Founders don’t take vacations. But I just did. (Shhh. Don’t tell any VCs.)

Nothing says 'vacation' like champagne before noon. (Feeling glamorous at Domaine Carneros winery.)
Nothing says ‘vacation’ like champagne before noon. (Feeling glamorous at Domaine Carneros winery.)

When I was still enrolled in the Founder Institute earlier this summer, at some point my peers started talking about how they were going to take vacations or time off after graduation. We had earned it and were burnt out, right?

But at the same time one of the lessons being imparted to us was that “Founders don’t get to go on vacation.” Look, we get it. If you are running your own business you’re never really not on call. Whether you’re a small time freelancer or powerful CEO, there are occasions when you need to be available even if you’re taking time away.

Meanwhile, DH and I hadn’t been on vacation (sans baby) since our honeymoon 2 1/2 years ago. And we were both coming off some very busy work schedules. It was time. A few months back we had decided that we would go somewhere (anywhere!) in September. We lined up my parents to host DD for a few days and put off planning where we’d actually go til closer to the date.

So when FI ended in July, I kept going. I was jealous of those who took a break, but at the same time I knew that (a) I’d get my turn and (b) it was a good thing for me to press on after FI to find my new working rhythm without the imposed structure of their curriculum. If I had taken a break right away, it may have been really difficult to try to start over again after coming back without having an established routine. Overall, I think the company and I were better for having done it this way.

So with some last minute help from a travel agent, DH and I just got back from 4 nights in Napa Valley, CA. The weather was beautiful, the views were lovely, the wine was delicious, and so was the food. And I had an awesome massage at our hotel to boot. Plus DH and I got to reconnect as a couple without the responsibilities of managing our home or being Mommy & Daddy. It was really nice. We needed a break and getaway as individuals and a couple. And I think we’re returning to our work and our home all the better for having done it.

Cozying by the fire in our hotel room. That's real fire we lit ourselves with hotel-provided matches. Pretty sweet.
Cozying by the fire in our hotel room. That’s a real fire we lit ourselves with hotel-provided matches. Pretty sweet.

But don’t be fooled. I still did work. Just not much of it. I spent about two hours working on the flight out and then did some sporadic email checking, scheduled a few calls for the following week, and things like that. Shortcake’s social media channels were quiet, which is something I could have planned for but didn’t. That’s on me and I’ll try to do better.

Now to start making some local dinner plans so we can enjoy our souvenirs. :)

We may have overdone it. But they were all so good! Now we just don't have to buy any wine for the next year+.
We may have overdone it. But they were all so good! Now we just don’t have to buy any more wine for the next year+.

Startup Mom is written by Coralee Dixon, a NJ mom and founder of Shortcake. Is she “having it all” or losing her mind? Follow along as we find out…(I’m just as curious as you are.)

Burnout

I was so DONE after our FI session this week.

I had spent so much time on Tuesday and Wednesday finishing the assignment for the week (honestly – I really half-a$$ed this one for this first time). My mind was just so burnt, I stopped caring about the quality of the work I was doing. I just wanted to turn off, take a nap, and think about nothing for a day. Thank God my mom was visiting and watching DD for me while I was working.

[Although, I wonder if sometimes that backfires because I know she’s coming to visit, so I don’t do as much work beforehand thinking I’m going to have all this time once she’s here. But then I have so much work to do when she gets here that I don’t have enough downtime and get exhausted (mentally and physically). Anyway, it wasn’t a good place to be in.]

I got dressed and dragged myself out of the house and onto the train. I had just done a hotseat pitch the week prior, so I didn’t spend any time practicing my pitch before class. Turned out that I was chosen to pitch again this week though. I don’t know how, but I’ve stopped worrying because I like pitching, I’m good at it, and the more feedback I get the better.

And I got great feedback. It was the pitch I prepared for the least to-date and I got my highest scores yet (5-5-4). But I know it’s because I spent so much time updating my PPT for last week and really I had all the talking points down so it was just a refresher before I got up there. So I left the session feeling pretty good and hoping to connect with one of the mentors for some technical advice.

I’ve also been chosen as semester president for my FI group. This is exciting and I feel honored, but it also is more work to do so can feel like an assignment. Is it because I’m a mom? They must think I’m super-organized and able to herd people. Ha. Glad to have a VP to help me schedule meetings and such.

So I got home Wednesday night around 11:30 pm and went straight to bed, having my to-do list for Thursday all mapped out so I could get to work. But then Thursday came and I just couldn’t move. Thursdays after FI always hit me so hard. I’m just so tired. Should I be exercising more? Eating more? Sleeping more? Yes. All of the above. I ended up going back to sleep after DH left for work and my mom watched DD. Then I took a nap again when DD went down in the afternoon. I feel irresponsible somehow, or like I’m not working hard enough, on days that I have to take a nap. Is this normal? Do other founders feel this way?

To be fair to myself I think I should be easier on myself with this one. Watching a toddler all day is physically exhausting. I don’t eat enough. I don’t sleep enough. I’m over 30. It catches up with me. The end.

Yup.


Startup Mom is written by Coralee Dixon, a NJ mom launching an online business aimed at helping parents solve their memory-keeping needs. Is she “having it all” or losing her mind? Follow along as we find out…(I’m just as curious as you are.)