How Having A Third Child Motivated Me To Create The Business Of My Dreams

Photo: Courtesy of the Author
angela engel and daughters

Having a baby (my third) at age forty changed me.

I came into the workforce at a time when women were expected to show up and be able to separate motherhood from work life.

Before I had kids, I worked on the sales side of book publishing.

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It was an “office” job that also required extensive travel and because of that, I missed out on many of my daughters’ “firsts.”

I missed first steps, losing first teeth, and many more milestones and achievements.

This left me with much angst as I truly wanted more time with them during the day.

At the age of 40, I gave birth to my third baby.

This empowered me quite literally — it was a huge feat both physically and emotionally just to have a baby at 40.

Not to mention, having a third child when I was so well-established in a successful career.

But there was another empowerment happening as well … a paradigm shift, you might say.

I found my priorities shifting and knew I needed to find a way to balance work and family and gain the freedom to choose how I spent my time.

I wasn’t going to miss another milestone or achievement.

My career is important to me, but it isn't my "everything." Instead, it’s one of my many passions.

I don’t have a “work-self” and “home-self.” Rather, they are both parts of the larger picture that makes up my life.

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This includes having flexibility in schedules and setting boundaries, while still acknowledging that there can’t ever be a true division around motherhood and work.

Through this journey, I have also discovered a passion and motivation to help change the way that women are seen in the workforce.

I want to help them gain more power in the workforce and to take control of their own destiny.

Mothers should be able to show their children that they can work outside of an office, be successful, and still be present for their families.

When moms are clear on their priorities and are open and transparent about motivations, time constraints, etc., they don’t have to hide their parenting responsibilities and always feel like they have to be a different version of themselves.

While motherhood is generally viewed as an impediment to one’s career, in a lot of ways motherhood teaches you how to be an effective leader. 

Motherhood forced me (sometimes painfully!) to learn how to build teams, figure out what motivates people, problem solve, delegate, listen carefully, drive myself and others to do better, and most importantly, how to create joy.

Motherhood taught me that stories are important: the stories we read as well as the stories we tell ourselves.

It also taught me that nothing is impossible, even if it seems that way at first.

So, when I started my hybrid book publishing business, The Collective Book Studio, I knew that I had a real opportunity to do something different, on my own terms, that also made a difference in people’s lives.

I am creating a culture and community for myself and others who are seeking a different way to work and create. 

The great thing about parenting is that it gives you real-life skills that you can use in the workplace.

It teaches you the art of grace and patience that you need to be able to extend to colleagues and clients because they also have constraints at times.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made plenty of mistakes as a mother and a business owner, but my goal is to always learn from them.

This journey has also taught me that there is no way to separate the lessons I’ve learned from each role.

For me, it’s not about “Mastering Motherhood” or “Mastering Work,” instead it’s a never-ending process of seeking self and striving for my own personal brand of success. And I encourage you to do the same!

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Angela Engel worked in traditional publishing for many years, at award-winning presses such as Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and Cameron + Company, but launched her own publishing company in 2019. With The Collective Book Studio, Engel has the opportunity to provide authors the support they need to get a book out into the world, from start to finish.