Today I’m sharing an honest, raw, vulnerable look at my life and business as I prepare for my second maternity leave in two years. I’ll pull back the curtains and share how it looks to be a woman business owner while juggling the responsibilities of raising a one-and-a-half-year-old while in my third pregnancy trimester. I want to give you a glimpse of how this experience is affecting my relationships, business, serving my clients, and how I’m adapting and growing to accommodate my growing family while also increasing my income, my business, and my impact in the world.
I started my business as a health coach because I was passionate about helping women overcome their food and eating struggles. I wanted to help them live the life they really wanted.
For years and years, I struggled with food, my body, and my weight, and I had a really poor self-image. And having different eating disorders throughout my life, I just had a very tumultuous relationship with food. I worked really hard and deeply to overcome that. And these are the tenants of the philosophy I share in my food freedom group program. I’ve helped hundreds of women worldwide learn how to recreate that magic and that healing in their life.
And so being pregnant again kind of threw a whole new twist on that, right, because now I’m growing, I’m getting bigger and bigger. And for anybody who’s had two babies, you know, the first one, you’re a little lighter and tighter. And the second one, you show so much faster. So here I am… somebody who is overcoming body dysmorphia, and everywhere I go, neighbors, friends, and family are saying, “Oh my God, you’re huge.” And, of course, they mean well, and I don’t really take it to heart as a negative. But, just to be honest, it’s been tough to see myself with those compassionate eyes. Like… you know… you’re doing a great job, you’re growing a human, and I get that intellectually, but sometimes I feel really frumpy or sore. I wonder if the stretch marks will ever go away and if I will ever feel at home in my body again.
If this is something you’ve struggled with, or you are struggling with, or you worry about struggling with pregnancy, just know that I’ve used this time to create the relationship with my body I desire. It wasn’t easy; I had to notice those negative thoughts, the patterning, the judgments, and almost go through that healing again that I was able to experience about ten years ago, and I lost 50 pounds and overcame the eating disorder.
Here are a few things that have worked for me and may help you whether you’re pregnant or struggling with finding that compassion and peace in your body.
- Look at what is going well and not the imperfections. It is human nature to look at the negatives, whether it’s your body or business. So instead of seeing what’s wrong, look for what’s right. So, when I look in the mirror, I’m just saying… I see you, you’re beautiful, or your hair looks good today. And, just looking at what’s going well, not what’s wrong.
- Crowding Out. I was craving so many carbs… I just wanted bagels, bread, and bread and cheese in every form… pizza, sandwiches, you name it. And I didn’t notice, you know, that judgemental voice coming up saying, you shouldn’t be eating carbs, you should be dairy free, you should be gluten-free, ….. But the more I tell myself, don’t eat it, don’t eat it, don’t eat it, the more I want to eat it. So instead of forcing myself to try to stop, I started to crowd out. When you crowd out, you don’t focus on getting rid of anything or saying no, or this is bad. You just flood your diet with the things that you really want. I started to bring in more salads, greens, and veggies, and if I wanted a bagel, I would add a bunch of veggies to the bagel or start my day with green juice. And I will tell you; it made me feel so energized to have a big glass of water in the mornings and start my day with something green and super nutrient dense with maybe some protein powder and let myself off the hook because I wanted a bagel after that. I took my prenatal; I did the water; I did the green thing. And that changed everything. I just no longer craved the carbs and the way that I did. And so whether pregnant or not, I find these to be great ways just to reclaim your power, feel good in your feminine body, and have your energy back when you feel like you’re in a slump or a season that is a little bit more difficult to stick with the things that you know work.
- Letting myself off the hook. Sometimes our growth, like in yoga, comes by pushing ourselves a little bit, like… I can hold this posture for ten full breaths, and knowing you got stronger, you have the right applied effort and relationship to the effort. But sometimes, our growth comes from surrender. And that’s what I’ve been leaning into, embracing where I’m at, relaxing into it, knowing it’s a season that will shift. And just like allowing for the compassion, the grace, the exhale, the surrender to facilitate my growth, rather than push, push, push, try, try, try. And then, finally, just understanding this is a season of life. I don’t need to be in resistance to myself or my body or my current reality. We talk a lot about this in the Aligned Female Entrepreneur… how can you work with yourself and not against yourself? How can you bring in that compassion and that understanding? I had to work toward that and want to share that with you today.
I have been thankful for all of my good fortune and all the effort I put in over the last ten years to create a business that allows me to have the flexibility to raise my family. That was my prayer. That was my dream. That was my wish. And now it’s here.
I’m so thankful that when things come up, like Chloe getting sick and can’t go to daycare, I have such a flexible schedule where we’ve like been able to accommodate the needs of every person in my family in such a beautiful way because my work provides for me without having to work crazy hours.
Here’s what my schedule looks like these days. I only work on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (usually from 10 to 4) and sometimes between naps. So not even working a full 40-hour week here, but running a successful multi-six-figure business, which still blows my mind.
So how do I do this?
- Tuesday is for client calls.
- Wednesday is for marketing, projects, staff meetings, and training (I am currently in a year-long mentorship). No client calls this day, so I can focus on working ON my biz.
- Thursday is for group calls. The Aligned Female Entrepreneur and The Aligned Earning Mastermind. Sometimes other 1:1 calls or projects happen these days since these group program calls are every other week.
- Between these calls on Monday and Friday and during naps, I am on Voxer with my Mastermind group, in the AFE Facebook group, and in the DMs on Instagram answering questions.
You don’t have to follow this exact schedule. But you should think about how you can structure your time and energy not to be bouncing between a lot of different tasks and different types of energy.
So one of the blessings of my pregnancy has been not only increasing my capacity to hold more, serve more, be more, do more. But it’s also allowed me to be really, really good with my boundaries, really intentional with my energy, and really focused when I am working. When I am on, I am full on… right to the last second of the day. And when I’m off… I’m fully off, and I’m fully with my family and fully present.
Here is what I found that is working:
- Clear days with defined energy/goals/types of things I am working on
- Offering live calls every other week in AFE and Mastermind with get-it-done sessions in between
- Voxer! (a walkie-talkie app for communication with team and clients)
- Mastermind launch with ongoing AFE enrollments (We will be relaunching the mastermind in December. So I’m starting to take deposits and payments, so I know that when I return from my maternity leave, I already have income coming in. But, this time, instead of just pausing everything in my business, we switched things up a little so that AFE is ongoing enrollments, you can join at any time. And that way, we have a constant flow of cash coming into the business, even though I’m not technically working, which is pretty awesome.
Matt and I met during COVID and got pregnant with Chloe 8 months later (my prayer was to find my man and to know instantly he was “the one” and to have kids and have it happen more quickly than I could have ever imagined – ha! It worked! See how I did it in the MANIFEST home study course, where I lay out my exact methodology!)
We took a solo trip to Portugal earlier this year and traveled to NYC, Maine, and Montreal.
We’ve been to multiple concerts, had the best meals of our lives, went on dates, and have had lots of alone time at night because Chloe is an amazing sleeper.
I feel more in love with this man than ever.
AND, it’s so important we remember each other and take time for ourselves during this process. We are such a great team and have a shared vision – things like investing, creating a college fund, and getting set up to buy our next house all seem easy just because of our dynamic.
Sex has been great; we prioritize it, making us feel more connected.
Checking in on where we are at is huge too, giving lots of grace.
What is working:
- Date nights and independent trips
- Traveling and creating memories with Chloe
- Lots of family time and prioritizing friend time
- Having sex
- Being vulnerable over-controlling
- Speaking up for needs or fulfilling my own needs so that I don’t get resentful
- Creating a shared vision
- Checking in on energy levels and giving to each other when we have surplus
- Doing our own thing solo
Here is what my business currently looks like:
+My Operations Manager, Brenda, is running the business side of things, all scheduling, podcast coordination, client care, bookkeeping, Facebook Ads tracking, and project management
+My Social Media Coordinator, Kassandra, is responsible for creating content for emails and social media posts.
+I am in charge of coaching, creating podcast content, and overseeing the biz side of things.
We hit our first six figures in June, which was cool to see since I was incapacitated for the beginning of the year with my back out and pregnancy and raising a 1-year-old (Chloe was constantly coming down with things and needing to shift our schedule over the winter, and we traveled for 2 months out of the year).
For my 1st pregnancy, I took five months off. I found that actually to be a little bit long for me. So this time, I plan on three months fully off, and a month working behind the scenes and coming back part-time in December.
The last time I stopped running The Aligned Female Entrepreneur or selling anything, I just saved up and took people onto a waitlist so that when I came back, I knew a certain amount of cash flow was coming in. I believe we had a $17k week the first week I was back.
This year we are doing things a little differently:
-We are keeping AFE open with get-it-done sessions and social media strategy sessions not run by me. –
– We are keeping Facebook ads going and all of our organic traffic going into the program so that we have income coming in while I am away.
-My team and I are also taking past courses and high-level trainings and packaging them into smaller offers that my team can launch while I am on maternity leave.
What is working:
- Having a team in place that can handle 80% of all of the business to-dos without me having to do it
- I focus on only the things I can do
- Setting up smaller offers + evergreen AFE process that can be launched and sold without me
- Less 1:1 work where I need to be on camera and more clients getting EPIC results
- Starting taking deposits for working together post-maternity leave in December
As always, I love hearing from you! Send me a DM on IG at @xokrissyleonard, leave us a review on iTunes, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Do you want to set up your profitable business foundation to bring in consistent $5-10K months? I’ve put together a free in-depth training for you! You can register HERE.