Along with my future parenting questions around morals, discipline and how to afford kids in the first place, I also wonder—do you really need a bag that big to take your baby for a walk? Cricket’s Circle takes the mystery out of what you do and don’t need as a new parent, including tips from the likes of Jessica Alba and Molly Sims (who claims her nipples looked like they were from a different animal during breastfeeding). New York City based Rachel Blumenthal founded the site after having her son Griffin, now 3-years-old. Motherhood may have relaxed her Type A-ness, but it hasn’t slowed her down.
“I have a tendency to be a control freak and am the ultimate planner. With Griffin, I knew there was going to be so much I couldn’t control and that I’d have to go with the flow. I purposely didn’t read any parenting books when I was pregnant—I didn’t want to know what was supposed to happen or what I was supposed to do. Through talking to friends and family you get a sense of whether you’re doing things the right or wrong way. I wanted to follow his lead and my gut, and it’s been such an enjoyable way to experience his development as a mother. Something that I did need guidance on was all the stuff that comes along with having a baby—which is how Cricket’s Circle came about. I truly believe we are creating something special and want to build the best thing we possibly can.
Seeing the positive impact we’ve had so far motivates me to keep up the pace, but I’m only human.
There was a period at the beginning where I was up until 2AM sending emails, then up again at 6AM with Griffin. I was enjoying both, but was running myself into the ground. Griffin can sense when I’m not 100% there—he has his way of letting me know when he needs me more. I’ve now made it a point to leave early when I can and take him on a date. He’ll tell me he wants to go on the subway or the bus and we’ll go on a little adventure. It’s a time when I don’t look at my phone and it’s just the two of us. As someone who prides themselves on multi-tasking, that focused time is much more productive and I enjoy it so much more.
I think you naturally go through phases of needing more or less work, more or less social time, etc. You need to give yourself a break occasionally, and I’m lucky enough to have the support to do so. We have a phenomenal nanny who’s been with us since Griffin was 2 weeks old, and my husband is incredibly helpful and takes a lot of work off my plate. I’ve learned over the years there’s only so much you can control, and only so much you can do.
If you push yourself to achieve achieve achieve—it gets exhausting and you can’t appreciate anything.
It’s funny to look back on life and see how hard on yourself you were—when in retrospect, things were working out really well. I often think I didn’t give myself enough credit. I think this is common for people who are high achievers, always wanting more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, you’re always thinking—when am I going to get a real job? When am I going to be legitimate? That constant questioning is really hard. You don’t have anyone to answer to and no-one is there to say you’ve done a good job. Before Cricket’s Circle I had a jewelry brand which I launched at 23 and built for 8 years. Right before Griffin was born, I was approached by a company to license the brand. I was like—wow, someone wants to buy something I built—I actually created value. We were very successful and in 500 stores worldwide, but when your head is in it every single day, you don’t have that perspective of seeing what you’ve created. It was a really nice moment where I finally felt like I hadn’t just been functioning in a bubble—I had actually accomplished something. Having a child hasn’t diminished my sense of ambition whatsoever.
It’s mind-boggling how people respond to your career the minute you become a mother.
They automatically assume you’re going to stop working—no-one ever suggests the same with a man. When I had Griffin, a lot of people in my work environment were like “Oh that’s cute, you’re going to a blog part-time!” As someone who has always worked full time, and having previously built a successful company, it was really frustrating having to defend the fact that I was building a resource and a commerce brand. I don’t tend to be a feminist… but that puts such fire under your ass to prove people wrong.”
As told to Amy Woodside, June 2014