.

I can not make this stuff up.  I’m sharing this little exchange from LinkedIn so that you will know- and you will share with your kids, your proteges, and your colleagues- the rules in this brave new world.  Yes, manners, grammar, and common courtesies do still exist, even in the internet age!  I received this message, which is the standard default message:

HIM: Darla,  I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Just a word here.  If you are asking for anything, especially from someone you barely or don’t even know, you can come up with better than the system default, right?

ME: Glad to connect! If there’s anyone in my network I can help you connect with, please let me know.

By the way, this is not a default message.  Most people accept invitations without ever responding back.  Feel free to steal this message and be a real person online.

HIM: ok…who are you????
Um, really?  This reminds me of the line in the Tom Hanks movie, Angels and Demons, “Guys, you called me!?!”

ME:  You requested to connect with me here within the last month. Did you attend an organizing seminar perhaps? Ah, the joys of social media.

HIM: no…are you from Philadelphia?


HIM:  I’m applying for jobs on linked in and just about everyone I’ve ever heard of (and more) has gotten a request from me…..I dunno….like you said…….leave u alone now

End the misery, please.

Remember, LinkedIn is a professional platform, and I have probably never met this guy.  We may or may not have a colleague in common.  But here’s what you need to know.

1. This is my first impression of this guy.  And it’s not good.

2. He probably knows how to put a sentence together, but I can’t prove it from this.  Companies generally prefer to hire someone with good communication skills.  This isn’t it. A mistake or two can be forgiven (how many can you find in this article?)  Casual and blatant disregard for the language is not appropriate when job posting.

3. He’s stated that he’s casting a wide net for a job, but he didn’t tell me what kind of job. 

4.  For all he knows, I am married to the very hiring manager he is trying to get to.  My husband and I are linked in on other ways, but not here.

5. For some reason I can’t include the graphic here, but his last response had a football-shaped emoticon in it. Remember, this is a professional platform.  Save the emoticons for email and facebook and people you know well.

This is not like a wrong number telephone call.  This is an interaction with names and faces attached.  A much better response would have been, “Nice to meet you, too, but I’m not sure who we know in common, to be honest.  I’m posting for jobs in the XYZ field, and would love to know if you can help make any connections.  The same goes for me, of course.  Let me know if I can help you make any great connections in my network.  Have a great day!” 

I hope you got a chuckle and a tip or two out of this. 


Please welcome Karla Trotman, owner of BellyButtonBoutique, which she started during the most uncomfortable nine months of her life. She offers some button-sized gems in this interview.


KarlaTrotman Pregnant Entrepreneur

What was your life like when it hit you that you were or were about to become a  pregnant entrepreneur?

I started my business at the end of my pregnancy, when you are feeling like the baby is going to fall out of you and that the pregnancy will never end.  So  it kept my mind off of those physical issues, but because my company is  about making pregnancy more comfortable, it provided me with great inspiration.


What was the one thing you wish you had known before you got pregnant? 

That it wasn’t going to feel good.  You don’t realize that the baby is going to be squished up against your innards like  that.  Its quite crowded.


Was there a really challenging part of your story, where you considered  closing or changing your business?  How did it turn out for you?

I’m blessed in the fact that I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur.  My father’s company is still thriving.  I remember my mom telling my father in the beginning, “we are going to      push through the 3 to 5 year mark, where most businesses fail.  If it doesn’t work out, then fine.  But we are going to stay the distance”.   There were times in the very beginning where there was NO money coming in, I had stocks of product and felt that I had done everything that I could to  make it work.  Additionally, I had two small children and was a bit frazzled.  It was then that I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and push through.  Whenever you think that you have hit a wall, that is when you realize that you need outside help and/or advice.  So I became humble and asked my father for advice.


What was your maternity leave period like?  

During my leave, I launched my online store.  That was exciting.  You see, when you are working towards something that is your dream, its not work. I juggled it well because I had a supportive family.  Plus, I was up nursing and taking care of a baby at all hours of the night, so it all worked out.


If  you had the chance to trade your situation for the “corporate paycheck, kids in daycare” option, would you?  And why or why not? 

My kids always went to daycare and I still collect a check, per se.  Because my store is online, I am able to do marketing and special projects for my father’s corporation.  I really miss the interaction with my peers because my current situation is very isolating.  But this is what I was born to do.  And when mommy is happy, everyone is happy.


Do you have a funny story about being a pregnant entrepreneur? 

Unfortunately, I do not have any funny stories about being a pregnant entrepreneur.  My husband did think I was nuts signing papers  in the hospital and fielding calls from my attorney.  And there were all of those nights nursing my son while typing with one hand on my computer…


What  advice would you give to the independent young women who follow you?      

Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.  Lots of people thought that my idea was dumb.  But based on my research and a spiritual directive telling me to move forward, I knew that it would work.  So I proved everyone wrong.  All roads to success aren’t paved.  Sometimes you have to get off of the beaten path and create your own trail through the woods in order to reach the goal.  And try to start you business before getting pregnant and having a family.  Sooooo much easier :)


Karla Trotman, Owner



Tags: , ,

If you are looking for proof that Lynn Bardowski’s book, “Success Secrets of a Million $ Party Girl,” is a serious book, there it is, right on page 84, with her tip to “get a crock-pot”. As she says, “As long as your family is fed, they will let you do what you have to do.” Truer words were never spoken.

Lynn shares truths from her rise to a million dollar business owner over the last decades in order to encourage other women. I’ve known Lynn for years, but only in reading this book did I learn how similar our backgrounds are. We both spent years in corporate sales. We both considered our hot pink suit to be our power suit. We both raised (I’m still in the midst of) two girls. And we both absolutely love what we do. That last one is pretty important, because it’s awful to work for yourself doing something you don’t love.

Lynn’s book is full of good, tactical advice, like her reading lists on page 13.  She advises women to read, read, read.  Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence People are the two basics, but she goes on to list many of her favorite “can do” books.

She gets you excited not just for the idea of building a business, but building one that can create aundance for others, and not just the people who work for her. Her vision of prosperity goes well beyond your own home office.

 Think about the impact on the economy and the abundance my vision created.  That includes supermarkets that sold food that was serves at the parties, lighters purchased to light the candles, purchases made with the income entrepreneurs earned, etc. It’s a ripple that just keeps on going! And that doesn’t even count the number of UPS workers that delivered the products!

By chapter 10, I was thinking, “Who can I pass this book on to?  Who else needs to read this?”  Chapter 10, you see, is entitled, “Your business Is Your Life”.  The leading quote is “No one ever dies from sleeping in an unmade bed” from Erma Bombeck.  Not even this professional organizer will tell you to stress about the little things when there is so much life to be lived!

Lynn’s story of how a cell phone, sister-in-law, and candles collided to send this career gal into a totally new orbit is a quick read. And if you’re looking for a boost in the right direction, a little encouragement from someone who’s been there, you’ll pick up your copy quickly.

Available in paperback:

And available for your Kindle:

(Affiliate links included)

Tags: , ,

« Older entries