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Startup life: Startup wife burnout

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Nearly three months have gone by this year and so far I haven't been able to write anything about our startup life. At the very beginning of the year I was so ready for and happy about the year ahead. It looked super bright and exciting. I was all set for it to be incredibly busy, for my husband to be working long hours, lots of solo-parenting and plenty of craziness but I was set for all this feeling positive. 

And then things didn't quite go to plan. There were some extremely stressful, horrible times. They weren't expected. They were super tough to deal with and left me feeling really low, sad and exhausted. 

Fortunately these tough times are over. Done and dusted. Forgotten. The startup is moving forward, bright, confident and importantly, positive and strong in what they are doing. Fantastic. I couldn't wish for anything else. 

But, I am left feeling utterly burnt out by it all. When you work in the startup you are living it all...all the good bits, all the bad bits. When you've been through a bumpy patch, you can all stick together, you can have big team meetings where you cheer each other on, where you reignite all the positivity, passion and drive. But when you are the startup wife (husband/partner) you don't have that part. The positivity doesn't always bounce back so easily. You worry about things because you remember times in the past that were tough and you don't always have the energy to keep on doing this startup life thing. It's a bumpy old ride, it's exhausting and very unpredictable. 

Somehow I have to give myself my own pep talk, my own meeting with imaginary cheerleaders on the side, my own action plan. I need to get the positivity back, so I can be 100% behind the startup. I need to do this because startup life is a team effort. This is for us, for our family. Every decision we take together as a startup life team and that is really important to us both. I know that's not the same for all startup people but for us it is and it's a something that we've grown together, mainly as a result of going through some really tough times but it's made us super strong as a couple and a team. And, personally, I think that it is important for successful startups. 

I also need to be positive because not only does it help my husband when he comes home but it also helps me. I can be super understanding about him coming home and starting work the minute he gets home, or staying late, or going out networking, or....whatever startup life stuff it may be...but only if I am feeling positive and excited about the startup. If I'm feeling exhausted by it all and burnout by all the stress, I don't have any patience with any of it. It get grouchy about all the work. I get upset that he has no time for me during busy weeks. And I don't want to make compromises. 

This week I have really struggled with this and it's been so helpful to sit down and write about it. I really do need to give myself that positivity presentation or something and get back on track!

Feeling down, burnt out and grouchy about it all has made me think about startups and families/partners again. It is something we think about a lot, perhaps because we are determined to prove people wrong and show them that a successful startup plus a (happy) family is possible. If I was working at a startup, I would make sure that partners and families felt included. When tough times were happening or had just been navigated, I would make sure that partners and families were appreciated. I would arrange drinks or a meal to bring back or maintain positivity and excitement not just for the team but for their partners and families.

Yes, I know not everyone in a startup has a partner or a family but lots do. Startup life takes all the drive, energy, passion, positivity and hard work that you can possibly give it. And there are times when there's not really anything left to share with partners and families. That is why it is so important to remember the importance of partners and families. When it really matters, when you have to go all in, when you have to sleep at the office, when you really need them to understand, you need to know they will. So, look after them, communicate with them, invite them to dinner occasionally, say thank-you, say sorry... whatever it is that you do, just remember that if the startup wife burns out, the startup guy probably will soon too.  

{Heart print that always makes me smile even on a dark day by Seventy Tree}

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