When you first find out you are expecting, 9 month feels a very long time! When you (finally!) start maternity leave, 9 months seems a very long time but in the blur of sleepless nights, dirty nappies and adjusting to the new member of the family 9 months is no time at all! In fact I don’t know where it has gone!! remember with my eldest the countdown to returning to work hung over me like a heavy weight; which is part of the reason I started my business. So when little madam came along almost 3 years ago now it wasn’t a difficult decision to not return to work knowing I could use my skills and work around her – one massive step closer to achieving the work-life balance goal we all dream of! I can work around naps during the day and once she’s in bed I thought, I can slowly and steadily grow my business as she grows – perfect! Quite content as a mother of two, one boy one girl my business would become my baby. That was until my little man came along six months ago. He threw a small spanner in the works of my plan but we adapt, we embrace change & now the plan is evolving – I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason! I can’t quite believe the time has gone so fast already! So firstly I would like to introduce my big man – Harry – born at home weighing 10lb 7oz on Halloween!
Harry’s labour was, for want of a better word, epic! I found strength I didn’t know I had and it has quite literally changed my life. Even though I have had two natural births before him (both 8lb 5oz apparently I don’t do small babies!) I felt empowered by Harry’s birth in a way I hadn’t felt before. I am now on a mission to succeed, to dream bigger than I ever have done, and to help, uplift & inspire as many people as I can on my journey. I am learning a whole new skill set as a mother of 3, with a teen a toddler and a baby and running a home and a business from it! So I am learning to juggle more efficiently and on a quest to become a super mumpreneur. Here’s what I have learned so far.
1. “You have to do what is right for you. No one walks in your shoes”
I have read every productivity tip out there. Blogs, books, quotes, systems you name it I’ve signed up for a free webinar on it! I was convinced if I read enough and took everyones advice on board I would crack it, I would be a streamlined productivity machine. Bullshit! I read that you should never go on your phone first thing in the morning, its not a good way to start a productive day. I deleted all the apps from my phone after taking advice that if I have set blocks of time to do things I would be more productive doing it on my laptop. So nothing got done. As I have a baby. And a toddler. And I barely get to pee never mind sit at my laptop! Then I read that I should get up a few hours before the kids as I would get tons done – and true enough yes I can get a lot done in a few child-free hours. But the advice for new mums is sleep when baby sleeps – already difficult with a toddler! And when that toddler wasn’t asleep until midnight, and you’ve done several night feeds after that – it just isn’t sustainable! We were talking about it at a Northumberland Mumpreneurs meet up a few months ago and the lovely Sharon MacArthur (www.redhandbag.co.uk) said why am I listening to other people I should do what is right for me as no-one else is walking in my shoes! The biggest thing I have learned from becoming a mum of three is that time really is the most valuable resource we have. We all have the same 24 hours yet mine seem to fly by so quickly I really need to make the most out of every chance I get. So I reinstalled the apps on my phone and during Harry’s last night feed I design my social media posts, and during his first morning feed I check my emails leaving my evenings free to work (should the kids ever actually go to sleep!!) and also giving me chance to get some sleep! Which leads me on nicely to number 2!
2. “‘Make time for yourself. You are important”
Don’t know about you but as a busy mum I often feel selfish for doing something for myself. If I have money in my purse I buy for the kids, not for me. Its perfectly natural to put our needs to the bottom of the massive to do list as we nurture our young or look after our significant other. We give give give not seeking anything in return. But a car can’t run without fuel, our bodies can’t survive without food. We need to nourish ourselves too. Taking time for ourselves every day is not a luxury it is a necessity. Reading a book, playing the piano, writing a poem, having a bubble bath, going for a walk, getting some sleep! Simple things, inexpensive things, but worth their weight in gold for a mum refuelled is a better mum: a mumpreneur refulled is more focussed and productive.
3. “Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it”
My last lesson for now was a big one for me! I am a bit of a control freak. I am stubbornly independent and I do not find it easy to ask for help. At all. Juggling three children, a home and a business is incredibly hard work 24/7 and despite my stubborn determination its impossible to keep on top of everything. But that’s ok. It’s actually quite empowering to acknowledge that, and its so satisfying when the mountains of stuff be it washing or work, start to dissipate! So be brave and the next time someone offers you a helping hand don’t be afraid to take it. Embrace it, be empowered by it. We are not martyrs, we are mumpreneurs and we are all on this roller coaster journey of life together!