Discover Your Superpowers: Balancing Parenthood and Startup Life

Talia Kolodny
By Talia Kolodny on May 30, 2023

This high-performing team at Engageli, a fast-paced EdTech startup, share their tips on balancing a demanding entrepreneurial career with the ultimate startup: parenting

If you have children or work with parents, you’ve likely had thoughts about how this new little person changes everything. How do you even start thinking about fitting in the rest of your life: work, friends, hobbies? As a parent who is also navigating the startup world, I’ve learned that parenthood and a career in a fast-paced startup have more in common than you might think. Both demand dedication, multitasking, and effective time management. Both require unique and creative out-of-the-box thinking to succeed, and both require patience and forgiveness when things don’t seem to go your way.

I feel privileged to lead an incredible cross-functional and global team of high-performing and driven individuals at Engageli. I see the challenges and triumphs of balancing parenthood and work in a fast-paced startup environment every day. In a recent team meeting, we welcomed two team members back from parental leave. I asked the team, who are now 100% parents of young children, to share their top tips for managing both responsibilities. Below I share highlights of this valuable conversation with you.

      1. Seize those opportunities!: Parenthood and work both require constant compromises, but sometimes it's the small, everyday experiences that create the best memories for your children. Whether it's camping in the backyard, going for a short stroll in the rain, reading stories, or playing a game together before the evening work meetings start, your children cherish and appreciate every moment. Similarly, don't shy away from opportunities at work. As parents, we know how to prioritize, be productive, manage our time more effectively, and are masters at logistics. Embrace new projects and responsibilities at work, and be confident in your superpowers (because parents are superheroes who can handle it all!)
      2. Learn to ask for help: Asking for help is an important skill to learn both as a new parent as well as a team member in a fast-paced startup. It's okay to seek support from colleagues, partners, and family members when needed. Delegating tasks, setting boundaries, and communicating your needs can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout. Remember, don’t take asking for help as a sign of weakness - you don't have to do it all alone.
      3. Practice self-compassion and find ways to recharge: It's easy to feel like you're never doing enough, both at home and at work, especially in a mission-driven environment. But it's crucial to remember that you are only human, and it's okay to cut yourself some slack. Practice self-compassion and acknowledge your efforts as a parent and a professional. Make time for activities that help you recharge and fill you with energy.  Be kind to yourself, and remember that you are doing the best you can in both roles.
      4. Take others’ advice with a grain of salt:  As a new parent, everyone will want to share their advice with you, whether solicited or not. The internet is flooded with conflicting and overwhelming information and it is sometimes difficult to know what’s right. It's important to trust your instincts, choose your information sources wisely, and focus on your connection with your children. There are many ways to do things right. You can find the one that is right for you, as you are the best expert when it comes to your own family, so trust yourself and make decisions that align with your values and beliefs. As you can imagine, trusting your instincts and filtering unsolicited advice is especially true for entrepreneurs as well!

Balancing parenthood and a career in a fast-paced startup can be challenging, but with the right mindset, strategies, and support, it is possible to excel in both areas. Embrace the opportunities, ask for help when needed, practice self-compassion, and trust your instincts as a parent. Remember, you are not alone, and many other parents (and entrepreneurs) in similar situations are navigating this journey alongside you. Parenthood truly is the ultimate startup, and with dedication, resilience, and a bit of self-care, you can thrive in both your personal and professional life.

Talia Kolodny is Senior Director, EMEA at Engageli. She leads a cross-functional team overseeing partnerships, business development,  implementations, account management, expansion and success in the region. The EMEA team at Engageli enables and empowers academic institutions and companies to lead engaging learning experiences and enhance their digital transformation strategy and outcomes with intentional technology. 



Published by
Talia Kolodny
Talia Kolodny
May 30, 2023