Planning for Maternity Leave as and Online Business Owner with Tara Zirker, Founder of Successful Ads Club
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 31
This episode marks the commencement of the entrepreneurial Mother’s mini-series! This series will feature online business owners who are mothers! Those of you who follow the show know that I am pregnant with my first child, so I couldn’t think of a better time to interview and pick the brains of some of my fellow business owning mothers.
This first episode of the series features Tara Zirker, founder of Successful Ads Club and mom of three. Tara is someone I have looked up to since the start of my business. She is a genius online business owner and mother of four! Tara dives into what she did right and what she wishes she would have known before leaving for maternity leave.
Tune in to hear:
- Maternity leave tips for online business owners from the CEO of Successful Ads Club
- Tips from Tara Zirker on creating a self sustaining business and team whether you are a soon to be mother or not
- How to grow your business during times of your life where you can’t necessarily be in the driver’s seat
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Leah Gervais: Hi visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I am your host, Leah and I am excited and honored to have Tara Zirker with us here today. Hi Tara.
Tara Zirker: Hello. So excited to be here with you and everybody listening in!
Leah Gervais: This is such a meaningful moment for me personally. So, uh, for those of you that don’t know Tara, she is a Facebook ads genius. She is the founder of successful ads club and she is also the founder of Sunbeam communications and Tara feel free to brag about yourself any further than that, if you want.
But I fully thank her for like why my business took off in many ways. She taught me everything. I know still about Facebook ads to this day. She is absolutely brilliant. And on top of that, she is one of the nicest, most genuine people I have met in online entrepreneurship and she is a mother of three. So we have so much to learn from her. And today we’re going to focus on motherhood, but is there anything else you want to share about yourself, Tara, before we do?
Tara Zirker No, I think that’s great. I love it.
Leah Gervais: Okay, awesome. So, uh, as we’re recording this, I am 20 weeks pregnant. And you have your, you have your third child is five months old. Yup. That’s right. Tell us a little bit more about the three.
Tara Zirker: Yeah, we’ve got a four year old, a two year old and a five month old. Um, so it feels like you’re managing a small zoo most of the time. Um, and we have tons of help to help us and, and still, it feels like a zoo, but, uh, yeah, we, we get along.
Leah Gervais: Okay. Amazing. All right. So why don’t you take us back a little bit, I’d love to go back to kind of the area, like when you started your own business and then after that time you either decided to try to start getting pregnant or you did start getting pregnant. What did the timeline look for you and how much of it have you kind of prepared for?
Tara Zirker: Yeah. Okay. So, um, I’m the type like many of you listening in who always had a million businesses as a kid, you know, didn’t quite know what that meant about, you know, you, you didn’t know about yourself like, oh, I like, I like business or I feel entrepreneurial, but when I, um, got into college that I would just, you know, have a normal job really fought the urge to at the time.
Really the only option I kind of was fully aware of was like freelancing and I loved to write. So I think, no, I don’t want to be a freelance writer. I want to, you know, a steady stable job worked for the government, worked in a couple, doing a couple, um, uh, jobs in an agency and ultimately could not fight that urge any more to go out on my own. So at the time I wasn’t fully aware of the whole realm of the business world, all the possibilities.
So I called myself a freelance writer, went out on my own and, um, pretty instantly had, um, you know, great paying freelance writing positions and, and really steady income that way. So that was exciting. Um, and eventually somebody asked me to start doing marketing for them and, you know, I’ll just spare you the saga, but that took me down the road to developing my own agency, discovering advertising the power of advertising and never looking back once I figured out, you know, that you could, um, do advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and all the other platforms, Google Pinterest, LinkedIn, and you could attract customers and clients to your business that way and shortcut kind of the organic and I love, I love organic.
I started in organic, I will always have a fondness for it, but once I figured out, you know, with a little bit of budget, what you could do, I was hooked. And, um, Leah, you know, my whole, um, you know, my love of advertising well, along the way, I knew that. So I’m working at these jobs and love my job. So, you know, people always get annoyed with people saying like, um, get rid of your nine to five. And it’s like, well, you’re going to get a nine to five with your own business for the first little while. Um, hate to break it to everybody. But for the first little while, if you’re full-time in your business, it’s gonna probably be-
Leah Gervais: A lot more.
Tara Zirker: A seven to, you know, six could be, you know, who knows. But, um, um, so I knew that I wanted to get rid of let’s call it, you know, like former employment and really go out on my own because I knew that I wanted to eventually have my own business, um, that would support, like that would allow me to have a business and be a mom. I knew that having a career and being a mom, especially on the east coast where we lived in a very expensive market like Yulia, um, I knew that my salary would have to be quite large for that to be worth it with the cost of childcare and everything that goes along with it. So I was like, do I stay at a career where I’m kind of maxing around out, around, you know, 70 to 80 a year?
And yes, I could really push my career and I could definitely achieve over that or do I start my own business? And, oh, and going back to that career idea, and that will come with a short maternity leave, and that will become really hard to manage a family and work, you know, or do I go start my own business and hopefully build it enough so that when I have children, I can back off of it just a little bit. Um, or during seasons, you know, as us moms tend to do, sometimes we push hard and sometimes it’s just the nature of the beast. You have to back off a little bit, let your schedule be a little bit more flowy and flexible so that you can accommodate summers for example. Um, so all of that kind of went into my equation. I talked to my fiance now, husband, and I just said, listen, I am going to quit my job.
Tara Zirker: Um, you still need to marry me, like, don’t get, you know, worried that I’m like a flaky person or something like that. You still need to marry me and you need to trust me. And this is probably going to suck here and there for a couple of years. And the level of suckiness, I don’t know that he was prepared for. I certainly was, but, you know, there’s certain low moments such as when, um, we were, we were very behind in our revenue and I had to ask my husband if we could pay our payroll out of our family savings account, you know, that was like level of, of suckiness that, that he was not prepared for. And, um, you know, poor guy, I mean, he’s an accountant. He works for the government. I mean, he’s about as stable and steady and like, and not entrepreneurial as they come.
And then there’s me, you know, spending $30,000 on masterminds all the way. Like he just did not get this world at all. Um, but I knew that what we needed was we needed to get a business set up to a place where the momentum could carry us through kids. And that’s what we did. So yeah, it took a lot of work, you know, what it takes to build a business, um, a lot of failure and a lot of success went into it and that’s what happened. Um, when my first was born, we were off to a good start revenue wise. Um, but yeah, I was, I was not fully prepared. I will say for the transition from, you know, uh, not having kids to having kids and a business. It was, it was quite a ride.
Leah Gervais: Would you say that? So my, um, you know, kind of, what’s going through my head and what has gone through my head since I found out I was pregnant. Is that just like any big thing in life? There’s never going to be an exact perfect time for it. So I was very, very excited to be pregnant. And, you know, then there’s still these thoughts in your head. That’s like, oh my gosh, how is our life going to change? How is my business going to change? Everything is about to change in the best way possible, but in so many ways. And so what advice could you give to people that are listening to you and they’re thinking, okay, I do, I know my business is in a good place, or I know that I’m almost there. Um, do you have like sort of some words of encouragement to remember that it’s never going to feel that perfect or do you feel like there?
Tara Zirker: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, focus on kids first, do not worry about your business being to the right place, your life being to the right place, kids first, kids first, always because here’s the thing. And unfortunately, you know, we kind of, we kind of played the waiting game a little bit. And so by the time, you know, we’re three years into our marriage and I’m like, okay, let’s do this. And unfortunately it took us almost another two years to have pregnant. And so I wish that we had just started from the beginning, you know? Um, there’s no perfect time. There’s no perfect time, right? Less energy. When you get older, hopefully you have more resources to hire more. So there’s like an advantage there. But I would say, um, kids first, I mean, as soon as you feel like your marriage, your partnership is in a good place and you’re both, you know, we were both extremely nervous.
Everyone I know was extremely nervous. I feel like it’s never a good time. So just focus on kids first and also focus on your outcome, your final outcome. Like we knew we wanted three kids and for us, you know, people think we’re crazy to have three under four, but it was like, if we don’t do this, now we’re both pushing 40. Um, this is going to get really a lot harder if we have, you know, huge gaps in between. So there’s as women, there’s obviously realistic things we have to consider with our ability to have children and does get a little harder as you get older and things like that. Definitely not impossible. But, um, I would just say it, the second you start feeling like, you know, curious about what it would be like to have kids or you’re feeling like I’m ready, but nervous. Just do it. There they’ll come. You’ll do it.
Leah Gervais: I needed to hear that because that’s how I did it. Once we heard the whisper, we were like, let’s just do this. Yeah. Okay. So what I’d love to zoom in on now is, um, some your first trimester with your first pregnancy. So this kicked my butt. This was a lot harder than I anticipated it to be. And I know my situation might’ve been a lot or a little bit different because I think that I also was very lonely during my first trimester for a few reasons. One, uh, I got pregnant when we were living in Miami and we only lived in Miami for a year due to COVID. So I didn’t really form deep enough friendships during the nine months we had been there so far with someone that I felt comfortable sharing that I was very, very newly pregnant with. So I didn’t really tell anyone near me and I didn’t have family near me.
I didn’t tell my own mother until eight weeks in. And I found out four weeks went in, uh, for, I wanted to tell her in person and I knew I’d see her at eight weeks. So no one really knew, and I didn’t really have any friends or family that, um, that were, uh, that knew or that were around me. Additionally, um, I don’t think women talk enough about how hard their first trimester is, because I think by the time we share that we’re pregnant, you’re into your second. You kind of don’t want to think about it anymore. You know, you’re kind of like, I’m here. This is just what I want to talk about. And it’s still very hard to open up about for, for me. And I also feel like I didn’t want to, even once I did start telling people properly digest the struggles I was having, because I felt a guilt because I felt so grateful to be pregnant.
And I knew that that was such a blessing. So I almost felt guilty feeling these struggles. And it was just a very isolating lonely time that I didn’t know how to process. And now I just wish I could go back and kind of hug myself and say, this is a huge change to your body is a huge change to your hormones, your marriage, your life. It is. Oh, okay. That it’s a lot to process, um, and have given myself a little more grace and I am very grateful that I was a business owner during that time, because I had more control over my schedule, but there is an additional pressure, um, to show up for your clients who don’t know, you’re pregnant to show up for your team who does it know you’re pregnant. And I would just love to kind of hear what that was like for you and how you navigated that and what you’d like to tell for some moms.
Tara Zirker: Um, the first trimester is brutal that openly third trimester also has its own form of second trimester. I live for typically my last pregnancy. I never got a second trimester, second wind. I was sick all the way through until 36, 33 weeks. And I started to turn a tiny bit. It was the most brutal pregnancy and, and you know, my motto always in life for everything is just, just show up. It doesn’t matter if you show up as a drowned rat, just show up because you know, or I should say looking like a drowned rat, right? Like just so up. And it’s amazing if you’re just there as present as you possibly can be. People often don’t even notice. And, um, if they know you’re pregnant, then they’re usually very empathetic. But just showing up honestly is the key to surviving pregnancy, especially as a business owner, because you do have a lot more demands on you.
Um, and once that baby’s out the demands, you know, that’s tenfold. So you’re going to get used to, um, you know, for me, it was like an increase in capacity was needed everywhere. And I just did like this little exercise on myself where I just, and I do it still all the time where I just increase my own capacity and all the areas that I need it. But I would just say for everyone, listening, and you have to figure out how to increase your capacity because having a little baby that’s dependent on you, that’s another that’s that’s next level.
Leah Gervais: Do you have any, do you have anything that you’ve done during your pregnancies that have helped take things off your plate specifically?
Tara Zirker: Yeah. I always, um, I am my focus right now for the next two years is developing a self managing team. So a team lead team, self managing team, a team that requires very little direction. And so, um, we’ve always been very process-driven SOP and, um, everything has a process. We try to, we try, we’re not always great at it, but we try to make everything, um, you know, like we have a bunch of coaches for example, so we try to make it so, you know, if you go to coach a or coach B, you’re getting the exact same sort of, um, templated experience. So we template everything. Um, that makes a huge difference. I will share Leah, when I, well, maybe we’re going to get to this. I’ll, save my, um, experience of actually on maternity leave because I really messed up my first one and I excelled at my second and I did all right for my third, so-
Leah Gervais: A nice even medium
Tara Zirker: Averaged out, but the first one I messed up royally and I will say it’s because we didn’t have those, those processes. We were just, I just, I had no idea how to prep a company, um, and now, and if you want, we can just pop in there. Cause I think that’s where most of my tips, um.
Leah Gervais: Sure. I mean, that’s a huge question I have is like, well, I guess kind of the place that my head’s at, I mean, I haven’t thought too much about the maternity leave portion other than the team building aspect and how to, how to start preparing for that. Now that is kind of my focus, but I think, you know, for someone listening out there and then I’ll totally just let you take the mic and give us any tips at all. Um, tell us about your experience, but that I just have no idea what to expect in terms of being a business owner. Am I going to want to take four months off?
Which in theory I have the luxury of doing, because I worked for myself or am I going to have six weeks with a baby and be like, I miss a little piece of my identity and I want to work a little, I have no idea. And so I want to kind of set myself up for where I can work if I want to, but I don’t have to. Um, but you know, I hear different things from different people and I really just don’t know what to expect. So I’d love to hear what you did wrong and then what you did. Right. Okay.
Tara Zirker: So first my first, um, maternity leave was with my oldest daughter. Um, unfortunately had a really complicated pregnancy at the end and she ended up in the NICU. Now I had not prepared my company at all for, um, for me to be gone longer than three weeks. So I said it was gonna take three weeks off now in my mind. And this is very naive. I thought, oh, I’m so strong. Like I’m a strong woman and I can totally, you know, three weeks people take six, I can do this in three. I thought this was all about me. I was so naive to the needs of a baby because a maternity leave has, I hate to say it, nothing to do with you mamas. Um, it is everything to do with a little baby that has literal physical requirements to be eating every two hours. And that means you’re going to be up every two hours all night long for several weeks. You are not going to be, your brain is going to be basically closed off during, you know, your first six to 12 weeks. Um, while you are literally like your whole body is this child’s body. You are literally their home, your breasts, if you’re breastfeeding, that is this child’s home.
Okay. We are back. So maternity leave
So, um, so first one, basically when I came back three later, I had everyone, uh, my clients upset with me for, um, you know, not having their deliverables on time for my team, my team. They did an amazing job for what they were prepared for at the time, for the lack of systems that we had for, you know, them just say, like I had literally never taken a vacation at that point in my business. I was still young in business.
So, you know, we’re a few years in. Um, and I mean, really, I should have been taking vacations all along, along the way, but I just hadn’t. So they were not prepared for how to lead the company without me. Now I learned from that fortunately. So, um, you know, I would call that like a dumpster fire by the time I, my, my oldest was three weeks old, you know, keeping in mind she had spent the first week in NICU, um, I had was back to work 40 hours a week.
Um, it was just, it was a disaster. This poor little preemie baby desperately needed her mom. She needed more time with me and it took me weeks to be able to clear through, uh, our clear, a path where I would be able to spend more time with her. So it was, it was a mess. It was, um, it was just, you know, it was not fulfilling for anybody. Um, and it just about dataset. Now, I thought during that time, one huge gift from that was I thought that all of my clients would leave me. They were all so upset for, um, you know, their work product really going down in quality during that time that I thought I was, I thought all those contracts that we had, I had worked so hard all those years for, I thought they were gone and I literally had to tell every single client I am so sorry.
You know, I really didn’t know what I got myself into. And I was just super humble about the real mess that I had, or I should say transparent with the real mess that I created. And I said, I did not realize, you know, what a transition this would be. And if you’re willing to stick with me, it’s going to take me six weeks to kind of figure out this mess. But I promise you that I will work hard to get you, you know, to get you back to where we normally are. I lost during that time, I lost $500 in revenue. So one client said, I totally get it. I want to stick with you for all of our other services, but this one, I feel more urgency on. So I’m going to outsource this to another team and you’re going to keep everything else, but get it fixed, you know, get us back to normal.
And, um, and that was it. And all of these tips, I know, and I thought we were just toast. So it gave me the gift of realizing like your work relationships. You’re developing these relationships with your clients and your customers. They’re much more elastic than we ever think they are for the first time in my business, I felt like I exhaled. And I finally just lean into the relationships that I had built. Like if I had been working with a client for four years and they had a bad six weeks with me, they weren’t going to leave me. They were probably annoyed. They were definitely frustrated. Um, but we had built so much of our working relationship at that point that they weren’t going to leave me over a six week. Um, now it was a mess. They knew it, we knew it, but they weren’t going to leave me over it.
And so that was such a gift in my business because I finally, from that point on, I started doing things so differently. And as many mothers do, I started doing things more efficiently, more effectively, and honestly so much better. And so for my next maternity leave, which came two years later, our, um, little middle girl was born two years after my oldest. And for that maternity, I spent most of my maternity doing short test rounds of maternity leave.
So I would leave in the middle of the week for a day. I would leave in the middle of the week for, for, you know, three days, four days, things would break all along the way. So I come back after one day, you know, one day usually everybody was okay, two days, uh, things were like piling up in my inbox. Like, Hey Tara, we need to know this, that and the other.
And I would just say, okay, new systems in place here, you guys don’t need to ask me these types of questions. And you guys can, you can make decisions on these types of things. And I see that we need a new hire to help us with this. So I would, you know, do four days I would come back and literally expect that things would break and they did. And then I would say, okay, what didn’t work during this four days? Like where were things bottlenecked? Cause I wasn’t around and then fix them. And we did five days, six days. I actually did almost an entire month where I told my team, I was head down working on projects and not to bother me. So I did an entire month before I ever did my maternity leave of pretty much like no communication with my team.
And of course I was there. I was in the background working on big projects that I wanted. And I was literally just watching them in slack, seeing how they worked, seeing where things didn’t work. And again, coming back and fixing it when I took my four month maternity leave during that time. And by the way it was, I mean, some people say that like I hear maternity leaves are so boring. I have not had that experience of it being boring. Um, and, and not for a second, did I want to return to work until four months in? Um, and literally, for that maternity leave, I read 60 books. I did seven or eight courses that had just been sitting on my computer that I’ve always wanted to get around to. Oh my gosh. It was wonderful. It was literally like an intellectual sabbatical for me to just step away, not think about my business and to watch what my team was doing because I had prepped them for so many months beforehand.
We actually grew during that time. So I can’t remember exact revenue numbers, but I think before I left, we were at like 60,000 a month. And when I got back, we were anywhere between 70 and a hundred thousand. Um, so they had grown us while I was away. And, um, it was amazing.That maternity leave, I re-entered work very slowly. Like it was so beautiful. And then this last one, um, I do feel like I didn’t enjoy it quite as much because I was working on work projects in the background and I never fully stepped away and just like immersed myself in, you know, just something not work related. I was kind of throughout my maternity leave, working on things. And I must say it was not as fulfilling or relaxing. Um, I think I did my second, the best, the second, if I could just, I should have done that for my third.
I just thought, oh, you know, I think that I can do some work stuff. Like no one will know that I’m working. I’m not going to be on slack. I’m not gonna do anything. That’s day to day. I’m just going to work on big projects. And I just felt like I was a little bit too on, you know, like my brain was just in that masculine mode of kind of communal producing. And I never really felt the full immersive effect that I felt during my second. So, um, teams still did great. Not quite as well as, as my, as my second I must say. And I believe that’s because with my second, I, you know, with my third, I kind of just thought, well, it’s the same team and they kind of know the drill, right? They’ve done those practice rounds. And I should’ve been more intentional about saying, Hey guys, I’m gonna step away for three days.
And we’re really gonna, you know, we’re going to see where we can improve our processes and I didn’t do it this time. I just figured the same team. They know the drill and, um, and they did great, but it just wasn’t quite as smooth as that second. So, uh, hopefully some good lessons for everyone to take away about, you know, how to really give yourself the gift of stepping away. And it’s more than giving yourself the gift. I’ve gotta be honest, it’s giving your babies the gift of you. Um, and, and, and it’s you, your emotions, yes. But at that age, it’s really your physical body. And when you feel rushed to get back to slack or on a call, they feel it, they don’t relax as much. I mean, it’s, it’s, you can tell a difference in their nervous system when you are fully relaxed and you’ve got the gift of time to give to them.
And I will say most women, I think when we step away from maternity leaves, we think it’s about us and us recovering. And it is, it is, it is, but it is really about that baby having time to bond with, I mean, think about the bonding for that baby too. They need hours to bond with their parents at this, at this age. It’s not about, you know, the love languages and well, I’ll just give him words of affirmation. He’ll be fine. Note, they need actual, it’s all quality time for every baby, with their mothers. And they need that time with you to bond. They really do.
Leah Gervais: Mm. This is such helpful advice. And, um, not only is that a gift to you and to your baby, but to your business so that you’re not building a business that you are codependent on or that’s codependent on you too. So very, really inspiring. It is intimidating. I’m not going to lie. It is intimidating as I’m sure you can understand to, you know, go from being in the weeds every day to having this, what will always kind of be my first baby, which is my business. Um, but it’s like, you, you need to rise to that occasion because life isn’t meant to be about being in your business every day.
Anyway, so this is a good example of when you kind of have to figure that out anyway. So thank you for sharing all that. And I think the final thing I really want to make sure we touch on, because I, I just could pick your brain on this forever is, um, how you started with childcare. When did you start? It sounds like, um, oh, I have one more question after this for you, but it’s a, it sounds like you breastfed all of your kids so that you, so I’m sure you didn’t have like a night nurse or anything like that. When did childcare start? What does that look like now? Any tips on that?
Tara Zirker: Yeah. We have had a nanny from the time. My oldest was three weeks old. When I went back to work, we’ve done. Manny’s the hard way we’ve done nannies the easy way. So, um, we’ve definitely learned along the way. Um, some of my best tips that I can share is, um, you know, hire for personality, someone who’s going to work really well with your child and your family. I had no idea that babies could have preferences for these things. My oldest and she, she is kind of a unique personality. I know every parent says that, but if I compare her to my other kids, I’m like, no, she’s really truly a unique personality.
Leah Gervais: I remember you telling me that she like hired your nanny, man.
Tara Zirker: She is a child of preferences. And honestly, when she was in the NICU, um, the NICU nurses said, you know, we’ve seen thousands of babies. I’m going to tell you this one is like top 1% of most, uh, stubborn, most difficult, challenging, like you, she is going to give you a run for your money. And the books I have had to read to be able to learn how to have the relationship I want with this, with this baby. You know, she, she’s my little challenger on everything. And, um, I have such a specific vision and for all the moms out there, you know, I do recommend like cultivating a vision of what you want your relationship to look like with your kids and, and, um, you know, like imagining their future and imagining your future with them has given me, it has been the best thing I’ve done in, in parenting, like mindset wise is just like, I pray over them.
I think over them, I think over them all the time, you know, and you know, their interests at the time, Hazel loves to loves art right now. So I imagine her as an artist and, um, and just, it just broadens your horizons for who you’re your child’s going to become. It’s, it’s, it’s a great practice. But beyond that, so back to nanny, um, she’s just always had very strong preferences.
So you might have a baby that’s happy with anyone, but some of you might also have babies who really have preferences for personalities, and you need to listen to that early, um, you know, hire slow and fire fast. That that definitely applies to your nannies as well. And listen, if it’s not a good fit for your babies, they’re not enjoying it either. They want kids that they can bond with. They want kids that they can have a lot of them like lifelong relationships with.
And if there’s not, if there’s a bonding issue, they don’t want to be in that relationship either. Um, the other thing that I will say is we have switched from nannies to AU pairs. And so we have an AU pair who lives with us full time, right now we’re between old pair. So we’re back to nannies and summer sitters and, and all of that, but we love the AU pair program. Um, I love having somebody at all times, like extra hands around the house, always, and there’s definitely limitations.
So they can’t do, you know, certain household duties or chores or anything like that is a cultural exchange program. Um, but they do everything related to kids so they can cook for kids. They can do kids’ laundry and help keep all the kid areas clean. And, um, it’s like goes so much far and above what a normal, like someone coming into your house will do.
And they have these really special sweet relationships with their nanny. So if it weren’t for COVID, we’d be traveling to Germany for a wedding this year. And we have another one of our nannies, um, where we’re in the process of getting her a ten-year visa. So she can come and travel with us when we want her to, because we wanted her to come for a visit and, um, do some fun things with us. And she wasn’t able to get a visa in times where we’re like, never again, get a ten-year visa.
So you can always be ready to travel with us. Cause we just want to invite our old pairs and have them come as little extra, um, treats and join us and have the girls. I mean, really, you know, the girls now have these special aunties all over the world and we want to maintain those relationships because for us, um, those relationships are really important and yeah, we FaceTime with them all the time.
So we always have, uh, you know, live in nanny with us. Um, we always, probably will until the kids are much older. And if we didn’t have that, we would have like, uh, literal nine to five or even eight to five nanny every single day. Um, just because even if they’re not watching the kids the whole time we have them, we always have like a checklist of things that they can be doing. Um, once kids are napping and things like that, just to help us manage the house a little bit better.
So they’ll run errands, they’ll do laundry, they’ll do some very light cleaning. Um, and it just keeps things running smoothly. The other thing that I have, um, so for our AU pairs, I have an entire handbook of how to be, um, you know, an AU pair in our family. So it goes through everything like protocols while we’re on vacation, you know?
So there’s no awkwardness, like what do we pay for? What do you pay for, um, uh, we have, you know, daily schedules, like a whole situation. And then for sitters and nannies, we just have a one pager. It’s just basically our most important rules and the daily routine. And just having that, they just kind of self-train. I make them all sit down. I go through every single bullet with them. I read through every single bullet after they’ve read through it so that they hear it from me. And I elaborate on anything that I need to, and then I always do the first day with them. Um, or at least like each activity, I’ll do like 10 minutes with them and they’re off to the races after that.
So the girls get the same routine every day. Um, it includes fun education outdoors, like the whole kitten caboodle. I feel great. I have no mom guilt, cause I know they’re getting a better day than I would ever give them. Even if I wasn’t working, they’re not going to get that great of a day with me. I mean, I’m just, I am not that energetic, tired, tired. It’s just not going to happen with me. They get the lake. Yeah, totally. So it’s great. Having an amazing day. They come home exhausted. They take great naps. They go to bed early. It’s wonderful.
Leah Gervais: So much good stuff here. Thank you so much for this. And one, one final question. You don’t have to answer this if it’s too personal, but um, do you, how do I phrase this without sounding too sounding too PRI I get the sense that your family relies largely on your income that like if you were not working or took the foot off the grass or gas, excuse me, that would be, that would not work. Um, I dunno if you’re the breadwinner or whatever you want to share about that, but I just would love to hear your kind of thoughts on, you know, I think a lot of women in our industries are very financially. Uh, it’s just, it’s not the situation where, because one of the things I found in my pregnancy is where people are like, you could just not work as much right now.
And it’s sort of like that. That’s not helpful to me. You know, I know they’re coming from a good place. They’re trying to tell me to relax. They’re trying to tell me not to be hard on myself, but I’m also like, that’s just not how I am and that’s not the financial dynamic. And I think that a lot of women relating or listening to this are like, yeah, that’s I can’t just shut my business down for a month. So how have you dealt with those dynamics? How have you felt that pressure? Have you felt that, or have you just known from day one? This is my role.
Tara Zirker: Okay. So I am actually in my marriage. I’m not the breadwinner, although most people assume this because I do, I do run fast and I do drive hard. And so everybody, um, totally normal assumption, but I will say, um, my husband has an amazing career. Um, I mentioned he’s an accountant. He’s, uh, he’s very, uh, high up in his organization. And he, we rely on his income 100% or we live on his income and all of my income goes towards investing, um, saving and sometimes a little bit of fun. I’ll be super honest with you, Leah. This is very unpopular in our industry. I couldn’t care less about traveling. I do not like a variety of luxury. Yeah. None of it speaks to me. Um, now I am a woman and I do like a nice handbag and a pair of great shoes, but, um, it’s not like it’s just not in my interest.
Uh, like I just don’t have most, um, people’s interests of like traveling all over and I do enjoy travel. It’s just not, I honestly just don’t enjoy it as much as I think most people do. So for us, we live a pretty, um, we definitely like really nice things, but we just don’t like a lot of them.
So, um, all of my, everything that I bring home gets invested now I’ve had years that have been great and I’ve had years that have been okay. I’ve had a couple of years that have been really like nothing to write home about and really depressing. And I’m sure everybody in business can relate to that. And those years the dynamic was harder. I’m not going to lie even though we live on my husband’s income. Um, and we’re very lucky to be able to do that. And I know not everybody’s in that position.
Um, he still grows to rely on all that extra that comes in, that we get to invest now. And you can imagine him being a numbers guy, if he doesn’t have his investment, you know, portfolio where he wants it. Um, that’s really sad for him. Like he’s totally supportive. He knows there’s always going to be ups and downs, but it creates a harder dynamic for sure. For sure. Um, so I would just say like, you know, even sometimes like, um, there’s been times where I’ve given myself longer vacations and maybe the, maybe my income goes down slightly because of that. And he’s like, when are you going to go back to work? You know, when I feel rested and rejuvenated. So, um, I just feel like there’s always, and I want to just normalize, like, even if you are the breadwinner winner of your family, even if you’re not, there’s always a dynamic that has to be managed.
And truthfully, if we didn’t, um, if we didn’t have my business, we probably never fight about anything. Like I think the only things we’ve ever fought about during our marriage, we’re very aligned on parenting so far. Um, I mean we have little kids, so that’s probably easier than let’s say when they’re teenagers. Um, but we are very aligned on how we spend our money. Um, usually the only thing that gets tricky is like the business. And so I bet a lot of couples out there can relate to, um, you know, everything would be so smooth if I didn’t have this business. And we’ve definitely had to learn to manage that. Um, a couple of years ago, I actually, one night we had a disagreement about, um, something. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what it was. It’s always going to be about time or money, right.
And so I just went, um, I’m sure it was my profit margins were getting a little razor thin or something like that. It’s usually where he starts raising the alarms is like, um, Hey, I don’t like the look of the PNL. Like you need to address that. I’m like, don’t worry about it. You know, it’ll be fine. Um, so one night after, uh, we had one of these discussions, I went in and changed passwords on everything.
So every account, every email, he had access to everything before next morning. And he was, he, he was really hurt from this for weeks. He was so hurt and after a few months he was like, but I don’t stress about it anymore. Cause I can’t see it. And I don’t know why it looks like, and maybe you aren’t being responsible with, with, you know, how I want you to have your allocations, but I don’t know. And it feels so liberating to not know. And so we’ve kind of just had to run things that way because he being an accountant, he’s going to be so much more. Yes, it is so much less risk might be the risk taking.
Yeah, no, if we go into debt one month, but I’m projecting that we grow the next month, I’m fine with that. Not just would freak him out to no end. And so things are just better with him being out of it and separation the separation, lots of couples even work together and they discover a way to make that all work. And I admire that so much for us. It’s not the way for a happy marriage for us. We need total separation. And you know, we don’t, at this point, we don’t discuss if I want to do a retreat or mastermind, I just do it. There’s zero. I don’t even tell him, um, until usually after the fact when he might, there’s certain reports, he still gets access to after the fact. And he’s like, Hey, I saw you spent $20,000 on that. What was that? You know? And I’m like, oh, it’s just a thing I wanted to do. I mean, it really is just, and he’s totally fine with it, but, um, it just is no longer a discussion and it’s very separate and it makes us both much happier so long.
Leah Gervais: Well, no, I mean, I thank you for sharing. And I think that that’s really what the point that I was kind of looking for. It’s not so much, who’s the breadwinner, you know, I think at this day and age women income is part of what the family plan is and like what your vision for your family is and what you as a family rely on. Whether or not it’s more, doesn’t really matter. And you know, that’s not really, I guess what I was trying to ask that, but it matters for your marriage a lot, you know, to the point where you guys had to make this big change. So I guess that’s more just what I I’m, I’m trying to get more curious about as I think about this is it’s just a whole nother element now into, uh, you know, what, what in my marriage anyway has been very simple, honestly, because we’ve had two incomes and no children.
So, um, but I just do feel like as, as a business owner, there are some dynamics around it that I don’t feel like I relate to as much with my friends or family members who have paid maternity leave or, you know, don’t really like aren’t planning on, um, working for the rest of their careers, which is fine. It’s just, it’s just a different dynamic. So I appreciate you sharing them yours. Cause I think it’s very helpful. So anyway, this has been so helpful, so inspiring. Um, you made me very excited. I kind of have like a mental checklist of things I want to go do now, but, um, I really appreciate you being so vulnerable and taking the time and, uh, just contributing to what I think is a really important conversation. So thank you.
Tara Zirker: Thank you so much, Leah. So good to be here with you.
Leah Gervais: You too. All right. I will talk to you soon. Tara, have a good one.
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