How does it work to be self -employed and on maternity leave?
Elena Ekström is an entrepreneur, CEO and founder of the bag company Bukvy, which she has run since 2015. She lives in Stockholm and has together with her partner Mattias daughters Edda and Bon. For us, Elena is the image of an entrepreneur, and we wonder (perhaps for our own part) how it has worked to become self -employed during mother leave, be a female entrepreneur and at the same time get routines in everyday life for their children. In short, how does one get it together?
“I think parenthood weighs up the entrepreneurial life in a nice way, the time with the children cannot be negotiated. If any of the kids need me, it doesn't matter if I'm "really uptake". Then I have to solve it later and maybe get up 4 in the morning. "
First of all, how are you today? Can you handle that summer is over and that it is definitely not hot in Stockholm anymore?
I feel great and am completely satisfied that summer is over. Autumn is my favorite time and longs to work and have routines. That's me!
You started abdominal view with your best friend Joanna, became female entrepreneurs while having a total of four children. Can you tell us what it was like?
We started abdominal view, or planning for what would become abdominal view, just before Joanna became pregnant with her first child. We drank wine on her balcony and drew, sewed and tested ourselves. In connection with her parental leave and thanks to her extremely calm, harmonious baby that we had time to think freely and get an outlet for her creative energy. There was nothing we planned, whether children or companies, but so it was! I got pregnant myself at the beginning of her maternity leave. We had "regular jobs" alongside during the first years, so when Joanna started working again I could take over during my maternity leave.
It sounds like very good timing, but was it not planned to be a project during maternity leave?
No absolutely not, it was our hobby! But it was perfect because then we had worked out the product during Joanna's parental leave, so I could run the business side during my maternity leave. I was also lucky enough to get a huge scarce baby, so I still got many hours of abdominal time when my guy was at work. Sometimes I said that I made cozy mom stuff when I really sat with abdominal view because I realized that it sounded unhealthy that I worked one to sunny spring day.
But absolutely it had a price. I did not meet other moms, went lovely strolls or were on moms. But it was fun for me. I did not see it as a sacrifice, but I can see now that I probably got another start in my mom if I had been a mum really. But I know who I am, I became obsessed and then I can't stop before I'm done. So it still is. And I'm still not done with abdominal view!
“First parental leave I didn't learn that much, I just drove. The second parental leave was a bit of an awakening. Then I learned that it is not possible to get all the parts of life together at the same time. I can't meet friends regularly, have children, a relationship, train several times a week and run a growing company. It was new to me. I have had to re -evaluate my view of performance and what counts as successful. "
Now you have two children, how are things today?
I think parenthood weighs the entrepreneurial life in a nice way, the time with the children cannot be negotiated. If any of the kids need me, it doesn't matter if I'm "really uptake". Then I have to solve it later and maybe get up 4 in the morning.
In time, things do not go together. But I have the family with me in this and it is necessary for it to be nice. Me and my guy separated a few years ago but then we chose each other again and since then I have had less bad conscience which is nice. He knows exactly what he gave in at that time so to speak haha ...
What is the biggest thing you have learned from being self -employed and mum?
First parental leave I didn't learn that much, I just drove. The second parental leave was a bit of an awakening. Then I learned that it is not possible to get all the parts of life together at the same time. I can't meet friends regularly, have children, a relationship, train several times a week and run a growing company. It was new to me. I have had to re -evaluate my view of performance and what counts as success.
Joanna and I have had an emotionally difficult event in New York a few years ago. It was a revelation that it is not possible to deliver all the time. Sometimes it just has to show up. The event was not really a disaster, but we had other expectations of ourselves.
I have learned to accept that all parts of life do not go together, which means that it will not be perfect. But some things cannot be sacrificed and there is the children. I get to know about it, but I think it's worth it. I do the choice every day!
You can't sit and think about so much how to do so it gets perfect with the kids.
Running a company is like a constant puzzle just that. Even more with children in the mix. How do you get together everyday life?
Unfortunately, I have not answered it, I will not get it together! With lower requirements I get a lot together. Then I am fortunate to live with a supportive and present person who is really on the abdominal ride. My guy is a super-dad and also has the luck to have a job with irregular working hours and many weekends. He can do a lot in everyday life, and I take more on the weekends. We puzzle. It would have been very difficult if he had 9-17 jobs. Then it would have been another question and you had definitely received another answer.
Abdominal view is my lifestyle and even the children's, it is a family life style. I include them in what I do. When we do it maybe I do drawings or files on product texts. So we sit and do the abdominal view prototypes together. Edda and nests are so inventive and accurate when making bags! But sometimes they want me to have a real job and be more free.
“I think that when you pronounce their feelings they disappear, so we talk a lot. Ingmar Bergman said type "demons do not like fresh air". That's so true! They do not like either fresh air or company. So then I try to do so with the children, that they are allowed to air their demons. "
When much happens at the same time, and no day is the other similar, what about the routines for the children?
In my dream world we have such good routines for the kids. But unfortunately we have not. I now plan, for example, wonderful everyday routines for the fall, but then we are incredibly bad at keeping them. But now we have just realized that one of the children possibly. Need routines. So we may need to get better at, to actually keep the routines we put up.
How do you hope your entrepreneurship affects your daughters?
If you take the positive, they really get to see me live my dream. I live my best life. They see that I take risks and dare to invest, fail and brush off, succeed - everything that entrepreneurship entails. We sit and do things that they can then hold in their hand as a finished product. I hope it shows them that their thoughts and dreams are important and that everyone carries power to implement.
My parents were also self -employed, which has meant that I do not think it is strange. I may not know how to be a mother in another way? I grew up being with my mom at work, so the story repeats himself I guess. We lived in my mother's business trip, when things went well we went the finest taxi and when it did not go well it was also noticed so to speak.
What is most difficult about the entrepreneurial life style and being a mother?
Yes, but it is that it does not go together. You are insufficient on all levels. It may be a general feeling for many, but it is still quite clear.
Would you have been more enough on a regular job then?
Yes, but I think so, because then had gone home and had a holiday. Abdominal view occupies me all over. I have always liked my jobs and liked to work but I was done in a different way as an employee. It also indicates that there were healthy employment of course!
However, I have not had an outlet for all my pages in the same way I get now. I like numbers, web, marketing but also beauty, aesthetics and lifestyle. How luxurious isn't that?! That I get to build this brand with all me. It is so full -filled and exciting, it is more important than being sufficient. Hopefully the kids and my guy agree.
How do you talk to the kids about emotions?
We talk a lot about emotions, and also use your cards as well. It really likes the kids. I may not talk so much myself, about my feelings, I should be better at. However, I ask lots of questions. We talk a lot about things been and feel, if they wish it has been in some other way and if so how. If something was not felt good at school or at preschool eg.
This has led me to get an incredible amount of information now! For better or worse. I am much more chicken than I thought I would be as a mother. I'm probably pretty easily worried.
What do you get worried about when you say you are "chicken"?
That it should feel bad, that they should feel alone with their feelings. I think that when you pronounce their feelings they disappear, so we talk a lot. Ingmar Bergman said type "demons do not like fresh air". That's so true! They do not like either fresh air or company. So then I try to do so with the children, that they are allowed to air their demons.
On the card "I" from emotional card 1- "I in me" is the question "What feeling would you like to share with you more of?" How would you answer?
Courage maybe. I do not strive for harmony or perfection, rather for development and surprises. I want to share the feeling of daring to chance, do its best and risk failure. Sometimes you even succeed! I often get to share other people's dreams but almost never do I see them try. In "The book about one's life", which no one else should read, it becomes a much more interesting trip.
What would you like to give to the Bonki parents?
Maybe to meet their children just as they are. I want to get to know them without putting in my own fears and dreams - they are their own. Kahlil Gibran's words about the relationship between child and parent I think is so nice! Type that the children are not ours, they have their own thoughts and souls and they come from life's longing for themselves. I liked Johan Lindeberg's answer. It was extremely nice!