This isn’t something I’ve really written about before, yet being sat here, first week back at work, with my daughter enjoying an extra day in nursery (and me being wracked with guilt for the first two hours of the day) and a growing baby bump, I thought it seemed a fitting time to reflect. I’m a Mum, Blogger and Business Owner and I’m not quite sure when that all happened…
It’s been a gradual yet also sudden change in my life…I know that sounds strange doesn’t it? But it’s something I guess I’ve been making steps towards for years, perhaps without realising it, but then suddenly “bam”, it happens! I had my own limited company, a baby and this blog!
Mum, Blogger and Business Owner
I’ve written about my maternity leave and my leap into the unknown world of self-employment before, so I won’t recover that here, but it’s been a mad journey over the last two years, but a really bloody exciting one too. Yes, I’m definitely lucky to have a husband (also with an entrepreneurial flair) who has started and successfully built his own business over the last three years and therefore offers some financial support, giving me the time I needed to figure-out what my business would actually be and whether I could do it! But we’ve had a pretty hectic couple of years and at many points, I questioned whether we were doing the right thing and whether in fact, it’d be better all round for me to just go back to a regular 9-5 job…problem was, I wasn’t sure if there was anything I wanted to do, that paid enough and meant I wouldn’t be wishing I was at home with my daughter all the time instead. Not to mention childcare costs?! I really don’t know how some families manage…it’s tough. You really do have to weigh-up whether going back to work is even financially viable when your kids are pre-school age! I always knew I wanted to work and needed that balance of being mum and “adulting”, so I had to work something out.
Our little darling has never slept through the night, so we’ve both been zombies for the last two and a half years
Being a Mum
So, I now have a two year old and another on the way. It’s the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Our little darling has never slept through the night, so we’ve both been zombies for the last two and a half years, whilst trying to still function in the working world. But, I genuinely wouldn’t change a thing and I’ve felt so lucky and privileged to have the time I’ve had with my daughter, even following maternity leave – being able to balance her being at home with me and in childcare has been great. Family-wise, mum-wise, I feel I’ve struck a balance I’m happy with in that respect.
I haven’t quite figured out how the second one will slot in, but slot in I’m sure it will and we’ll be back to winging-it for a while, to find out what fits! I hope to still have some time alone with each child as well as enjoy them together, as well as enjoy some time alone!
Being a Blogger
Luckily, this element of my life has moulded nicely into whatever I’m doing or need to be doing at the time. I blog more when I’ve got more time, I blog less when I’m totally and utterly zombie-d. It’s remained a constant in my life in the sense of me having something that’s just mine and that gives me a creative outlet and a focus away (mostly) from being a mum. I like being able to photograph, write and document our lives in some way on my blog. I enjoy collaborating with brands and the perks of being a blogger too of course.
But, if I’m honest, I would love to have more time to work on my blog and grow it. I’ve got so many ideas for HollyGoesLightly and know that I’ve taken a slightly different path right now, so can’t grow it in the way perhaps I could if I didn’t have kids yet. I see other people, with the hours to put in thrive a lot sooner than me, but that’s ok! I’ve learnt to stop comparing myself to others…in all aspects of life!
I got good at not looking at work as chunks of money, but as chunks of my time
Being a Business Owner
This is the toughest one to define I think and also the most challenging in many ways. It’s taken me a long time to shape my business (WeBlogNorth) and decide what I want from it, what I think I can provide to others and how I think it can sustain a career for me. It started out as a hobby that I loved and fit into me as a Blogger. But when I became a Mum, I had no choice but to think of it in a different way and see if a hobby, could become a business.
It’s taken two years of concentrated development to get it to a place where I’m just feeling the momentum roll and things starting to happen. There were times I didn’t think I’d ever get to this place with it, but I’m so glad I persevered as I do think this could be something. What I love about being a Business Owner, is being able to shape the business into the way I want and NEED it to function. I’m not going to go into the whole maternity discrimination, inflexible working debate here (I could though!), but the fact of the matter is, in general, it’s still tough to strike the right balance when you’re a Mum going back to work. So being a business owner has meant that I can shape a career for myself, that allows me to be a Mum, Blogger and Business Owner to boot.
It’s taken two years of concentrated development to get it to a place where I’m just feeling the momentum roll and things starting to happen
I wan’t sure it was possible…I’m still not really, but something’s working enough now that I’m able to do this and see a channel of growth.
I guess the time will tell when I’m sat here in another 2 years time, having been through another maternity leave (this time, largely self-funded), to see if I’m still a Mum, Blogger and Business Owner. I hope I am!
So what’s my “top tips” for doing all three?
I’ve learnt a lot on this crazy journey, had crises of confidence and grown stronger in many ways. So in case any of my experiences are deemed worthy-enough to be pearls of wisdom, here’s what I’d pass on to others looking to follow a similar journey:
Always try and frame things with “What’s the worst that can happen?”.
Sometimes we worry and sweat the small stuff, which stops us from taking risks or trying new things. Often, giving something a go, won’t have a huge detrimental impact on life…you just have to think it through.
Find a support network.
Whether you’re introverted or extroverted by nature, being a Mum, Blogger or Business Owner can be incredibly isolating and lonely. When you feel isolated, you get bogged down in your own thoughts (usually worries) and start to lose confidence. So find a support group that you can call upon, when you need a pick me up. I have a group of friends who are also mums that support me as a Mum and I have a group of blogger pals that support me in my business growth. Of course I have a very supportive and understanding husband too. So I’m not scared to lean on them when I need to. It keeps my chin up!
Learn to say “no”.
When you decide to work for yourself, more often than not, your major worry will be money. You’re probably used to a regular monthly income and when you suddenly don’t have one, it becomes VERY tempting to earn money however you can (well within reason!). I mean it can be hard to turn down work, even when you know it’s not what you want to do and isn’t ultimately helping you achieve your goal. I got good at not looking at work as chunks of money, but as chunks of my time. If a job wasn’t worth me giving up chunks of my time being a Mum, then I’d turn it down. If it was, then I’d say yes. This is a simplified example of course, but really is how I make my decisions now, because I know I won’t get anywhere if it’s not part of the bigger desire.
I guess the point of me writing this today, is because I’m a shining example of someone who didn’t quite know what they were going to do with themselves after becoming a Mum and being made redundant. I’m not any different from anyone else out there who just wants a work-life balance, to be able to be a parent and a career-person. But I’ve worked it out as I’ve gone along, with our goals in mind, shaping the business that I’ve created, to suit the needs of our family right now. Yes, I could be earning more money elsewhere. Yes, I could have my evenings back. Yes, I could spend less time on my instagram. Yes, I don’t know exactly what the next five years looks like.
BUT, I do get to have extended weekends and family holidays. I am able to work from anywhere. I do get to have time being silly with my toddler, but also silly with my adult friends too. I do only really have to answer to myself (and my toddler when it’s her time!).
So, I suppose yes you can have it all. You can be a Mum, Blogger and Business Owner. There’s just some tweaks you have to make along the way, the journey might be a little slower than if you weren’t all of the above, you might be a bit skint for a while…but yes, it can absolutely be done, if you want it enough.
Title image photography: Georgie Glass