Emily Hirsh on Natural Birth, Female Breadwinners, and Childcare
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 42
Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision maternity series, where I interview fellow mother online business owners! Today, we have our most frequently interviewed guest, Emily Hirsh, on today’s episode to talk about all things natural birth, being a female breadwinner and her experience with childcare! Emily Hirsh is a mom of three and a multimillion dollar business owner. Emily and I are also diving into conversations around the pressures of motherhood specifically as a CEO of an online business!
Tune in to hear:
- An honest conversation about the pressures of motherhood while being online business owner
- Emily Hirsh’s personal experience with natural childbirth
- Advice for expecting mothers on navigating maternity leave as the CEO of an online business
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Leah Gervais: Hey visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. We are here with Emily Hirsh, who is officially my most frequented guests ever. Thanks for being here, Emily.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah, I’m excited. I’m honored.
Leah Gervais: So are we, but this is a very different conversation than Emily and I have had before you guys all know how much, how highly I think of Emily and her ad strategy. She’s taught me a lot about ads over the years, but this time we’re having a conversation about motherhood and pressures around motherhood as a CEO, specifically an online business, very specifically, an online business. So I’m Emily, I’m going to let you kind of take the mic to you a little background, but you are a mom of three and a multi-million dollar business owner.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, that kind of sums it up, but yeah, I mean, quick recap, I’ve been in business for six years. I specialize in marketing and Facebook ads now, but I started out as a virtual assistant. My kids were a huge motivation to starting my business to create something that was mine and not, you know, for me, just my identity tied to just being a mom, which is great if that’s what you want. But for me was definitely not going to be enough. So I created that to also then have the freedom to be home, to nurse my kids, to be there when they need me. Um, and so my son is six and I started my business six years ago because of him. So now I have three kids and I am done, but I love them so much. And it is so much fun.
Leah Gervais: Oh, good. You definitely, it made me excited for the whole journey. Um, as, as you know, this is my first, so there’s a lot of unknowns, but, um, congratulations on your business and your babies. And I’m so excited to dig into all things about, um, what pregnancy was like and, and all that. So let’s start with that. So, um, my first trimester totally kicked my and I’d love to hear what your experiences have been like and really just tips about pregnancy. First of all. And, um, and business, maybe you had very easy pregnancies, but what were they with?
Emily Hirsh: Yeah, so, I mean, I am very fortunate that I did have very easy pregnancies. I did have, um, I did have some like nausea, little bit of morning sickness. I never actually threw up with any of my kids, but definitely like the first 12 weeks had the nausea was exhausted. Like, that’s the thing, especially those first 12 weeks, like you just need to sleep like nine or 10 hours a night and you can do that when you don’t have any other kids, but I will say it got harder because then you’re like pregnant with a toddler with a business. And that was definitely hard.
So, I mean, I’m genetically very blessed with my pregnancies, with my birds and I feel very fortunate for that and everybody’s different, but I did have, you know, some adjustment. And I also think with the first one, it’s just such a huge adjustment, like trying to wrap your head around, like your whole life is changing. And so that mentally is a lot. And for me, I was like starting my business, working in super pregnant, like trying to build that. And then, you know, also trying to deal with, you know, the, the pregnancy component. So I wasn’t so sick to the point where it, um, made it so I couldn’t work or do anything like that. I did have to adjust and push through at times for sure. And I was tired more tired than obviously normal. Yeah.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. The, for my pregnancy has been great. Once I got tweaked 12, the first were definitely, I was very tired. Very, I definitely felt less motivated than usual, which are what, which I hated, you know, when you’re so attached to like your business and working and everything, it feels, I just didn’t feel like myself, um, winning your pregnancies. And I’m sure you have a very different answer now than your first one, but when did you start planning or thinking about maternity leave?
Emily Hirsh: Yeah, I mean, oh my gosh, it’s different for all of them. Like the first one, to be honest, I really was like, didn’t take much time. I was just starting my business and had clients and I didn’t want to lose those clients. Like I was still a VA, so it wasn’t like I had a team that I could be like, okay, things are taken care of and I’m going to go on maternity leave. So my first, I honestly didn’t take one and I, but I also wasn’t working like 40 hours. I had some clients and I was able to work, you know, when my son was napping and be home. And then my husband took him and we kind of traded off for the first 18 months of his life. We didn’t have a nanny or any help. It was just us kind of tag teaming it.
Yeah. It was crazy. Like thinking back on it. I’m like I did that. Yeah. Um, and then my second I, um, plan, I had a team a little bit more, but really didn’t have a, like I have now at all. Actually my second is what pushed me to build my team. Cause I was like, okay, I now have two kids. I’m doing the sales calls. I’m delivering for clients. Like I can’t do all this. And so she was kind of the catalyst that made me start building my team. And then my third is like, I feel like I did it right. Like I planned the maternity leave, had the team, got everything ready. Um, I took four weeks and then COVID happened though. So I kind of jumped back into work earlier. I didn’t have to, but so much was unknown and everybody kind of needs a leader then.
And so I chose to step back in. Um, one thing like, you know, you’ll maybe realize when you have your first is you think like they sleep a lot when they’re first born. So it’s actually harder to work when they’re like three months old, but like zero to three months is really not that hard. And you’re, I was almost like a little bit bored and I was like wanting to check in on things because they’re just, they sleep so much all day. And so it’s really actually easier. Like, I’m glad I enjoyed it with, with the last one. And I also knew that was going to be my last. So I treated it a little bit differently than the others. Um, so yeah, like it, it actually gets harder to work when they can start moving around more and they’re awake throughout the day when they’re newborns. It’s easier to find that. I mean, you’re tired, but I was young and I just pushed through it, I guess.
Leah Gervais: Sure. Yeah. I mean, you know, I talked to people, I’ve obviously been talking to a lot of, as many people as I can about this. And, um, I’ve heard that so many women have different experiences in terms of like, when they feel the urge to go back to work. Some people are like, I want it for months. I didn’t want to work. I just wanted to be at the baby and let my body recover. And other people are like three weeks later, I missed work. You know, I miss having something for myself. So I’m not trying to like micro plan that because I want to give myself the space to like, think about it either way. Um, but what would you say, like specifically about your experience in, um, sort of like checking in on work, do you think it’s worth it to like completely check out, like be off social media and not talk to your team at all for a few weeks? Or did you prefer the ability to like check in every few days or every day or something like that?
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. Um, I think I would say I preferred the ability to check in, but also wanted the ability to not have to do anything. Like if I was like, oh, today, you know, I’m exhausted. And I don’t even want to check in nothing would burn down because I did that. But it is nice. Like it’s such a big adjustment and to go from at least me a thousand miles an hour to full stop, like it’s really hard mentally too. And like, I just think not a lot of people talk about that. Cause there’s like this expectation of like, you should take off this much time and enjoy your baby. And you’re a bad mom, if you don’t do that. And it’s like, you can do whatever you want. And I was very conscious of having that present time, but I also needed another place for my brain often to go.
And it like helped. And you know, now, I mean six years ago I wasn’t here, but now I’m fully capable of taking a week, no problems away from work. Leave my laptop at home. Like I don’t have a problem doing that. But when I did have William, my last one, I did want to be able to at least check in with like my main director of operations and hear a couple of updates. And it wasn’t like I needed to be at work, but I appreciated the connection still just to have that other outlet, because it’s such a huge transition having a baby and everything changes, especially your first.
So I think you do have to create like what works for you. And I also like how you said, like you’re open because you may not. I mean, you may be like, yeah, I want three months off. Or you may be like, I’m ready to go back and four weeks or who knows what you want. And I think there shouldn’t be judgment around that because it should be like, whatever is going to make you feel most fulfilled and content during that time, while of course enjoy your baby. Like, that’s something that I didn’t have the setup to do that with my first Dukes. I didn’t have a team. And so I couldn’t do that. My business would have stopped and that wasn’t an option,
Leah Gervais: Right? Yeah. I do feel very lucky though. I have, um, you know, a team at this point to help me and things like that. I will say that I’m ramping it up a lot since I got pregnant, you know, I’m investing heavily in them. I’m helping them get trained and things like that in a way that I don’t know if I would be spending as much money and time on, um, if I weren’t pregnant, but I don’t, I it’s not like I went from, I was by myself when I got pregnant to now I have to like train people in the matter of nine months. Um, but I, I have a feeling knowing myself and I, and I liked that you called that out.
That like my identity is going to now be a mom, which is so new. And the part of my identity that I have had for years and that I love is this entrepreneur entrepreneur in me and this business owner and this coach and this like, you know, creative and to just like detach from it for, you know, potentially months, I don’t want to do that. You know? It just, it feels, it would feel like, like almost a loss or just like too much. So yeah, I am being open, but I appreciate that.
Emily Hirsh: You like can say that, Hey, if you want to work a little bit, there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t mean. The baby sleeps like 20 hours a day. So it’s going to be fine. They won’t even notice.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. One of my clients is a mom and she’s like, literally my business took off when my son was born because that’s when I like had the most time. Cause I was on maternity. Right. She’s like it’s behind the scenes, so. Okay, cool. Well, that’s helpful to hear about maternity leave and obviously it depends on where your business is at, but like making sure that you kind of have things in plan. Okay. So this is personal that I want to talk to you about it because, um, I also am thinking a lot about giving birth and I’d love to hear. So you did all three of your birds, naturally unmedicated and the latter two you did at home. Can you tell me whatever you’re willing to share about that decision and what you would tell pregnant people like me who are considering unmedicated versus medicated?
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. I literally could talk about this all day. Cause I’m like, I’m actually so passionate. It’s like side passion of mine because I changed my life. Um, so like my first, so before I had kids, I watched a documentary called the business of being born. Like a lot of people have probably seen it. It’s like very extreme documentary. And I watched that before I got pregnant. Like I knew I wanted kids, but I watched that and I realized if I’m having kids, I’m either not having them or going to do it naturally. Cause like, this is terrible. It’s basically what I realized. And so I knew that, but then got pregnant and was definitely terrified. Like it’s just so much unknown. You’re like, I don’t, you know, there’s so much like, what’s it going to feel like, you know, am I going to be able to do it?
I’m going to die. Like all these things are so scary. It’s very scary. Especially the first one, because it’s all unknown and everybody’s different. And you know, one person might have a certain experience and then a totally different one. And so you just don’t know. And that, and that is the thing. And I think one of the gifts of kids is they teach you to release that control. And for me it’s like, that’s one of the ways it came up is like, yeah, I chose to do a natural birth and it might go terrible. And I might have to have a season. I am not in control of that. Like that is the reality. And I can educate myself and we did a birthing class and all of that. But what I’ll say is when it comes down to it, like my biggest passion behind it is that our bodies are meant for it.
And that’s what changed my mind, I think. Is one time a midwife said to me, like when you break a bone, that’s not a natural thing. You need to go to the doctor, you need to get pain meds. They have to help you. When you have a baby, you are born, literally made to do that. And so you don’t have to have interventions like you do when you break a bone or you get sick or those things happen. And so for me, like, I don’t know, that just clicked. And I was like, oh, like I can do this. And that was my experience too, is the anticipation was way worse than the actual event. Like I, the anticipation was so much scarier once you’re in it, your body really does just take over. Like, you don’t have to do anything. It just, at least for me, I know everybody’s different, but the reason why I’m so passionate about unmedicated too, is I think if you’re medicated, it stops that from happening taking over, like when it’s time to push your body just knows and you just start pushing like, and then it’s not like the movies where they’re like, okay, now pull it just like it’s they’re doing that because they can’t feel anything.
And so, you know, that’s the, that’s the thing for me that I was so passionate about because I trusted my body and I knew that, and that was my experience too, was, was once it started happening, it was just like, okay, I was just having to get through it. And, um, it is painful obviously. So worth it like that you can get through, you know, that you can get through it. And I think you have to just go into it knowing like one, having somebody like a midwife or something that you really trust.
That was important to me because I knew like if I was in a lot of pain or whatever, like if I had somebody who I knew that they would make the right judgment call and it couldn’t be my husband, cause he wouldn’t know like an expert. So we’ve always had great midwives and that’s been really helpful having someone that I really trust and connected with so that I knew whatever happened, they could make a decision and I would know it was the right decision, um, was really helpful.
And then I, the other thing that helped me because I’m very much, it’s very mental, the pain, like, you know, and so, um, one thing a midwife said to me is like a contraction doesn’t usually last longer than 10 seconds. So in all my labors I’d count down from 10 cause I’m like, I can do anything for 10 seconds, you know? So I would like that. That’s what I did with my mind. And it was so much mind the pain, you know? And it’s yeah, it’s incredible. And, and the thing that, you know, I would say is that your body’s made for it and it will take over and it will do what it needs to do.
And you, you know, like the anticipation is your brain trying to control. Like, can you do it and the outcome and exactly what’s going to happen when it comes down to it. It’s like the time it happens is not up to you, what happens is not up to you and you just have to surrender to that. And the more you can surrender to that throughout the whole experience, the actual better it is. And even less painful sometimes because you just got to surrender.
Leah Gervais: Did you- first of all, so amazing. So first of all, I’m very inspired and congratulations and thank you for being so open about it, obviously it’s a very personal thing. I think, I mean, everything you said resonated with me, but two things in particular have really made my husband and I stand back and say, I think we want her to think about how to do this. Maybe a little differently than we thought. Um, the first is exactly what you said, similar to what your midwife said, like birth. We had a moment where we’re like, wait a minute, this is not a medical condition. It’s actually not at all. Like we go to the hospital and the medical community is there for medical conditions and this is a medical condition. It can become a medical condition and I’m not, you know, I know that I’m saying a lot of this little prematurely, I haven’t given birth yet.
I don’t know what it’s going to be like. And if I end up having a C-section or an epidural or whatever, it’s not going to make an impact on how I’m going to be as a mother and it’s going to be fine. But I really find it useful to talk with people that are on the same page with me, because there’s not that many that I’ve talked to. So that was the first thing is like, it’s not a medical condition. And then the second thing I read my doula had me read this book. And one of the things that really popped out in it was about how women have given birth in comas. And that made me just so that it clearly really clicked in my mind that it is only our minds that get in the way of it. Our bodies are complete, they know how to do it. You don’t actually have to think about it. Yes. You’re going to feel it. And like, yes, there’s things you can do to kind of, you know, work with it.
But your mind is probably what makes it harder because if your mind can, if you can do it without your mind on which you can in a coma, then you, then you can do, you can do it. So I’m working on learning. Um, I’m taking a hypnobirthing class and I also see it as maybe I’m just telling myself this make me feel better, but like I’ve done so much mindset, work, more mindset, work and personal development work than probably most people do in a lifetime as an entrepreneur, starting my business, everything about where my business is now is because of how, of what I did to my mind and how I reprogrammed my mind. And so if I can apply the strength of how much I believe my mind really can make a difference and learn to relax it and learn to meditate and learn to really release. As you continue to say, do I think it’s going to be easy? No, but do I think I can do it? Yes I do.
Emily Hirsh: Yes, absolutely. And so rewarding after every one of mine, you’re just like, I just did that. And it’s actually like, it’s I like feeling it all right. Like it just, it, it brings a different experience to it. Like, yes, it’s painful, but I think it’s actually, see an epidural makes it so you can’t feel the pain, which makes it, so you don’t know when to push, which makes the labor go longer. Right. So it’s like, I actually think in some ways it makes it a better labor experience because you are not stopping and intervening with your body’s natural signals.
Leah Gervais: Right. Right. And I think, yeah, we hired a doula for the same reason you said is, you know, my husband, when he’s, if he sees me in pain, he’s going to want to help me not be in pain. Like that’s where his decision making is going to go. Whereas, you know, a doula can be like, or midwife here in your case, okay. This is what you want. You know, this is what you want with it. So I’m getting really excited about giving birth now, which I know sounds crazy. I’m totally nervous, but I think I can do it. And I think it will be such a beautiful, like, I don’t know. I just want to experience it. Like I want to we’ll do it with my baby. Yeah.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. And, and really the anticipation is worse. Like I definitely on my first, I mean, I cried over it. Like, I don’t know if I can do this. I’m so scared. You know, it is scary because it’s so unknown and you know, you hear such a variety of stories and things. And so it just, once you get into it, all of that will go away and you’ll just get through it. Like, you’ll just do the counting helped me. Like I would just count down my contractions and I knew they’d be done soon. And that got me to the next one.
Emily Hirsh: Do you have any resources, like, did you read any books or any, did you do any like hypnobirthing, aroma therapy, anything like that that helps you to know that-
Emily Hirsh: I did read, uh, in EMA Gaskin’s book, she’s like a really popular one. So I did read that one. And then we did, for my first, we took a birthing class at the Berlin center with the midwife that delivered my son, which was kind of helpful because we were able to build the relationship with her throughout that, because that’s important. It’s obviously like a very vulnerable, you know, event to be a part of.
But I really didn’t like, I know some people like to watch natural births and they like do that. I didn’t do that because that didn’t really help me. It was like, I just don’t want to see it until I get scary. Yeah. Because everybody’s experience is different to you. So I did read some books and then we did take that birthing class for my first. And then my next two, I didn’t, my first was such a great experience that then I went in, you know, okay.
I can do it at home is where he went after that, which was really incredible because, um, my second, my son got to be there for the birth. He was young. He doesn’t remember it, but it was just really sweet. And then my last one came so fast and the kids were asleep. So had him at home, they woke up and he was there. He was Wolverine. And I have like very fast labors and they got faster. And so they were intense and fast, but I’m very fortunate in, in the breathing genes. And it was interesting just like side note. My mom had four kids, but all of them were epidurals. No C-sections thankfully for her, but she was not very like, she was supportive, but she was like, why would you do that? Like, why would you want to do a natural birth, you know, going into it and you don’t have to be a hero in those types of things.
And then she watched it, watched me actually do it. And then she was like, wow, I wish I had the knowledge that you had when I was having kids to know to do it, you know, a different way, because I think I could have had a better experience because in one of her brothers, you know, they had to use like whatever they use to pull the baby out, like interventions that probably didn’t need to happen. So it was really cool to see my mom, like she shifted her perspective at first. She’s like, why would you ever want to do a natural birth? And then she was like, that’s really cool. I wish I did that with my four kids.
Leah Gervais: That’s really special that she was there. Yeah. My mom did all three C-sections and so she’s like, she’s supportive of me, but I think she is a little bit like, why would you do this to yourself? Yeah. I’m just, I’m going to do it. Yeah. I think I’m going to do it this way. Um, okay. I want to shift gears a little bit. Thank you again for sharing that. I love hearing about it and I could talk offline with you about it forever, but, and wish me luck because I still haven’t done it. You actually like have lived to tell the tale.
Emily Hirsh: I want to hear all about it. I’m excited for you.
Leah Gervais: Thank you. Um, okay, so more personal questions. So I know you said that you, you know, your babies slept a lot when they were early, uh, in the early days and all of that. Um, did you breastfeed up until when, and was that a struggle with business because you like kind of physically have to be, have a baby on me during-
Emily Hirsh: Yup. So yes, I breastfed all my kids. Um, my first one tell you is to second one until 20 months and I just almost have weaned my third who’s 18 months. So wow. Breastfed for a lot of years. Um, so I will say like, in my opinion, and people also don’t talk about this right? Breastfeeding is hard. It’s almost harder than giving birth. Not because the event is more painful, but because it’s a very long-term commitment that is different than anything else you’ll do because they, you know, the baby depends on you for their food source. So you lose your freedom like a hundred percent and it is worth it. But on my first, it was a shock. Like it was like, oh my gosh, overnight, I went from like, I can leave the house. I can do whatever I want. And I have full autonomy of my time to now I have a human who needs me and really I’m the only one who can soothe them in the beginning.
Emily Hirsh: Like my husband is great, but he doesn’t have milk. And so the baby just wants me. So it was a hard, it was a hard weeks just getting used to the, the breastfeeding, um, worth it Indian, if you can do it, of course, you know, um, I think some people have different experiences and, and there should be no judgment around that, but I absolutely love nursing, but it was very hard for me and continue to be because it was for me, I couldn’t leave overnight, you know, and I couldn’t have that freedom. And so each one of my kids, I’ve struggled with that a little bit. Each one I’ve prepared myself for what’s coming better. The first was a little bit of a shock with work working from home. It was great because I could easily nurse the baby. I mean, I’ve nursed on zoom calls.
I have a standing desk, I’ll put it up high enough and nurse, you know, while I’m on a call, I wouldn’t do it on an interview or an important call, um, that I couldn’t have a baby on. But with my team all the time, I had the young babies and that’s the thing is like, they need, they need me they’re number one. And so yes, I go back to work, but they’re still my priority. So I would nurse every two hours. I really, my kids didn’t take bottles. They didn’t take pacifiers. I was the pacifier. Like I was the every two hour food source and, and it was hard, but it was worth it. And so, yeah, I just created my schedule. So I could nurse and then once my kids got old enough, like my last one was about three or four months before I let them start being with the nanny.
And that’s when they start, like, they’re awake a lot of the day. So that’s when I really needed the help. And so she just bring me the baby when he needed to eat or I’d take a break, nurse him down for a nap or whatever. So I just like made it work and it was great that I was home and able to do that because that’s, that was like, my priority is that I wasn’t going to ever leave and have to put my child at a daycare. I didn’t want to have to do that separation, especially young. So that was my experience.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. So I’m going to just ask you questions specifically about your most recent, because, because I know you have a team and that feels closest to where I’m at. So, um, you have a nanny that comes during the day you work during the day, and then when your youngest needed fed, she just brings them into you where you feed him and then you bring him back to her whenever you need, whenever you’re, he’s done.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. So with my, my most recent baby, um, I had a nanny and for the first three months, I really like kept him next to me or my husband had him and I, and I wasn’t ready for a nanny to watch him. And he wasn’t really ready. After three months, the nanny started to take him and then I’d nurse him whenever, you know, whatever his schedule was. And I say schedule loosely because that changes a lot with babies. Um, they don’t really have a schedule, but definitely around his naps or, you know, at three months it’s like every two hours that they need to eat. If he’s really upset, she, you know, bring him to me. I could hear what’s going on and I can text her, even if I’m on a call and be like, you can bring them in or whatever needed to happen.
Otherwise yes, I was able to just get work done. And so I had my working hours, which is really like nine to three and I was working unless he needed me. I would go take a break. Or if he was, for some reason, really upset, I’d bring them in on a call or whatever needed to happen. Um, so it was, it was flexible, but I also still had some structure of like, the nanny gets here at this time, stays until this time. And that’s my time to work. Although it can be interrupted by him.
Leah Gervais: Does your husband work from home?
Emily Hirsh: Yeah, he also does.
Leah Gervais: Okay. Okay. That’s so nice. But I’m at my Adam. My husband was so funny. I was like, this’ll be fine. Cause I work from home and he’s like, our baby’s not going to be like the dog that just curls up in the corner and sleeps all day. Like if you’re working, we still need help. Even if you’re home then. Yeah.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. Well, especially after like, I’d say three or four months, like the first three or four months you can for sure. I don’t know how much time you’re planning on taking off, but really they really do sleep a lot and they’re a lot easier to get to sleep and they just want to sleep all day. But it’s when they’re awake. Not, it’s like a lot harder because you need that focus time and you’ll just be interrupted. And then yes, it is their time. Their schedule, not yours. That’s an adjustment too.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, I think, I mean, the way I’m kind of anticipating it is like I’m planning on taking a full eight weeks where I have no commitments or anything. If I feel the urge to work, um, I can always get on things I can always get on meetings. Um, and I can always do things behind the scenes. I have a suspicion, that’s what I’m going to feel the need to do more. I feel like it could be a little longer before I’m ready to like get on a call, especially after giving birth and like, yeah, I probably just won’t, you know, be as put together every day and things like that. So that’ll be a good balance. Um, are you the breadwinner of your family?
Emily Hirsh: Yes, I am.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. Okay. And so how did that, how, what advice can you give for other women that are the breadwinners in their family, thinking about how to make sure that you are managing what you need and your kind of self care needs with, you know, the expenses of the household?
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I will say it’s not easy because you have a lot of pressure on you to be the breadwinner. I mean, I frequently do feel the pressure of like, I have to pay payroll for all these team members and make sure my entire family is supported. It’s not easy. There are hard days. I have a very supportive husband who also is not at all against stepping into untraditional roles. He cooks dinner every night. He steps in and takes care of the kids. When my nanny can’t come like he is the default. He has to works. Um, he has clients that he trains, he just works less than I do. And my income is what supports us. So we have that understanding of like, my work is actually a higher priority than his, if we had to change things around.
And so, you know, if my nanny is on vacation or something, he has to step in and be with the kids. And he’s great about it. Like, he’s, he actually really loves it. He’s really engaged Dad, loves that he can have that time with the kids, um, and be there. And he has no problem doing that. He does the grocery shopping. He helps, you know, around the house, but I will say like, what’s important is that you can’t be the breadwinner and a stay at home mom and do everything in the house. Cause I know some people have husbands who leave and work and they’re also trying to make money. It’s like, you can’t do it all. And so don’t, you don’t need to try to do that. And you will not find men out there who are trying to work and do all the household duties and think that they have to do all of that.
Like I have slowly built my support system. Like I said, when my son was born, we didn’t have help for 18 months. We couldn’t afford a nanny. My business was new, my husband was working and we moved. And so he, you know, he didn’t have his clients anymore. We moved. So my business supported that move. So we just split the day. Like I worked eight to 12, you worked 12 to four and that’s how we did it, you know, for us for 18 months. And then slowly I added a nanny and then a chef and a house cleaner and a personal assistant. And I’ve added that support so that I can have it all and I can have the time with my kids and work, but I don’t have to do it all. And I don’t have to do everything in the house. And I mean, it’s just impossible.
Emily HIrsh: So having that expectation is impossible. So don’t have that on yourself and then set yourself up. If, you know, if you are thinking about having kids or having kids, and you’re the breadwinner, you got to get help somewhere. Something has to give. And if it’s not your partner and it’s and your partner and something else, like you got to figure that out because to me too, I mean, I think you know this, but I work out consistently. Like I go for my walks. Like I still make time for myself because I’ve learned how important that is to.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. So good. So you have, okay, so you have the nanny, um, you have a personal assistant, you have a chef. Is that like a daily thing? They come and make weekly meals for you guys or something?
Emily HIrsh: Um, yeah, weekly. She, and it’s really, for me, the chef, like the chefs for my breakfast in my lunch. And then my husband makes dinner and my kids, my nanny makes them lunch, but it’s usually like something, a sandwich or something. Yeah. So, um, I, for a while for like, after it, my daughter was born. Second child is when I got the chef because I wasn’t eating, I was breastfeeding. And then I was working and I was skipping lunch or I was just like, you need a bar. And I was like, I just, I don’t like to cook. I absolutely hate it. I won’t cook. If the food is not made for me, I will just not eat or I’ll snack.
So after my second child and I could afford it, I got a chef to, um, you know, make it so I could eat healthy and I could take care of myself. I think I had an in between where I ordered like a meal service before getting a chef. Cause that’s good too. Like, they make those pre-made like paleo meals or something that you can order just something because otherwise I wasn’t eating. I was just skipping lunch and barely eating breakfast and waiting until my husband cooked me dinner to eat anything.
Leah Gervais: Right, right. Nanny, is it five days a week?
Emily HIrsh: Yeah, she’s full-time um, now with three kids, she’s five days a week, she works nine 30 to four 30, um, for us. And she also helps with laundry and clean up the house when one of the kids is sleeping. Um, we’ve got she’s full-time now salary paid days off, like legit that’s for me, finding a nanny is actually really hard because it’s a hard position because it’s like a lot of people who are in transition and it’s not like their career. And so when you find someone who is like, that’s what they want to do. Um, she’s truly a part of my family. Like I absolutely love her. She’s like, I couldn’t, you know, she’s like a second mom, especially to Will because she’s been his nanny since he was three months old. And so finding, finding we’ve been through too many nannies and they will quit and be like tomorrow, I’m quitting actually.
Emily HIrsh: Cause I’m going to go move across whatever. Like they’re just a lot of them are in transition. This isn’t their career. They’re not committed. So it’s difficult to find. But when you find the right one, like I take care of my nanny because she, I couldn’t do, I couldn’t do it without her. She travels with us now, like she’s here in Colorado. Um, and it’s just incredible to have that support with, you know, like it’s like, I call her my wife sometimes like we’re traveling and my husband’s not there. And I’m like, this is my wife. She’s like my second mom to my kids. And it’s the best.
Leah Gervais: Uh, I can imagine. Um, we are, um, we have, uh, we hired a night nurse for the first few months of it, which I’m most looking forward to. I feel like that, like the two things I was most afraid of is like, am I never gonna sleep again, breastfeeding? So you made me feel better about breastfeeding and you’re also making me feel better about like, don’t feel guilty, getting help. If I know, I just know I will function better in the world if I sleep through the night. So that was the first time he decided.
Emily HIrsh: Yeah. Yeah.
Leah Gervais: I don’t feel this way. I am so aligned with you so much, but if someone’s listening to this and they’re feeling like how have you felt any mom guilt about like, you know, working full time, um, still going on, walks, things like that. Again, I, that’s not something going through my head, but is that something you’ve experienced? Do you have any?
Emily HIrsh: No, I for sure. Do I for sure do, um, experience it? I think that, um, especially if I am ever away from the house, like if I travel or I don’t see my kids in a day, that’s when I really feel it. Um, but for me what’s helped the most is I’ve created really strong boundaries around like it’s working time or it’s kids time. And so I work about until, you know, 3:30, 4 o’clock, um, usually I fit in a workout in there and then I’m fully with them. And I think where you feel the most guilty is if you’re trying to do two things. So where I feel guilty is if I don’t follow that boundary and I’m supposed to be with my kids, but I’m sending you Voxer messages back and I’m checking on things and I’m not fully present with them. Then I really feel that guilt.
But if I can have that really, it’s not a matter of the amount of time. It’s the quality of the time. Like even if it’s one hour where my focus is fully on my kids and I’m playing Legos or I’m reading, or I’m doing whatever with them, I’m okay. If the rest of the day I wasn’t with them, um, I’m really grateful that I can be around. Cause I can see them throughout the day, like just say hi at lunch or whatever. And that helps too, even though I’m working, but I think that that piece of like you’re either working or you’re with your kids and you’re present or whatever it is you’re doing, you’re working out like you’re fully present in that time has been my biggest contributor to, to not feeling that guilt and to being able to take care of myself and work out and work and be a mom and trying to unplug when it’s time to be with my family is really, really important to me.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. So good. And that’s what your kids want from you more than anything is like the quality of time that you’d rather like if you’re with them, but you’re like on your phone the whole time or you’re stressed out the whole time. Like that’s not really, you know, what’s.
Emily HIrsh: Yep, exactly. And it’s so true. Like I can be gone. It’s just happened. I was gone for like five or six hours with my husband yesterday, hiking and I felt bad like, oh my gosh, it’s a Sunday and we’re not with our kids. And I felt bad. And I came back and asked him, I’m like, do you guys even notice that we were gone? And they’re like, no, I didn’t notice like they don’t, but if they will notice if you’re not paying attention to them when you’re with them. And so even if it’s an hour, literally a day that you can create that time of just like being fully present. And it’s a challenge I will tell you because you’re going from, if you’re working, it’s a different pace to stop and then be with kids in this slow, like read a book and play Legos paste. And it’s really hard. Like that is actually one of my biggest struggles is the transition from, from work to kids. I can do it really well on the weekends when I don’t ever get into work. But if I go into work, it’s hard for me to transition out of it for the rest of the day.
Leah Gervais: Do you find yourself, like if you’re in a really like extreme day of just like working and you know, in the flow, in the mode, um, will you work again after they go to bed or are you pretty strict about once three 30 it’s okay.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. I mean, I used to a lot more now. I really don’t like, it’s pretty rare. Like, I’d say maybe once or twice a quarter that I would do that if it, if I really felt behind, but I, I don’t sleep. Like I’ve noticed I don’t sleep well. If I do that, if I work up until I go to sleep, like I used to do it and not even notice it, but I now, like once you get a taste of like the more balanced life, like you, it’s hard to go back cause then you feel it. And I have had times where I did that and then I worked up until I went to bed and then I slept terrible. And so, you know, I really don’t do that anymore. I used to though in my business, used to be in a place where I had to, when we didn’t have a nanny and my son was young, I’d put him to bed and I’d work for three or four more hours because that’s when I got my work done. And that’s just what I had to do. And so there’s seasons, but I think your ultimate goal should be that you don’t have to do that.
Yeah. That you have the balance and that you just have to work on it. Okay. I have two more questions for you. I’m trying to narrow myself down because I obviously could talk to you about this. If I, if I, if, if we could, um, one is, I just want to circle back to what you said about like being a breadwinner. There is pressure on you cause you have payroll and then you have your entire family. I’m sure you guys, you know, you have you own your house. I think I’ve heard you say, right. Like give a mortgage, things like that. Um, tips for handling pressure.
Leah Gervais: Do you have like a stress reliever that really helps you? It sounds like you work out every day, but anything that you just want to share.
Emily Hirsh: Yeah. I mean the self care is really key. I go for a walk every day. Um, I work out probably four times a week of doing like a separate weight workout and, and really like what I’ve learned over the last years is there’s a lot of things that we think are really urgent, really stressful, high pressure that we’re putting on ourselves. And for me, what I’ve had to realize is like, here’s what you can control and here’s what you can’t control. And so feeling that pressure is fine, but putting like that anxiety and that voice in your head of like, well, what if this? And what if this? And you know, it’s like, if you have payroll, you know how fast your account can drain, like you can have savings, but something can happen. And in two weeks you could not have that savings. And so it’s like, that’s the reality.
And I just trust that. I’ll always figure it out no matter what happens. And that I do have my husband, you know, we do obviously have savings. That’s important, but I think a lot of it, what I’ve realized is in our head that we create this pressure and there’s sometimes that I feel like, oh, I got to get on and work tonight because I’m feeling the stress and that’s going to help me if I do something about it. And then I’m like, no, it’s not actually that urgent. It can wait until tomorrow. And there’s a lot of power in just like walking away, sleeping on something and just letting yourself feel it. But realize it’s not as serious as you often make it because at least for me, like, I’ll definitely create like worst case scenarios in my head or feel that pressure. I also do a 10 minute meditation every morning and I try to have a really unplugged morning routine.
So I don’t really touch my phone for the first couple hours. And I find that, you know, just the self-care keeping yourself balanced mentally and, and taking care of yourself first, because what you don’t want to do is be like, when I hire that team member, when I launched that funnel or when I hit this business revenue, then I can take care of myself because there’ll always be something. And so I’ve definitely learned that of like, it’s, non-negotiable that I go for a walk every day. It’s non-negotiable that I have that time and everything else we’ll just have to wait. Yeah.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I think like my favorite, one of my favorite things about what you just said that I think is such an overarching theme to learn about business. And I’m also trying to really transition into like pregnancy and motherhood as I navigate this, is that like the, the mental work is not to like get yourself to a place where you will never have stress or you’ll never have problems, or you’ll never have financial issues. It’s to know that if you do, you can handle it. Like you’re strong enough, you are smart enough. You’re a moat, you’re ambitious enough. And you’re driven enough that whatever comes your way, you’re going to be okay. And I think that if you can, like, I know for me that was a huge switch for business because I used to think like if I can just get my business to a place where like we never nothing bad ever happens.
And what I realized, the more powerful thing is like, actually business is gonna have challenges, but I can handle them because I’m smart enough. And yeah. So I think that if you can apply that to like the pressures that you probably feel with as mother had been, then that’s really powerful. Yeah. Okay. My last question for you, I think you’re gonna be open to this, which I already appreciate about you is, um, any advice on how you have used children or how I can use this pregnancy or how anyone out there can use it to actually leverage their business and become a better entrepreneur?
Emily Hirsh: Oh yeah, for sure. I swear each one of my pregnancies by business grew because of them, because I call it nesting in the business. Like I swear, it’s a thing, like instead of nesting in the house, I had nested in the business because like you’re preparing for this massive thing. And so your instincts are going to be to make sure you can step away from the business and that you can have this time that everything’s taken care of and your businesses. Okay. And you can take care of your baby and you’re okay. And so for that, it, it pushes you before the baby comes, I think, to find like where you are in the business, that you shouldn’t be and systems that named the need to be put in place, because it’s telling him, you know, setting a business up to say that the CEO can be gone for eight weeks.
Like that’s an ultimate challenge, right. To be able to be able to do that and get the business to that place. And then I think after the baby comes, you really just start to look at your time different of like, you know, my time is either going to be with my baby in this quality time, or I’m going to be working in that better be the most quality thing that I’m doing in the business. And if it’s not, and I could hire it because my time is now more valuable than it used to be. You’ll experience that of like really questioning your time. I have a friend who’s like watched me and she’s, um, wants to have a baby. And she’s like, I almost want to do it because I think it would force me to have better time management. Because for me, it’s like my nanny leaves at four o’clock.
And so that’s my cutoff. And I have to have my work. Dad, I have to have my stuff done. I have to have my emails answered, whatever. I can’t go into the night and just like flex have dinner later. And you’re like, her life is so different with her husband. And so that it will force you to evaluate your time, to make sure that your time is being used to the, to the best quality and to find like, where are the places that you have to step in, otherwise your business wouldn’t run because you’ll fill those gaps before the baby even comes, like, just wait your third trimester. You’re going to be like crazy. I swear, I’ve talked to many pregnant women. It’s like a thing like nesting in the business. It’s pretty amazing how much you get done in those last couple of months.
Leah Gervais: I’m looking forward to it. I do feel a little bit of it already. Did you not, did you have nesting in your home?
Emily HIrsh: Yeah, I for sure did mostly just like organizing, cleaning? Um, no, I, for sure I did that too. And getting everything ready. Yeah. I for sure did that too. And, and just like in the business, like you just, or I dunno, it’s like you got this deadline, the duty and you’re going to get everything done before then. And that’s how I felt with all of them.
Leah Gervais: Okay. This really is the last question, but just to like clarify out there, um, I feel like there’s, there’s like little whispers in my head and I think that this can happen to anyone at any time where you’re like, am I ready for this? And how do you like shut out this voice? Like, there’s no perfect time. You’re making the perfect time now is going to be the perfect time. So
Emily HIrsh: Yeah. I mean, yeah. Yes. I mean, especially the first, I think the first was really definitely that because there’s just so much unknown and I think we were a similar personality. Like I, up until the point of controlled everything in my life, right. Like all my decisions and I was fully in control and that’s like the gift that kids actually really teach you from pregnancy and forever. But I think, yeah. I mean, trust, trusting that trusting that there is no perfect time, just like anything in business, right? Like there’s no perfect time to do, to make that hire, to do this. Like there’s always going to be something and it’s same, same with kids. And like that’s actually part of the journey is figuring out how to navigate the challenges that come up or the components of that. But like the perfect time is now honestly.
And I think like for me, actually, all my kids were planned. So I mean like a little bit, but not really, especially the first one. And so I had that a lot. I was very young too, and it was not part of the plan. It was not part of my life plan at that time. But afterwards I just knew, like, it was exactly a part of the plan for so many reasons. One of them being, you know, it forced me to, to value my time different. I think if I didn’t have kids, I would work like 12 hour days. I wouldn’t my time, the same. Like they’ve really gifted me that, and I think there’s a bigger reason, like why it happens when it does happen.
Leah Gervais: I agree. Yeah. Beautiful. Well, Emily, thank you. Thank you for being so vulnerable with us. Thank you for sharing your journey and congratulations on everything you’ve done. You will probably receive some frantic DM’s from me over the next few months.
Emily Hirsh: Feel free. I love it. Like I w yes, I love it. And I think we should all be supporting each other more because people it’s just, you know, it’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be okay and it’s going to be so worth it. And you’re not alone.
Leah Gervais: Thank you. Thank you. And hopefully I’ll have a really triumphant one after the birth to share with you as well. And yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I’m nervous about maternity leave, but I feel like I have such a great audience of so many female entrepreneurs who either are moms or want to be moms one day and I just, I think they’re going to support me. I think it’s going to be great. So thank you for sharing your journey and you’ll definitely be hearing from me. Thank you for being such a leader also for so many moms out there.
Emily Hirsh: Thanks for having me.
Leah Gervais: Awesome. All right, everyone. I hope that you guys love this episode. DM, Emily, as always. If you have any questions, here is your biggest vision.
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