I see NextKids as integration, a way for us to own our own time, working together as well as being closer to our children while they are co playing and co learning.
By Diana Rothschild (Founder + Chief Mom, NextKids)
If you are, like me, one of the millions of working mamas and papas who pull off the amazing juggling act called career and kids, you know that while you can’t really have that vaunted “balance,” you can absolutely have a good work/life integration. For me, “having it all” has always been about having the ability to do my work on my own terms. Right now that means having the opportunity to spend time with my daughter every single day.
Getting there has been a learning process that will sound familiar to many women entrepreneurs. My newest business, I believe, is the culmination of that process. NextKids is a new brand for NextSpace where high quality infant/toddler play care meets co working. Before starting NextKids, I ran my own management strategy consulting practice advising executives at large companies on how to create, build, and execute more sustainable business models. I was conscious about the number of clients and scope of work I took on. I kept my clients to two to three and my travel to a minimum. I was upfront with my clients about my desire for flexibility, and it was never an issue. Now, as I launch NextKids in San Francisco, I’ve been able to maintain a high degree of control over my schedule and am able to work somewhat flexibly.
Let’s be honest. Being employed by a company can be comforting, but with that security, you also have less control over your own time and are sometimes unable to work on your own terms. Once I went on my own, though, I needed to find solutions for the things I took for granted as an employee, such as finding a great space to work, taking care of my own taxes, marketing and business development, and most important, bouncing ideas off of great thought partners and mentors. Those key pieces of the puzzle give meaning to work and they get me closer to the work/life integration I desire.
When I became a new mom, I contended with a whole other layer of desired support, guidance, and care for me, my husband, and our baby. Becoming an entrepreneur forced me to find ways to create that thought partnership, collegiality, and the “security” I had in my former work life. I found partners and guides from investors, advisors, business partners, and other freelancers and entrepreneurs. They have helped me with the thought leadership required to first make my consulting engagements successful and now to make the vision behind NextKids a reality that will help all working parents.
Today’s parents face different challenges and opportunities than those of our parents and parents’ parents. As the way we work changes, so does everything else in our lives. Secure, long-term jobs and secure childcare have fallen away, but on the flip side, we have more choices for how to best juggle and integrate the demands of work and family life. NextKids is my vision for the future of family care. I see NextKids as integration, a way for us to own our own time, working together as well as being closer to our children while they are co playing and co learning.
Our parent workspace is a setting where entrepreneurs can exchange ideas, collaborate and build trust, and discover great ways to bring new concepts to market – whether to benefit their career, their family, or themselves. We want to use our care program to ensure our future generation is cared for in a way that allows them to thrive and flourish in an increasingly flat, global, and complex world. So we aim to provide a great play-based learning environment that supports children’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. Having it all, to me, means non-parent, parent and child can thrive – together, in the same space, and without compromise.
I consider myself lucky to have developed the NextKids vision at a time when I can personally benefit from it. When I take Sophia to the playground, I also hear about other families’ needs and it’s great to see them envision how NextKids could benefit their lives professionally and personally. It’s all about integrating work and life as seamlessly as possible, on our own terms, and together with our children. We’re all better together.
Women 2.0 readers: How will a co-working space with childcare better help your company and being a parent?
About the guest blogger: Diana Rothschild is the Founder + Chief Mom of NextKids. She started NextKids in January 2013 as a division of NextSpace, a co-working community that aims to kill the cubicle class. NextKids will debut in San Francisco early this summer, with the goal to expand nationally within a year’s time. Prior to founding NextKids, Diana worked as a strategy consultant to Fortune 100 companies at Blu Skye and McKinsey & Co. and was a buyer at Walmart. She received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from Stanford University.