My story – A self employed mum
If you read my last blog post you’ll have been introduced to the creator of Kerry’s Bouqcakes. Since writing this, I had a lightbulb moment, that little flutter of inspiration; it got me thinking, how many women are out there trying to juggle work life alongside being a mother? I totally get it, it is NOT easy and I wanted to share with you my experiences of juggling so you know you’re not alone. No one prepares you for the demands of working and parenting, especially with under 5’s. And if you are running your own business, like I do, it stands or falls on your efforts.
Let me take you back to the first year in business… I was already a mother of 2 fully energised children under 5 and had just gone back to “the day job” part time, anyone who is in this situation will know what a challenge this can be in itself. Reliable childcare was a nightmare. As if this wasn’t enough though, I decided to throw my newly established cupcake business into the mix (like what I did there) to make sure I had taken up every last minute I may have had spare. Bearing in mind my talents were in baking and not in running a small business (they just don’t teach you these thing’s in school), it felt like it had all become a logistical nightmare. When you’re self-employed, it’s almost like you never stop, if I wasn’t baking, I was advertising, if I wasn’t advertising, I was doing admin such as answering enquiries, updating social media… The list goes on!
Did I have Mummy guilt? Of course I did, it was unbearable, don’t get me wrong, I was managing quite well apart from the occasional moment where I thought I couldn’t do it and wanted to give up but I knew something had to give. I was in that inevitable stage of needing to build my business up before I could solely commit to my bakes and leave my employment.
So, I gave myself the pep talk I so desperately needed and threw myself in at the deep end. This came with a lot of sacrifices, waking early, settling late, giving every ounce of love and energy I had into my little empire whilst still being Mummy, it was exhausting, I’m only human but I powered through knowing in my heart if I made it work, it would totally be worth every moment for myself, my husband and most importantly my children.
After months of hard work, I was finally able to make the decision to leave my job that I had worked at for years and loved being a part of, however I never questioned the choice I’d made… I just knew this was right! Never could I have imagined how much my beautiful bakes would grow in such a short space of time, it was an incredible achievement and brought me a lot of pride, I was working 7 days a week most of the time, so family time had admittedly suffered, I knew this would never have been maintainable long term, I had to find a balance, a schedule almost, I had to learn to organise my time more effectively and efficiently. I had to learn to say NO! Amazingly my business has not suffered as a result of this. In fact my business has grown and diversified.
As I said earlier, you don’t learn how to run a successful business over night, it is trial and error, burning myself out wasn’t giving me the ability to put my all into every aspect of my life anymore. I now have more structure, giving myself business hours, yes the very nature of my business means the majority of my orders are requested for weekends, nevertheless I always allow just enough time to enjoy doing things with my family on a Sunday afternoon plus give myself the luxury of one weekend off per month and I even have a day or two off during the week too so I can maintain my home and keep on top of things I need to do around the house. Grouping my collection times together means I don’t have to wait around throughout the day either so this was really great. Basically, instead of having a constant battle between being a mother and being a business woman, the two now work in perfect harmony. I do not deny there are still those peak times, but heyho, we all thrive on a little stress in our lives.
There’s lots of us out there, who feel the struggle to be the best of everything. There is a lot of pressure on woman to be the perfect this, that and the other, but here we all are getting through it, do you know why? Because we’re all incredible and you best believe it too! We are capable of anything we set our mind to, no matter how challenging this may be along the way.