“Are you ready for babies?”

Solo episode

Show notes:

As someone who had the ‘flagship’ pregnancy in her last employment role, I wouldn’t recommend it. My company at the time had no maternity policy, I was their ‘test case’: cue a lot of pressure and a lot of mistakes on both sides.

To be expected in the startup arena where 80% of founders are men. When you’re not a mum, it’s just not something that you think about.

Unless you are Rachel Harris aka Accountant She, and founder of accountancy firm Strive X. Rachel is in the planning pre-pregnancy phase, and is going above and beyond as a business owner to make her company maternity and motherhood friendly. To protect and promote her future career and her staff’s.

This minisode is me reflecting on my conversation with Rachel, asking some important questions of us as business owners, and as would-be mums on how we can work together to prepare for motherhood from both sides of the coin.




Accountant She

Today’s episode of Bump to Business owner is proudly sponsored by Accountant She the disruptive, holistic, and person-centered accounting team helping to take you from bump to business owner and beyond. From fully outsourcing your business finances to strategic and enhanced maternity planning. We’ve got you covered and if you don’t need an accountant just yet but want completely free, accessible consumable financial education, then you can find me everywhere that you consume content at Accountant She.


Hello. I’m Caroline Marshall, and welcome to Bump to Business Owner the podcast speaking to mums in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

Caroline (00:59):
Hello and welcome to Bump to Business Owner. I am your host, Caroline Marshall, and I’m doing a little minisode because we are having a little break. Easter holiday break, I felt me and the team have been going full pelt on this podcast since it started, really other than a break over Christmas, but I can’t resist. It’s my birthday week. So I couldn’t resist jumping on and do a little mini episode. And I actually had this idea for this after speaking to a guest we have coming up called Rachel, who is the founder of Strive X, also known as accountant. She on Instagram, go find her. She’s amazing Business Barbie and she owns that title, so go follow her. I am actually meeting at the time of this podcast. I’m going to be meeting her soon for a business day I discovered, and so I get to find girl her in person.

But yeah, so it’s my birthday week. Always got a bit reflected around this time because I remember when I was pregnant with my first, it’s not very happy thing I’m sharing here. God, I had the world’s worst 30th birthday realising I wasn’t doing very well mentally, just struggling with the loneliness of pregnancy and overworking burnout. And it wasn’t until I was in Cornwall that I realised the full extent of it. So I’m always like each year I’m away from that birthday is each year I just feel a little bit stronger and happier and I’m really excited. I think it’s Easter. I haven’t really planned anything for my eldest child, so I think I might have the afternoon with him. We might even go to the cinema together and he is the best person to be with on a birthday. He is so enthusiastic about other people’s birthdays, so I feel like he’ll be just and actually really nice ball of energy to be around, especially if we just both go to the cinema.

He can have some chocolate. I’ll have a cake or cocktail, whichever. And yeah, I’m quite excited for it. But I thought actually this is why I’m recording this mini episode because as I said, I spoke to Rachel, founder of Strive X. She’s going to be on the podcast soon. She is not a mom. She’s coming on the podcast. She is this rare breed of women who really wants to talk about the stage she is in right now where she wants to be a mom and is preparing for motherhood and preparing her business for it. And what that means when a woman is a founder versus a man who is a founder typically, and I cannot wait to share this, we are going to talk about how male counterparts of similar businesses, similar ages to her won’t be experiencing the same worries, concerns she is and this push she is having for her career, which is when I spoke to her, it kind of felt a little bit like I’d just come off a therapy session and had a breakthrough.

I didn’t even think of this period like that, but it now makes so much sense. And I put something up on Instagram and a friend got in touch with me and was like, no, this is definitely a thing that the years you might be in a relationship might not be, but you’re feeling the call to motherhood and you feel it’s going to happen. And if you’re with a partner with a husband, you’ve discussed what, when you might start trying things like that and how much it is not the same for everyone, but the years leading up you’re like, shit, I better get my career sorted out so I’m not too far behind when I take maternity leave. And that is exactly what I had. I was a bit late to really discovering my career. I was a pa, career pa. There’s kind of a limit on where you can go with the PA role unfortunately, especially in the organisations I was in.

So when I found a startup I was like, brilliant, I’m just going to pick up my career for these few years before I have kids. And then I got pregnant earlier than planned. I just got promoted and it was really like, right, I’ve got to continue pushing. I’ve got to continue pushing for the career through this first child and get a senior as senior as senior as possibly I can. And it was just really interesting, which I hope I’m going to probably do another post mini episode, which I hope me and Rachel might discuss how that looks in a business sense as well. Because when she talked to me about the feeling she had to push everything now before she became a mother, just really hit home with me. I was like, ah. And this is one of those reasons when I circle back to I was really struggling in my first pregnancy and this was one of the reasons was like, well, my plan’s not working out.

I’m not quite as senior as I wanted to be before having my first child. And so I’ve got to try and get senior while having the first child. And I look back and it’s so obvious everything I’m doing and I think a e of the great career coaches I meet for women or in-house coaches on how to support parents in the workplace. I know so many of them now, which I had no idea was a thing at the time, but my business was led by men and they were bringing in men to consult me during this time. It was a bit like they had no clue the reason I was so ambitious. And I don’t think I even realised why I was so ambitious. And it was because I thought, well, I’m going to be on a back foot having children, so I’ve got to push my career before I have children.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this and it is not the same case for everyone, but I think it’s such a privilege that we’re going to have the opportunity to talk about this because the motherhood journey doesn’t start when you become a mom. It starts when you start thinking about becoming a mom, start thinking, yes, I’m going to become a mom. Hopefully I can become a mom. I know it’s not smooth sailing for everyone in my experience I realise can be quite triggering for others that it did happen quite quickly for us. So I appreciate the privilege. I had a falling quickly, but very, very excited to talk about it. So I want to thank Rachel for coming on the podcast to talk about it. She actually said she was a little bit intimidated by the mum community. I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that about coming on it.

And so I was really honoured that she does. I think this is a really, really important stage to talk about because it involves supporting women at a wider level and why there is a gender pay gap because a lot are saying now it’s not really a gender pay gap. The gender pay gap is now beginning when women become mothers and careers after babies. Jess, she was on the podcast recently and her report says that 50% of people perceive, so this is people perceiving mothers that perceive that women don’t think their careers are important once they’ve had kids. So that’s how others are looking at us. So it shows why we’re pushing so hard in that lead up because perhaps ourselves, we look at other women who are moms and we’re like, well, they’re not as ambitious, so I’m going to really push this because I’m, I’m not ambitious as well.

And that’s not the case with the women I speak to on the podcast. Our ambitions actually change many of them it changed, but I think it now makes sense when I reflect on my chat with Rachel, how women are perceived from this careers after babies report, which is 50% of people. It led me to real blind ambition overworking and getting burnt out in pregnancy feeling like this. And so surely if we’re all chatting about this, it starts to become a thing. Not just that our careers are impacted after babies, but how we are working before we have babies. And I also speaking tomorrow to a lady called Lauren, the founder of Women in Web3. And there’s an issue in the startup world or in the world she’s in, which is crypto Web3 ai, the new internet world that it’s very male driven and startup heavy.

And the issue that it not very female friendly is one of the reasons is that maternity leave isn’t considered from day one of a startup. And I hugely identified with this as well. So when I got pregnant the first time, there was no maternity leave policy in pace. And that is hugely unsettling and someone more sensible than I wouldn’t work there frankly. And there was a lot of women at this company, so we were all in the same boat not being sensible about the fact there was no maternity leave policy and there were mothers there as well. So as someone that was in this environment to be pregnant with no maternity leave policy, I think that is something hugely thought about. And I would love to also, hopefully I’m going to talk to Rachel about this with the fact that she has this fast growing accountancy firm.

And because she is a woman who wants kids that started this business, I am assuming she has brought in her maternity leave policy from day one. I know she has, her accountancy firm is called Drive X. I know they’ve got ways that they support women who find out they’re pregnant and how to manage their finances. So it is something they’re thinking about versus other leaders. So my point of this is I think I’m hoping we’ll walk away from this podcast also having a think about this stage of life pre motherhood and our careers and ways. Some women, not all, some women me might be acting up because they’re planning out having a family and freaking out about their careers, their business, their purpose. I can’t speak for other people, but for me it came out as ruthless ambition. And I would do anything to get a new promotion and I would work more hours than anyone burn myself out while pregnant and try and not take any maternity leave.

I didn’t trust them. But for other people, I can imagine it makes them a bit disengaged with their careers and that’s why other people perceive them as not caring, but they’re a bit like, well, this company doesn’t support Mumsy return to work. So what’s the point? I can imagine for some people that would be their response to this stage of life. It was literally this chat with Rachel that made me reflect on this. And it’s like, so what can we do about this? Maybe maternity parenthood coaching that explores the pre parenthood stage and the fertility journey. As we know, that’s not straightforward for everyone. So this a period would even be even more heightened if you’re struggling or going through loss and ways that mothers and pre mothers could maybe start to respect each other a little bit more. And we are not the ones telling them, oh, it all changes for you.

And they’re not the ones looking down on us. They can’t understand why our past have changed a little bit versus who we were pre motherhood and why we’re so obsessed with our children and also navigating this new world of motherhood. And it would be maybe an interesting like that we could be mentors for them and they could be a little bit of mental back first because the mental relationship, and I’m wondering if that’s a new path of ways we can support each other, is that pre motherhood women start to feel they’ve got something to learn from us and we still, we’ve got something of value for them, but maybe could also reflect a little bit more on ourselves. Pre motherhood, which I have to admit, my chat with Rachel really did make me do, it was like a lovely therapy session. I walked away where I healed from that stage where I was really hard on myself, that I was too ambitious, invested too much, and I also, I wasn’t alone.

It wasn’t just me. And there was other women at different stages of life that did give this company a lot too much. But I can see in myself, a huge part of that was the ambition I felt in that free motherhood transition. And then when I went back and it wasn’t going well and someone close to me says, should you start looking at something else? You’re clearly not happy. And I was like, well, I’m just going to have another baby. And I was like, this is just going to happen somewhere else and what’s the point? And so I was a bit defeatist in that and what’s the point in changing jobs? What’s the point in finding a new company when it’s better, the devil? So I’m really excited. I’m really hoping we can all open our ears to someone who I hugely respect as a founder, but even more respect for wanting to talk about the stage pre motherhood so openly with someone who’s not at that stage. And I think I can learn a lot from her and hopefully it’ll be a good start to start thinking about these conversations between women post motherhood and pre motherhood.


Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business Owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening. It really helps us to connect with more mums and business owners. You can DM me at Bump to Business Owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.

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