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Regardless of whether you're employed by a big company or work for yourself, I'm positive that striking the perfect work-life balance, along with the Mammy guilt, is equally as hard to manage. The life of the working mother is a hectic one & pulls us in many directions... each demanding our undivided attention at any given time. Even as I attempt to type this blog, my 3 year old son is thrusting a piece of paper in my face, demanding I make him a paper plane!
People often think it's easy running your own business, that you can do what you want, when you want. In fact it’s the complete opposite... Working for ourselves, as a husband & wife team, often means we have to work longer hours and resist time off together, as time off is unpaid.
It's also a challenge to juggle all the jobs that keep our business going, making jewellery is probably only about 20% of the time. So much time is spent doing the paperwork, invoices and responding to emails and enquirys, there’s also the marketing, managing social media and keeping the website up-to-date. None of these things have I been trained in and like most small independent businesses or mam's in the same boat as myself, I've have had to teach myself and learn along the way. Sometimes I feel like I'm a jack of all trades master of none, never in a million years would I have thought I'd have to worry about SEO or how to backup our website, when we decided to start LuLu & Charles.
Sometimes, I feel just like a swan "All calm and serene on the surface, but paddling like mad underneath".
On the flip side, working for ourselves does give us much more flexibility, so we can work hours to fit around our boys, which does help, especially with three children at three different schools. However it doesn't mean working less hours. Currently our youngest is still at nursery, so I try and cram a 5-day week into 3 days, the balancing act of being a happy mammy & running a business can often be a real struggle. However I'm incredibly lucky to work with my husband & I'm so proud of what we have achieved as a team in the last 3 years, with three little rascals on the scene.
1. I drink Ringtons tea like it's going out of fashion.
2. The company of good friends.
3. I try my best to factor in regular exercise, with a little help from friend & fellow girl boss Joanne Proctor, from Little Mis-Fit.
4. I surround myself with like-minded sprits, who are in the same boat as myself, including Joanne, who is one of our biggest cheerleaders and the lovely Michelle Rose from Custard & Bear, who is also a huge inspiration & support, pointing me in the right direction for relevant workshops & mentoring, which always comes in handy.
5. And last but not least, our three beautiful boys, I try hard to remind myself that we're setting a great example to our children..."That you can be successful if you dream big & work hard".
I live in hope, that we might inspire at least one of our boys, to learn the trade & carry on our family business in years to come.