The truth behind being a work-from-home mum...
Before I launch into this, let me first tell you that I am grateful. I am grateful for so many things in my life; my supportive partner, our beautiful daughter, our lovely family and friends, and all my industry buddies. I’m also grateful that I have been able to build up my own business which has given me the freedom to watch my child grow and develop, and has allowed me the freedom to make my own rules about where my business should go.
Bonus point: it also generally allows me to be at home for the times when my long-suffering partner has ordered a pair of trainers that need signing for!
But generally, when I tell people I work for myself from home, they cannot grasp the concept. I’m met with some of the oddest reactions; my favourite being “Oh, that’s nice isn’t it. At least it gives you something to fill the days with”.
Yeah, that's true...but it’s a little bit more than that.
Perhaps when I started out, it was the opportunity to make a little extra money and provide a creative outlet from my main job in marketing. But following Darla’s arrival, it became a little more substantial. In my mind, the most industrious and entrepreneurial people are mums. The ones who dread going back to work full time. The ones who dread the four hour round commute to a desk job which they no longer love. The ones who just want to be at home and not miss out on their children growing up.
AHAHAHAHAHA...this looks idyllic. Clue...it doesn't happen this way...
Over the past year or so, I have met some incredible women whose main driver behind their business is their children. Take Karen from Rock The Frock for example, Jen from Jackdaw Editorial or Lauren from Oh Wonder Calligraphy...all absolutely resolute on pushing their respective businesses forward for the opportunity to have a more flexible work/life balance.
It’s that drive and ambition which pushes our ideas forward. But it’s also a drive and ambition that the majority of the working population don’t understand…
It’s not a 9-5 job
The thing that most people cannot seem to grasp is the fact that running a business isn't a 9-5 job. You cannot just switch off at 5pm. Because clients don’t.
Infact, working in the wedding industry involves a lot of anti-social working hours...because during the week, most couples are working their own 9-5. As such, most wedding planning takes place on the weekends or in the evenings. Which means phones/laptops are often glued to our hands whilst we respond to enquiries.
My life. But my nails are always chipped...
And if you are the only person working for your business...holidays can be crippling. A week off can fill you with dread. Who is going to respond to those emails? How much business will I lose? Will my social media engagement fizzle? It’s so hard to strike a balance....but I’m working on it. I would love to employ someone in the next year or so to take care of the day to day, as it's admin which takes up so much time. I can then spend more time designing and exploring ways to grow my business in a sustainable and family-friendly way. I will get there...!
I don’t have a Stepford Wives tidy house
Lol...this is one of my faves!
“I bet your house is so tidy because you’re at home all day”...uhm, babe, sorry to disappoint but it’s really not, since I also have a two year old at home whose idea of fun it is to get ALL the toys out of the toybox at once…
Just play with one thing at a time? Disclaimer...not my house...but may as well be.
Cleaning in our house consists of the superficial wipedown and the storage of things we really should get rid of in cupboards (out of sight, out of mind). Despite the dishwasher and washing machine constantly on the go, we’re always running out of cutlery and clean pants! Because in truth, if I’m not playing with Darla or cooking, I’m working. Cleaning is about tenth on my list after everything else (sorry mum)! Really should get that weekly cleaner back on board!
Some days I don’t get dressed
Fact. Although loungewear counts as getting dressed, right? Haha!
Loungewear goals...although, I never look quite this glam...
Although I always put on a bit of makeup and brush my hair (you never know who might knock on the door), I don’t always make the effort to get dressed. If I have no post office runs or classes/playdates to go to with Darla, then what’s the point in creating more washing?
I’ll give you a clue...there is no point…!
It’s not a hobby
This refers back to the statement “at least it gives you something to fill the days with”. Now there is a big network of hobbyists who kind of put the kibosh on what us credible peeps are trying to do; run a business which makes an income for our families. And I think this is where the misconception comes from that I am just using my business as an outlet from my day to day life.
It’s so much more than that.
At the end of the day, I am still ambitious; as much as I adore being a mama, I want the recognition of being successful in business and having a great reputation within my industry. After winning two awards in the past year, I hope I have gone some way in showing that this is more than a hobby for me, but a legitimate business capable of making money.
The struggle is real...
It can be kinda lonely…
I know...woe is me, much. But honestly, as much as I love it, life as a solo entrepreneur can be quite lonely. I don’t have office banter with a gang of colleagues, or watercooler breaks. My daily conversations are made up of “mum”, “yes”, “mum”, “yes, Darla”, “mummmmm, bottle” (a fairly ample exchange with a minimal payoff for me...haha).
I do have my UK Wedding Stationery Collective pals who I chat to daily, along with some other industry mates and some real life mummy buddies, so it’s not all bad. But I am starting to feel like myself and Nanny Plum are kindred spirits!
So...doing it like a mama...yay or nay?
Lemme think...it’s an absolute yay from me. Despite some of the misconceptions, and some of the trials and tribulations, I am determined to show all mamas that with the right grit, focus and determination, you can make your work-from-home business a success. All you need is an idea, and some nerve to get things going.