From Leading a Classroom to Leading a Household with Mompreneur and Academic Coach Rachel Cederbaum
Rachel Gold Cederbaum, (formally Ms. Gold) started teaching high school when she was 21-years-old. Her beloved high school English teacher, Karl Decker (infamously known as D- Decker), showed her the way. Throughout her time as a teacher, Rachel remembered Mr. Decker's words about the power of leading a classroom: “There are few professions--outside of the people professions--in which you learn so much about yourself so quickly. In your classroom, every pair of eyes is a three-dimensional mirror and if you look into them you will see when you have succeeded when you have failed, when you have enlightened, when you have obscured, when you have shown how, when you missed the cue. A rather unique world..one that informs you very quickly about who you are…”
Rachel loved this ”unique world,” and the vibrancy, energy, and spontaneity of the classroom. Over the course of her tenure as a teacher, Rachel engaged students through English, Language and Composition, and as a Middle Years Programme Coordinator. She loved her work so much that she also began tutoring in addition to her full-time work in the classroom. After the birth of her first son, Levi, she evolved from a classroom teacher to a full-time academic coach, entrepreneur, and business owner. In this article, Rachel shares her experience of juggling her responsibilities as both a mother and an entrepreneur.
Some say that having a business is like having a baby. Now that you’ve experienced both, can you confirm for us whether that rings true?
Yes, this definitely rings true. You watch your business grow and develop and you take pride in each milestone (your first client, your first pitch, your first major breakthrough). You also get emotionally invested in the success of your business since you built it.
How did your daily routine change after having kids?
My daily routine changed drastically after having kids. I was teaching part-time and tutoring every afternoon and evening. After leaving teaching to start my own tutoring practice, I spent the mornings with my 1- and 3-year-old and tutored four nights a week until 8 pm. I wanted to find a way to spend more time with my kids, but also create some semblance of balance. I had minimal time to myself, so I had to get ready for work while they napped and plan lessons for my students and coordinate and confirm my schedule in the evenings.
What does balance mean to you?
Balance means having the time and space to do what I love, spend time with my husband and kids, maintain friendships (which gets harder to do with the business and chaos of life/kids), and make an effort to be present for it all (a daily goal). Having three kids has required me to prioritize and let things go and it has made it incredibly difficult to maintain balance. I do think that I have become super time efficient, but it is something I am constantly working on, so there is time for me, my husband, my kids, my friends, my family, and my business.
What tips do you have for balancing home life with your responsibilities as an entrepreneur?
Outsource what you can (cleaning, laundry, cooking)!
Spend time doing what will light you up and what allows you to grow and scale your business.
Have open and direct communication with your partner about the time you both need to dedicate to work. For instance, you can ask your partner each Sunday evening, “what does your week look like and how can I best support you?” My husband asks me this, and then we will schedule time on the weekends (with him watching the kids) so I can prepare for a podcast, client, or presentation.
Drop the mom guilt-it doesn't serve you nor does it help you prioritize your needs.
Focus on building relationships with your referral sources and how you can help them (versus how they can help you). For example, if you are the owner of a play space for kids, reach out to local mom groups and partner with them-offer a free trial class, offer to host an event for the group and for their children. Provide coffee! Figure out where most of your business is coming from and nurture those relationships.
What do you wish you'd known before embracing your new life as a mompreneur?
That "balance" is a magical unicorn, but trust that you will find your way.
How can we do a better job of supporting new moms?
We can start by providing decent, paid maternity leave so moms can spend time with their babies for at least three to six months. We can provide them with therapists, mom groups, and childcare at a more affordable cost so they can take a nap or take a shower.
Any final words of wisdom?
If you have a passion or career goal, do it. There may be thousands of people who do the same thing, but they won’t do it like you.