About DarlaDeMorrow

Business owner, former pregnant entrepreneur, professional organizer, mom of 2. Please visit my main site http://HeartWorkOrg.com

The Pandemic, Pregnant Entrepreneurs, and Parents

This pandemic has been hard on parents. Insert understatement emoji/punctuation/fist bump.

If you are a parent, you probably don’t hear this enough, so let me remind you: YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.

Full stop.

For the last 18 months, I’ve been churning out lots of content on how to stay organized, how to set up your home office, and how to use SORT and Succeed to improve your home one area at a time. If you’re pregnant, you already or will soon hit a nesting phase that will make the decluttering, organizing and decorating feel like your life depends on it. This phase can range from a day to months. This is totally normal.

For those of us who are parents while running our own business, again let me say: YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.

The Pandemic, Pregnant Entrepreneurs, and Parents

Running a business is HARD on a normal day. Running your own business while pregnant during a pandemic? For the past year and a half, we’ve had to add this new calculus on top of every decision: what about COVID? Can I meet with clients in person? How can I offer my services differently? How do I keep myself, my employees, my clients, and my family safe? Am I blowing everything out of proportion? Am I taking things too far, either doing too much or not enough about it? Am I missing opportunities? When will this be over?

Parenting is also HARD. They say it’s worth it, but I’ve gotta be honest, there are days it just doesn’t feel like it. When I leave my office where I’m in charge of so many things, I have to them go home (a very short commute these days), and be in charge of everything else. What can we do safely? How do I protect kids in my family who can’t yet get the vaccine? Am I being too cautions? Not cautious enough? How do I protect everyone without freaking them out? What about when my husband and I don’t agree? How do I stay informed without going on news overload? What decisions today will matter in five or ten years?

This pandemic and parenting won’t end on a certain date.

It’s been compared to a dimmer switch rather than a toggle switch: public health conditions in many areas have been gradually getting better since the introduction of the vaccine. But the coronavirus virus will continue to circulate, just like the Flu circulated before all of this happened going back to 1917.

On the other hand, the risk due to coronavirus will diminish over time. I mean, the bubonic plague exists in the world, but most of us don’t spend time calculating how that affects us on a daily basis. We’ll get there with this, too.

My kids are a bit older now, in their teens. While they can get dressed on their own (with questionable success some days, lol) and they can make dinner on their own (again, what qualifies as a meal is sometimes murky), every day they become a little more independent. I just keep modeling and sometimes actively teaching them what’s going to help them stay alive and successful. Even when they oppose our parenting, I know that the important stuff will mostly stick.

Until then, you can do what I’ve been doing, if it helps.

Organized people can handle crisis better.

When you’ve got things mostly under control to start with and have a good support system of people around you, things are easier. That doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges. You will, and you have this past year.

My hope for you is that you take your experiences during the early part of this pandemic and use them as an excuse to:

  1. Save more money, personally and in your business. A nest egg makes everything easier.
  2. Take better care of yourself. If you are pregnant right now, maybe that’s happening naturally. You’ll be tested, very soon. Ask for help when you need it. Hire help when you must. Accept help when it’s offered.
  3. Build the business that aligns with your values. Your ideal clients need what you are offering. Stay true to your values. Tell your story, and your clients will be drawn to you.
  4. Be the parent. Our kids may not like the house rules and the state of the world. That’s ok. The parent job description kind of stinks sometimes, especially when keeping our kids safe means saying no, but it’s also fun and sometimes even awesome.

If you’ve lost a friend, a family member, a job, or anything else this last eighteen months, my heart goes out to you. Pregnancy is humanity’s proof that we are optimists at our core. Running a business while pregnant is optimism squared.

You can do this.

Don’t forget to be awesome.


Mom’s Advice in ‘Why I’m Quitting Google’ Letter Should Become Corporate Policy Everywhere

The epic message to YouTube’s CEO got a response. By Cristina Tcheyan July 30, 2019

This was published on WorkingMother.com on July 30, 2019. Please go read it, especially if you are in a position to change policy at your company, your state, or the federal government.

This thoughtful review of what companies can do to retain smart women is a must read. It ends with:

” The past several months being with and around my children throughout the day have felt right for me. I’d wanted to not only survive this time when they’re young, which will be over before I know it, but to really relish in it. In my case I was able to choose to be home with my kids, but, for many, working full-time or taking care of one’s children full-time is a financial necessity. In an era of record high corporate profits (U.S. companies earned $2.3 trillion last year), and absent federal policies, it’s time to push those that can affect actual change, today, to enable more choices for American families. Write your CEO. “

Thanks, Cristina, for your voice in the state of families in the US today.

Fully Paid Maternity Leave is Now Law in San Francisco

Just this morning, I was listening to the news, contemplating what a woman president might mean for the USA. Just as having a black president in the White House hasn’t cured America of racism, nor will having a woman president solve all problems facing women and families. But it’s highly possible that having a woman head the White House would allow some issues to be discussed where some people haven’t even recognized that there are problems. But then, I brushed the thought away, knowing that the field is crowded with middle aged white men, and the odds really aren’t in her favor.

I’m thrilled to read that the city of San Francisco has passed a groundbreaking law for paid maternity leave. Normally I would just link here, but this is so important, I’m going to import the entirety of the article by Kate Schweitzer. Although this doesn’t, perhaps, solve problems specifically for the pregnant entrepreneur, this is one very important part of recognizing that the US can do better in supporting our families, who are also our citizens. It should be noted that this law was signed into law by the California governor Jerry Brown, who is most decidedly not a woman, but he gets it.

There’s a billboard in my town for the local hospital that says something pretty profound, “One way to have a strong local community is to have more babies.” At the very core, this is true. We’ve seen the reverse work against struggling steel mill and rust belt towns, where young people move away and take their babies – future citizens- with them. I’ve come to understand that caring for babies and their parents isn’t just a humane and decent thing to do, it’s economically and even politically smart. We pool our collective resources for all sorts of things, including public schools, a strong standing military, and an excellent road system, among many, many others.

This morning, while I pondered a woman, any woman, leading the White House, I didn’t dare to let myself see her there. But after reading this news, I’m not going to censor myself anymore. What can we do together, as citizens, as a strong economy, as parents???


One City in the US Just Mandated the Most Groundbreaking Parental-Leave Policy to Date

as reported on PopSugar.com


If you’re looking to start a family, you might want to first make a move to San Francisco. Lawmakers unanimously approved a measure making it the first city in the entire nation to require fully paid leave for new parents.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the law with low-wage workers — who so often struggle with the effects of taking a pay cut to bond with their child — top of mind.

“Our country’s parental leave policies are woefully behind the rest of the world, and today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers,” Scott Wiener, the bill’s author, said in a statement after the vote. “We shouldn’t be forcing new mothers and fathers to choose between spending precious bonding time with their children and putting food on the table.”

What does this groundbreaking law mean for those living in San Fransisco — and for you? Here’s what you need to know.

What does the new law provide?

Because the state of California already allows workers to receive 55 percent of their pay — through a state insurance program funded by the workforce — for up to six weeks, this new measure will require private employers in San Francisco to cover the remaining 45 percent of a parent’s full pay for those same six weeks.

Who benefits from it?

The new mandate covers both mothers and fathers, including same-sex couples. It is offered to those who deliver a child themselves or adopt. Additionally, both full-time and part-time employees who work in the city limits can benefit from the law.

When does it take effect?

The new regulations will be phased in gradually. Businesses who employ at least 50 workers will offer it starting January 2017, and those with 35 to 49 workers must comply the following July. Finally, those with 20 to 34 employees have until January 2018 to provide the benefit. At this stage, companies with fewer than 20 employees are exempt.

What’s the catch?

Despite San Francisco’s progressive stance on parental leave, it’s still cost-prohibitive for many working families to live there. Coupled with skyrocketing rental prices – the average one-bedroom apartment costs $3,590 a month – and a cost of living nearly 90 percent higher than the national average, it’s not the most affordable option.

Additionally, many small businesses in the municipality have argued that the financial requirement is an expensive burden they simply can’t afford. According to the city’s Office of Economic Analysis, the ordinance could “increase the cost of hiring and slow job creation and replacement.”

How does it compare to other policies?

California has one of the more expansive maternity laws in the country, and at this moment, only two other states — New Jersey and Rhode Island — require paid parental leave. None currently offer such leave at full pay. But just this week, New York passed a generous law requiring up to 12 weeks of partially paid time off for new parents funded through a weekly payroll tax.

Globally, however, the US still has a long way to go: it’s the only advanced nation on the planet that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave.


“Why I Didn’t Tell My Clients I Was Taking Maternity Leave”

Every woman entrepreneur makes choices when she becomes pregnant. There is almost nothing prescribed about how the pregnancy months or the months afterwards will proceed. Every woman’s story is different. And because there is no single path, no single story, no single best option, it helps to learn what other women have done when they’ve crossed into the hectic world of pregnant entrepreneurship. Here is one woman’s experience, published in DailyWorth on 9/10/14.



Nine days after my c-section, I took on a new client.

In the final days of my pregnancy — in excruciating pain from my ribs being pushed out from the inside, like some horror-movie reverse corset — I read an article suggesting that after you have a baby, you should wear nursing pajamas all day as a visual reminder that you are still recovering and should not be expected to cook or make your guests a cup of tea.


Book Review: Overwhelmed: Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time

I recently attended a time management seminar, and the core idea was to break down the entrepreneur’s time into a systematized workweek of 1-hour blocks, allocated in certain ways. I’ve spent 10 years professionally helping mostly women with time management, and I was one of the first true work-at-home employees over 20 years ago, when the internet was still new and shiny, and “logging on” meant listening to a symphony of computer clicks and chirps at 64 baud. So I know a little about working, working whenever and wherever, and working when family demands your attention. I know this traditional approach of managing your life in tidy 1-hour blocks doesn’t work as well on the road as it does on paper.

If you, also, are a busy women looking for time management answers, check out the latest book I’ve read on this topic, called “Overwhelmed:  Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time” by Brigid Schulte.

For some people the issue is needing more structure and discipline in their lives, and I love it when they show up in my client base, because my job is then easy.  We just fill in a calendar with one-hour blocks as traditional teachers on time management will propose, and away they go. BUT THAT NEVER HAPPENS. The real problem is what Schulte pinpoints as “contaminated time” or “fractured time”, which is the modern expectation to work from anywhere, seamlessly, and still hold down the home front. This is mostly a female problem, magnified in households where there are young children, and quite different from what most men experience. This is not chauvinistic, just the facts.

Some folks can still operate and succeed in this world of contaminated time, and some feel constant and unmanageable stress from it. The idea that our day can be broken down into 1-hour blocks of time is hilarious. Even 30 minute or 15 minute blocks are hard to come by (although one strategy that I help my clients with is to create those 15 minute blocks, using an audible timer while removing or  shutting off all other distractions for brief bursts of time, repeating them over and over in rapid fire to create larger blocks of time).

I think Schulte’s book is an important addition to the modern library. You’ll hear Schulte describing, sometimes with real, justified anger, what the family has to go through in America. Most women I know and work with are exactly what Schulte describes…successful professionals who had to make drastic changes, sometimes “dropping out” and re-inventing a new career path in order to find a spot where they could re-fashion their calendars to allow for the demands of a family that needed them to be there for sick days, snow days, and horribly expensive childcare situations.

Women will read this book and feel relief; their “contaminated” and “fractured” calendars aren’t a symptom of their inadequacy, but rather a symptom of modern life. Men can benefit from this sometimes raw description of how their wives, daughters, and co-workers are juggling too much. There isn’t one solution to this epidemic, but rather a series of small steps to recognize the problem and manage it for every phase of your life. Read Schulte’s book through to the end, and then develop your own plan to manage the time challenges in your own life.

How Do Pregnant Entrepreneurs Fare Around the World?

Recently I received this request:

I run a business, I am an expert in a very niche area, my business is four years old and I am based in Scotland. It has really taken off in the past two years, with lots of hard work on my part, I work for companies around the globe. My business is my baby and to a large part it is probably my sense of self. I love my business, I love what I do, I love being an expert go to person for people. It is also the money source for providing for the two kids (7 and 8) I already have, my husband is also unemployed at present so I am the breadmother (43% of women in the UK are the breadmother).  I have a network of consultants who work for me on various projects, but I do not employ any directly. So I am pretty much freaking out about how I continue in this high growth phase of my business and have a little baby, without going slightly mad with the stress. Just knowing there are other women out there who have done this and coped is a massive help. Will your book, the Pregnant Entrepreneur, be useful to me as non-USA-based person? (emphasis added)

The Pregnant Entrepreneur blog and book does does reference once of the biggest problems US entrepreneurs have historically faced, of getting healthcare at any stage of life. I don’t devote any significant amount of space in the book to that, and the situation here in the USA is now changing, with the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The topics that the book and this site cover are universal:

  • When to disclose your pregnancy and to whom
  • How to prioritize and balance the demands of pregnancy with your business
  • Maintaining credibility with your peers, employees, and customers, even while you can’t see your feet
  • Wardrobe worries
  • How to manage the “fourth trimester”, maternity leave, and re-entry

My heart breaks when I read stats about other countries and their generous maternity leave policies and state-based support for new moms. 

I’m a mom, an entrepreneur, and an author. I may be an activist, in some sense. But I am US-based. I’d love to hear your experiences as a pregnant entrepreneur, whether US-based or in some other country. Let’s open the dialogue, and share in the comments below. 

What was or is your experience as a pregnant entrepreneur?



breakfast (2)
It can be hard to keep so many balls in the air and still take care of yourself. I’m sharing one of my favorite and fast breakfasts ever. Actually, one of my favorite meals ever.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 green or yellow zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • jar of salsa

Fast, healthy, yummy

Fast, healthy, yummy



Saute the diced onion and zucchini for about 5 minutes in a smidgen of olive oil. Scramble in 2 eggs. I often do this right in the pan, so I don’t have another prep dish to clean. Top with a spoonful of prepared salsa. If you have time, serve with a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, or do without. If you are really in a rush, put the eggs in a tortilla wrap and head out the door.

Here’s wishing you a healthy pregnancy.

Solve the Child Care Million Dollar Puzzle

It started with an age old question from a friend, “How do women go back to work full time? What do working parents do with their children? Especially, during off school days like Election Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, etc.? How about snow days? Full time camp in summer?”

Yes, working for yourself might seem like it’s going to solve the childcare problem, but an entrepreneur has commitments, too. If you want to keep your professional credibility, you need a plan B (and maybe plan C and D) for your baby, your toddler, and even your school aged child.

Another friend provided one of the best responses I have ever read. She’s agreed to let me print here.


How do you solve the child care puzzle?

This is a really tough question. Here are my thoughts:

1. In my fantasy world, you have family in the area and they step in to provide babysitting– regularly or on an as-needed basis for those strange holidays. We do not have this arrangement (parents are out of state or not well enough to help)– but a few friends of mine do have families who help out majorly.

2. Neighborhood grandma: Growing up, when my mom entered the work force, she had to find a place for my little brother to go before and after school. She found a retired grandma who would take in my brother before and after school. It was easier in the “old days” because, for example, you could get the school bus to stop pretty much anywhere (or even take a different route home)– now, the rules are much tougher, but allowances are made for regular transportation to babysitters.

3. Nanny share: Some families (more common in some neighborhoods) share nannies– they might have a nanny two or three days a week, which lets them work on those days.

4. Au pair: The current rate for au pairs is around $355/week, which for 40 hours of care would be doable, since we normally pay $15/hour to babysit just the two older kids. I’d be able to work at least a day a week (probably more like 2-3) and could cover the au pair fee myself with earnings. The downside would be that the person would have to live in our house– which is big, but not set up for that type of sharing. For example, we do have a guest bedroom, but the bathroom is currently being used by the kids.

5. Stop funding retirement and hire more help: If we needed to hire a nanny, that would be what we might have to consider doing– but retirement savings is so important so we have been unwilling to do that.

6. Don’t go back to work full time. I ended up quitting a job that I loved to stay home because it was so hard to work out childcare. I just decided that for now, I should be home with them. I am lucky in that I have a nursing job that I can do per diem, part time, or full time, and pretty much any shift– but even with all that flexibility, it was just too hard for me to figure out the daycare aspects– so I quit.

7.  Some schools run programs before and after schools. You can pay for care on a daily basis (as-needed) or routinely.

8. Local college students might have students who are able to work for you; many have their own cars. Contact the career placement office to post a job ad.

9. Local daycare facilities. When we did a large school (franchise chain), it was nice because they were open from 7am-6pm, and they never closed down if someone was sick (i.e., if you had a babysitter and they called out sick, you’re out of luck). The downside was that for my kids, the noise was overwhelming– I felt like for me personally it ended up being more like a parking lot for my kids rather than a place where they grew and thrived.

10. Local pre-schools: Nice for enrichment & social aspects, but it’s only 3 hours a day. You can pay for more care there (at $7/hour for up to 3 hours)– but even with 6 hours of care a day, that’s not enough if you have an 8-hour shift somewhere. However, it does make it a little more possible for a neighbor or friend to pick them up and only watch them from 3-5 or 3-6.

11. Local sports facilities. See if yours has a busing arrangement with area schools.

12. I’ve also heard of the local Karate place as taking kids after school (I forget if it’s once or twice a week)– they pick up and then provide a class.

13. Building Blocks: They are a daycare facility that also allows you to buy a day at a time. If I were working and needed care for a school holiday day, I might consider them. I think someone told me that it was $150/day, but don’t quote me on that. I have only talked to one parent who sent their kids there– they ultimately switched– but they had some challenges with their kids so that might have contributed.

14. There are also online resources like sittercity.com and care.com — as well as joining local Moms Club and trading babysitting (which I’ve done and is usually great). Ask at your local church (if you have one). I would stay away from Craig’s List– too many weirdos.

Closing thoughts: It’s just really, really hard to make it work. I look at families with grandparents who help out and I’m envious. However…. not having my parents so close also means that they don’t interfere with my parenting–which is nice, too.  (Trying to find the positive!) When I drive around in the morning dropping my kids at school, and returning home with the baby, I’m always struck by the thought of “Wow, I could be doing so much, but instead I’m home with the baby, and she would probably be just as happy hanging out in a room full of babies”– but then I need to pick my second one up at noon, and be here to greet my oldest at 4 when he gets off his bus– so I feel like I’m at the mercy of their schedules— but in a few years, once they are all in school for a full day, I’m hoping it gets easier (or at least less expensive)– then I could potentially either work overnights (with a shift starting at 11pm and ending at 7am) or weekends, or something…. but right now, I just don’t know how people do it. If anyone solves the puzzle, please clue me in.

Put together by just another mom…

What’s your childcare solution while working? Does it feel like it costs you a million dollars?


Pregnancy and Insurance: ObamaCare / ACA

On October 1, 2013, major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) kick in (again). If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, this could matter greatly to you.

A friend of mine recently shared that she’s suddenly and happily pregnant, but in a job situation that she is desperate to get out of. She started her own side business just this year, but there hasn’t been time to ramp it up, leave her old job, and switch over to her husband’s employer-provided healthcare plan. Her immediate options are:

1. Leave her job immediately, which she desperately wants to do, and pay COBRA to continue her existing insurance to continue her current coverage, which will cover her pregnancy and delivery.

2. Leave her job immediately, and petition her husband’s employer to allow their family to begin a family policy under his company’s insurance. It is common practice, although not a given, that most companies allow an employee to opt in to company insurance when there has been a major life event, such as a spouse’s job change, divorce, or death. It is also not a given that her husband’s employer policy would cover the pregnancy, since that was a pre-existing condition.

3. Stay in her job until after her delivery.

So what chances due to ACA after October 1, 2013? Well, for one, good luck getting straight answers from anyone. Because of the political rancor surrounding this Act, and the huge changes that are going into effect, there is a sea of information and misinformation about what may or may not be changing. Over the next few months, if you find yourself newly pregnant or in a situation like I describe above, be sure to carefully document who you talk to about changes in your healthcare, and get it in writing if you can!

The big change will be the insurance exchanges that states will offer to provide affordable healthcare to just about everyone. But because each state also has the option of opting out of providing a state healthcare exchange (in which case, the state exchange is run by the federal government), the answers to questions like these are going to be different in parts of the country.

If you are a pregnant entrepreneur with no primary health insurance or spouse-provided coverage, the ACA does not mean that you will suddenly have free insurance. In fact, although the exchanges open October 1, coverage will take affect January 1, 2014 for those enrolled by December 15, 2013.

What the ACA does do for the first time, however, is prohibit insurance companies for turning an applicant down for insurance, jacking up their rates, or excluding care due to their medical history and pre-existing conditions, according to the Huffington Post. That is good news if you have not had insurance or need to switch policies during the middle of pregnancy.

Also new, health insurance policies generally will cover important things they have not in the past. Well-visits and breast pumps are covered today, while they were not just a few years ago.

However, be aware that there are loopholes and quirks in the system. If you have questions about your coverage, it won’t be a surprise if you have to make several phone calls, wade through pages of insurance information, and ask your question several different ways to get answers to your specific questions.

Still need to know more? Of course you do. Check out this helpful insurance exchange calculator tool from the Kaiser Family Foundation to see what insurance, premiums, and subsidies might look like for your family after January 1, 2014.

*Please note that I am not an insurance rep or agent. The best advice is to meet with a qualified insurance professional who can evaluate your family’s individual needs. There are also paid guides, called Navigators, who are being trained to help people through their state’s exchange programs. Please search the internet for “(your state) health care exchange” to find these trained resources.

Are you a pregnant entrepreneur and uninsured? What’s your experience getting coverage through the new health care exchanges?