See that 👆? It’s my wedding day!! November 1, 2014. About eight and a half months ago, I was finishing up the most stressful, exciting, crazy period of my life: wedding preparation. I had never balanced so many events, responsibilities, and timelines at once.
That is, until I decided to co-found a startup.
We promised that we would get real on this blog. We did not think it would be possible to tell the story of a startup co-founder without being honest about the way it affects our relationships, especially with those we hold most dear.
So, what’s it like being a newlywed that decides to embark on the stressful, insane, and time-consuming journey of building a company? In a few words: IT’S. NOT. EASY.
(P.S. I got a significant haircut after this event, if you didn’t already notice!)
I would like to begin this behind the scenes tell all (which will most likely bore you to tears) by saying that my husband is an incredible guy. He has supported me to an extent that I did not know it was possible to be supported. He is incredibly proud of me, and he tells me all the time.
In the months since we founded this company, I have basically become a different person. Any startup founder will tell you the same story: They have no time. Seriously- no. time. There is never enough hours in the day to complete the absolutely essential tasks that must be finished in order for your company to stay afloat (or, at least, that’s how it feels). I am home about 80% less than I was before we founded Gild Collective. I do MUCH less of the cooking and cleaning than before, and I have significantly cut back on sleep (the latter piece is important as it contributes to my overall mood). Reid has picked up the pieces that I leave behind on a daily basis for months now, and I can say with absolute truth that he has not complained once. He is my hero.
Just because there have not been complaints does not mean there have not been challenges. There have! They will keep coming, too, that I know for sure. Here are some of the key challenges that my husband and I have faced since Gild Collective was born:
1. I’m tired. Yes, I realize I already mentioned that a time or two, but it’s important! I am tired, and so is he. Reid’s life got much busier when we founded Gild, too. He has added a laundry list of things to his to-do’s around the house, such as cooking the majority of the meals and walking the dog early in the morning. Not to mention, his job is incredibly stressful and he is going through changes of his own.
2. I’m more self-centered. One of my biggest challenges since founding Gild is remembering on a nightly basis a few key things: A. Reid has NO idea what I have been doing all day, and just because I am exhausted, I still owe it to him to tell him the highs and lows- he’s invested, and he cares, and he should be rewarded for that! And B., just because I am busy and stressed, it does NOT mean that he isn’t busy and stressed. My business and stress is not more important or substantial than his. This seems like a no-brainer, but trust me, it’s not.
3. My stress is not his stress. A few weeks ago, I came home around 7 PM and found Reid sleeping on the couch. He was tired, and mostly, he just wanted to relax. Relaxation is hugely important to our lives, and unfortunately, I don’t get much of it right now. My reaction to his nap? Fury! I got so jealous of his ability to take a break that I got mad at him. How unfair is that?
As women in the startup community, we are careful not to bring our gender into conversations in which it is irrelevant. We do not ever want to paint ourselves as “female founders”, we want to just be founders. However, as a woman in a new marriage, it is difficult for me to separate my gender from my professional life. There are times that I feel as though I am not giving my relationship what I “should” be giving it, as a woman. And with that, I feel a lot of guilt. Like, a lot.
When I feel that guilt, I talk to my husband about it, and he reminds me that I have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. He can cook and clean just as well as I can, and there is no reason that I should feel guilty for not doing these things simply because I am female. See? He’s the best.
At the end of the day, I remember that I made a choice to do this. I am focusing on my career, and for that, I make no apologies.
In our next relationships post, we will talk about overcoming these challenges as a startup founder. It’s possible, people! Here’s a hint- communication is key!