Being a startup wife (husband, partner) really isn't easy and sometimes it's so stressful that I want to stamp my feet and shout, "just go and get a normal job!" I've lost count of the number of times that I've been sobbing in the evening about how I just want it all to be over and that I can't take anymore of startup life.
This weekend was one of those times. Nothing to do with the current startup but everything to do with some startup legacy stuff, that no matter how hard we try just seems to be taking forever to go away. I got really down thinking that as a startup wife all I get is the stress and the downside, and all of the upside stuff belongs to Stef and his startup team. They are the ones that get the buzz from building new stuff, press coverage, networking, all the exciting stuff. They are the ones getting professional gain in terms of reputation, portfolio etc.
And what do I get to be a part of? The financial risk, the late nights, the stress that comes home. It feels like until the upside really, really outweighs the downside, all I get a share of is more of the downside. And that is such a hard thing to realise. It really made me feel low this weekend.
I have been a startup wife for too long to stay down for long though! Although it sometimes feels like the glory, joy and excitement all belongs to Stef, the fact that he is happy is without a doubt shared with me and the children. A happy Stef, makes a happy family!
I am the first to admit I get really, really stressed when the bad stuff happens but I do love our startup life. It often feels like we are waiting for a big success and the 'in two years time' never seems to come. But, I have that startup belief that one day it will happen and all this stress and upset will have been worth it.
But, I don't want to be living in the future and not enjoying the now. What I know we do have is an amazing partnership, which because of all the startup struggles, is super strong. We have a beautiful family and I am incredibly lucky to be able to spend time, enjoying being a mother, while Stef concentrates on the startup stuff. When it gets all stressful, it's easy to get super grumpy about having given my things up for the startup. In some ways I have but my things are really on hold for the children, not for the startup.
I think as a startup wife, I need to find ways to feel a part of the process, rather than always waiting for some kind of end point. I know that writing about startup life and connecting with other wives and partners going through a similar thing really helps with that. I think a meet-up may be the next step forward! What do you think fellow startup partners? Would that be a positive thing?
Oh and look what's just arrived, the wonderful Flow magazine, with some wise words on the cover that seem so apt for me right now.