You've Gut This! Lisa Macfarlane, Co-Founder and CEO of The Gut Stuff on Early Motherhood

08 Dec, 2023

Lisa Macfarlane, Co-Founder and CEO of The Gut Stuff openly talks about her early experiences in motherhood and says the solution to the issues you encounter, has always been growing inside you. 

I write to in rhythmic synchronicity with an oversized breast pump, akin to the machines that draw out the milk from the cow in my cuppa. I’m 5 weeks postpartum, following a couple of hospital stints, an emergency c section and a baby that refuses sleep. I’ve been cut open, in more ways than one and I couldn’t feel further from a female boss if I tried. 

I had planned to wax lyrical about how the patriarchy has meant my “work guilt” and “mum guilt’ has caused a double whammy of anxiety. 

About how my twin sister took 3 days maternity leave, and “bounced back” into a board meeting puce, stunned and shakily taking minutes.

I intended to delve into how at the Gut Stuff, we’ve integrated a flexible working approach and ingrained policies to make it easier for the team, should they choose to become mums/guardians that doesn’t just involve “extended maternity” and a regular (unplanned) VERY open lunchtime forum around periods and cystitis. 

I was going to end on the fact that as women the cyclical nature of our bodies is forced into a linear world, the ultimate “square peg, round hole”. Perhaps all this for another day or newsletter…

Instead I’d like to impart the surprising lessons early motherhood has taught me around work and business…

 

1.     Taking advice from others: If I had a penny for every contradictory nugget of advice for new mums I’d have my sons piggy bank full to the brim. As women in business, lack of confidence will have you running to every consultant/agency/stranger on how best to steer the ship. Feel free to fill your basket with everyone else’s thoughts, but be confident that YOU know which items to make it past the checkout. We wasted a lot of time listening to others over our instincts - NO ONE knows you, your job or your business better than YOU.

2.     Know your. Limits: When I was pregnant, I demolished my house, learned to drive, started ballet lessons (yes really!) travelled to nearly 7 countries with work AND closed an investment round all whilst navigating the trickiest year the business has ever seen. By the time I got to the birth I needed a holiday. The lesson? You must keep some energy and brain power in reserve. Just because you feel like you can run, doesn’t mean you should. You don’t know what’s round the bend, so make sure there’s enough fuel in your car to get you past whatever’s on the road ahead.

 

3.     Focus and prioritise with military precision: The next level chaos of having a real life Tamagotchi was overwhelming to me. Do I feed him? Do I change his nappy? WHAT DOES HE WANT?! Instead of methodically trying each thing that was potentially making him squeal in an order I deemed the most plausible, chaos reigned, nothing got done properly and the baby continued to cry. Your team or your business will bleat like a newborn if they don’t have a funnel of priorities and a “north star” to reach for. It will likely look embarrassingly simple when you first boil it all down, but trust me, it will grow arms and legs and be ready for simplification again by the next quarter. 

Right, my pumps beeping signalling that my time is up, and I’ve managed to squeeze out some baby juice, so I’ll leave you with this. 

Whatever challenges, scepticism, misogyny and day to day tough ole grind is put in your path: please know, the solution, retaliation, next step and way forward, has always been growing inside you. 

You’ve gut this.

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