“Wait, what days are you going to be in Austin again?” My wife asks me.
“Well, between the 10th and the 17th of March” I say.
“But the 10th is basically the day your mom leaves for Italy? And our babysitter isn’t available that week, and actually all our friends are out that week as well. Even your brother and his wife are out of town that time.”
Just when we thought we had everything carefully planned out, our support structure is suddenly out, and what awaited my wife was a hellish week of a very restless toddler, and frenetic travel back and forward to Amsterdam for work to rush back to daycare just before they close.
So how do you keep the balance when building a startup? …ehm.. planning I guess?
Planning versus reality
A couple of articles ago I wrote about planning startup life with the wife.
Planning is that beautiful moment where everything seems manageable, reality is unfortunately never exactly aligned with that.
When I came back from my trip to Austin I had to leave again a week later to Switzerland. My wife left on the same day to Moldova to be with our son and her parents for 2,5 weeks.
We agreed that I would use that time to work through some tough things that I needed to focus on to build for a better foundation, like building a team, and all the infrastructure that goes with that.
Also once the team would be there I could start sharing responsibilities.
Back with her parents my wife would have more support while working remotely so she could also recover a bit.
When I came back from Switzerland I came back to an empty house for the first time in years. I used the time to breathe a little and sleep.
But at the same time I also saw an opportunity to get loads of work done that otherwise would be hard to plan when my family would be home.
I’m planning late meetings, implementing systems, creating new partnerships for the months to come and doing every dinner possible with people I needed to catch up with.
My hidden business partner
When I think of most of my friends who are entrepreneurs, they often approach extreme cycles of setting up a new company in close agreement with their partners.
It’s always one of the two that is focusing on building, while the other has a bit more time to guard the fort at home, and the other way around.
Especially the first year of a company is just very hectic and often unpredictable where you might be needed.
I cannot stress enough how important it has been to have a wife that has been supportive of that. It’s really not easy, especially because we are both ambitious.
Founders are often praised for their extreme working stamina in the early stages of their company.
However I believe there needs to be just as much praise for the partners that are much more than a spouse in that time.
They are there after their own working hours listening to the worries and plans gone wrong and brainstorming along.
They are there to experience the physically exhausting consequences of their partners ambition and they are also there to remind you to slow down.
So here is to my wife, my hidden business partner in all my ventures and adventures: thank you for everything you do, you are truly amazing.