Okay, I know what you're thinking. 'Nikki, this isn't a mom blog!' But hear me out. There's a golden nugget or two in here somewhere. Or maybe it's just a memo for my future self and baby #2 or maybe, just maybe, another mom or entrepreneur can relate to something here. I'd like to think we all go through a moment of retrospecting in January and looking at our last year. For me it happens to coincide with my baby's birth 1.17.17 so the changes this past year are huge! I've learned so many lessons, have grown a lot and have become a better person along with it.
Letting Go. This is the very first lesson my baby boy taught me. There are just some things we cannot control. Let go and let them be. Control your reactions and your emotions around them, but let go of having to control them. I laugh at my thought of 'working when the baby sleeps'. I cannot believe I actually thought I'd be able to get 6 hours of uninterrupted focus and work that matters each day. Grandmas are the best. Nannies and childcare are amazing. Without the tribe I have, I truly wouldn't be able to do all this! Okay, back to the point. You go in with a plan and very quickly realize things aren't going to go that way. Letting go and adapting is a huge lesson learned from Day 1.
Patience. I think this is one of the toughest. Baby-led feeding is never going to be mess-free. The thing is, he loves feeding himself and feeling the different textures. He enjoys looking at each piece of food and studies it thoroughly. He absolutely loves running his hands through his hair when he's all done. All I can do is sip my coffee quietly, smile and enjoy the show. I think as entrepreneurs, we tend to work pretty hard and forget that not everyone else operates like this or has the flexibility to make decisions quickly. Learning to be patient and plan for delays has been huge.
Compassion. The boo boos, the diaper rashes, fevers, stomach aches and all of the other aches and pains are something that he's experiencing, not me. I can be frustrated and slightly annoyed that he's whining so much, or I can be compassionate and understanding and put myself in his shoes. Why is he upset? Is there anything I can do to relieve him? How can I help him work through this pain (teething!)? This translates well into customer service issues here at Nikki's Coconut Butter. How can I relate to this customer and how can I help them have the best experience possible?
Motivation. I know that I am a better person because of this little human. I wake up each morning wanting to be the best version of myself and doing my very best to be a good role model for him. Most of you may not know this, but right through my entire pregnancy and up until our due date, I worked 7 days a week in production. Yes, my small team and I had a lot of work on our hands with machines that worked well, but making small batches. In that time I had found a wonderful company to partner with to make our products, but I was afraid we couldn't meet their minimums. I was afraid that we would get stuck with thousands of jars of coconut butter that we wouldn't be able to sell. I was afraid of failing. Sure enough, we knew the baby was coming and something had to change. That was the catalyst to the biggest change in NCB this past year. This business couldn't rely on me anymore on that aspect of the operation and I had to give up some control. Our first batch of production arrived the same day my baby was born. Letting go of the fear and embracing the change allowed us to a. spend time with our newborn b. enjoy each moment without the pressure of going back to work and c. focus on my strengths and areas of the biz that I'm passionate about, like sharing our story here! He gave me that extra push I needed to move forward.
Persistance. You know you've got a tough battle when you're facing a tiny human with your DNA and a toy they absolutely want to play with, which also happens to be your computer/work/business/first baby. It's a tough battle for sure. He's strong willed and determined and gets pretty upset when we take things away from him, but perhaps that's a strength to admire. Hopefully, instead of suppressing this, I can help guide him so I don't diminish this determination and fire within him. Hopefully, this turns into a quality that will help him thrive as he grows. And perhaps, I can learn from him and really fight for the change I want in the food industry.
2017 was a wonderful year for us. We grew in so many ways and learned so much. I can now add Mommy to my list of titles and that feels pretty awesome. I'm excited for this next year to see how we grow and and what we do next!