Welcome to the blessing and the curse of startup life!
You were either the woman who hates mediocrity and traditional jobs, so you picked yourself a partner who is a trail blazer and is running his own company or you accidentally stumbled into this life and you’re wondering why you traded a stable income and vacation days for the volatile startup world.
Either way, you’re not alone, even though you may feel that way at times.
At the beginning of any startup, your partner will be traveling a lot, in a lot of meetings and at tons events in between working 15 to 20 hour days. I have adopted the Twitter handle “Startup_Widow” since he’s barely home—I’ve basically been widowed by the industry. It’s getting better now that we are on year three of the startup: a little more financial freedom and I actually see my other half more. However, in the beginning, we were like ships in the night, always passing each other as one was coming or going.
So, in my housewife boredom I’ve compiled a list of 10 things that every Startup Wife needs to survive (and stay sane).
1. A Support Group
Not like AA, although you may need that too by the end of this adventure. But for real, you will need a group of people who get you and know what you’re going through. My entourage consists of a few stay at home mom friends that are also feeling like their IQ drops two points every day between answering a thousand questions and listening to preschooler songs. Two fellow startup wives that understand what startup life is like and how badly it sucks to go a month or two without a paycheck while waiting for investor money to come in and a friend who is single…she’s just for funsies.
2. A Retired Relative
You won’t be able to afford a nanny or a babysitter so your next best option is someone who will help you with your children for free. In my case, I have my awesome father-in-law that helps with the kids so I can be alone with my own thoughts for more than two seconds. Or maybe you can actually attend an event with your partner once in a while—this relative will be a godsend so treasure them!
3. A Whole Lotta Patience
This one is a little esoteric, but it may be the thing you need most! There will be times when there are no paychecks coming in and you’re hanging on by a thread waiting for something to come through, times that a company may want to buy your partner’s startup and after months and months it falls through. There will be times you’ll be waiting up all night for your partner to return from events. For your relationship to stay together, you’ll need to be the strong partner who goes with the flow and maintains a realistic perspective. You’ll need to be your partner’s cheerleader because you may be their only one.
4. A Hobby
Kids are fun, but they’re also frustrating. Sometimes they feel like zombies trying to suck the life and joy out of you and other moments they melt your heart and you can’t imagine a single day without them. I needed something that is just mine for my own sanity. Something I am working on or creating. This is helpful so you don’t lose your identity through motherhood. We are still human beings that have purpose other than taking care of our children’s needs around the clock. If your children are your hobby then more power to you! My creative outlets are blogging, yoga, writing articles and creating my t-shirt line, Bitchy & Kitschy.
Again, maybe a little esoteric. This one is a necessity! When you’re home alone and your partner is at an event, for the third night in a row with beautiful people and you’re in your sweats eating ice cream, watching Sex and the City for the 80th time, or you’re changing dirty diapers and cleaning the house, you’ll need to know you’re equally amazing. You probably won’t hear it from your partner since they’re in survival mode and building a company from the ground up, but a truly confident woman doesn’t need to hear it from anyone else. You know you kick a**!
6. Amazing Sex
You and your partner will be like ships passing in the night most of the time—one person is coming home, while the other one is leaving. You send flirty texts and call each other when there are spare moments, but you may still feel disconnected. The first year of a startup is equivalent to having a newborn. Having sex on the regular is a quick and meaningful way to reconnect with your partner and remember that you’re in this together. Make sure it’s passionate and not rushed, keep that connection alive!
This is the mother of them all! There will be many late night events your partner attends, lots of days away traveling going from meeting to meeting with little down time for calls. You may feel like your marriage is put on the back burner while women are pawing at your hot tech geek, but rest easy that your partner just wants to create a bright future for you and he is too distracted to notice anything else. Keep communication lines open. Be his wise sage giving him advice and cheering him on. After all, when he has the world on his shoulders he just wants to come home to his queen that will take his worries away with a hug, kiss and a pat on the back. Then he can go conquer the world again tomorrow knowing he’s supported in this whirlwind life.
You’ve got this! Just breathe and imagine life on your sailboat or in your mansion when this is all over. You’ll back and laugh at the craziness of this all.
Author: Frances Masters
Editor: Catherine Monkman