Motherhood and working-from-home… just how easy is it to combine the two?

This week I’m writing about my experience of working-from-home and being a mum! I’ve found pros and cons of doing both. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

What led me to Hypnobirthing

This isn’t my first venture into the work of self-employment. It’s something I’ve always had a desire to do but finding the right thing for me was a journey. I tried MLM businesses but I never felt comfortable in my choices. I’m not knocking them, as I know many of them are really decent companies which, make a difference to the people who use their products and those who run successful businesses through them. I decided it wasn’t for me. Next came a business with my husband. We decided on an ethical tea company. We would sell loose leaf tea and we commissioned a vintage-styled trike to be made. Our mission was to go gas and electricity free to heat our water…this was no easy feat! We actually managed it though, using a biofuel burner. But we discovered just how bloody hard it was! Using bellows to stoke the fire – yes bellows, constantly refilling and heating the water, and trying to find a suitable location to trade from was almost impossible! We ended up in front of an Edinburgh Council panel as we tried to agree on a suitable pitch! We also ended up running a small café from a city hostel. This all happened in a relatively short space of time, I quit my full-time job and found out I was pregnant!  I look back on that period of my life and think I was a bit nuts however it showed that we both had the drive and commitment to follow through with our ideas! Looking back on it I see how naïve we were but we learned so much, I’m a huge believer in living life with no regrets so I’m always grateful for the experience.

It is said that to run a successful business, you will probably fail a number of times until you find the right fit for you. So I’ve ticked that box! It was after Penny was born that I looked into Hypnobirthing. Initially I wanted to learn it for my own birthing experience but as I looked into it I realised I would enjoy teaching it and so I took the plunge and booked a course. My previous training of hypnotherapy had sparked an interest in hypnobirthing but life can have a funny way of taking you in a different direction and then bringing you back at the right time. I decided to use my past experiences and to make a real go of it. During my training there was a voice in my head saying YES, THIS IS IT. I knew straight away when I did my nursing training that it wasn’t the right fit for me, this time I was on the right path.

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Self-employed versus employee

There are the obvious benefits of working for a company. You are guaranteed working hours, pay, workplace benefits and that provides security in family life. You also go to a workplace. I’m guaranteed none of these. For many people, that would be too big a risk. However, I faced redundancy when I was a nurse. I always remember that my dad once said “You’ll always be guaranteed work if you’re a nurse” It has always stuck with me that there are no certainties when it comes to work no matter the industry, so I decided to follow my passion so that I could make a positive difference to as many families as I could. And so my hypnobirthing journey began…

It can be difficult to explain to people what it’s like being a work-from-home mum. I don’t get to go out to a workplace every day, chat to colleagues or work face-to-face with clients. It’s something I miss. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have worked with some amazing people, had many a laugh and I have very fond memories of the places where I’ve worked . There are some days where I don’t get to have an adult conversation until Jim gets home and the kids are in bed. My verbal diarrhoea can be quite explosive! Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my kids but it’s a very long day entertaining, teaching, managing their behaviour and also trying to prevent the house from falling into a state of chaos. I mostly give up as I watch them pull out every toy in the room, and throw a tub of crayons or empty an entire bag of cotton wool balls all over the floor! My husband works shifts so I spend a lot of evenings doing the tea-bath-bed routine myself. It’s quite a chunk of the day! I’m pretty good at managing my time with them now and getting them to bed early. Routine is hugely important in our house and I usually have them in their beds sleeping by 7pm. Then it’s time for me to start my working day! Even when my eyes are blood-shot, I’m severely sleep-deprived and all I want to do is sleep, I keep on pushing on. Nothing will happen if I just stop. It’s hard to switch off when you’re doing it yourself.

 

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

I love this quote which motivates me to keep going.

 

I’m writing this with my blood-shot, stinging eyes, severely sleep-deprived, late at night as it’s the first chance I’ve had to work in a few days. Both children have been unwell, I spent last night in bed with one in each arm, in and out of a delirious state of sleep deprivation as each time one settled the other woke! Having two is much harder work when you can’t guarantee peace and serenity while one is in a gentle slumber.

A lot of the work I do is in the background from developing my website, to networking, writing and preparing for courses, classes and events. It’s hard to explain to people when they ask what you’ve been up to and you say working. Other people talk of their days and share a story or two but a lot of what I say is summed up in a sentence. “I was working on my website” The end. “Just been promoting my classes, trying to get the word out”. Sometimes I wonder if I’m seen as a fraud when I say I’ve been working. Is it really working? I’ve come to realise that it’s a common theme amongst home-workers. We seem to have similar thoughts surrounding this, but I’ve gained confidence in myself to be able to say it with conviction!  It’s trying to do all of that and look after the kids that I find is my biggest challenge. There is always the threat of being taken away from any job I get engrossed in at any moment. But, again, I do it! It just might be later than when I planned. I can’t afford to make excuses so I drag myself to the computer and start typing. I could say I don’t have time, but actually I need to think whether that is the case or if it isn’t a priority. I find thinking like that really useful as it makes me focus on my priorities and not allow excuses to come into play.

My favourite aspect of my job is the I time I spend teaching. That’s my protected time, the time when I can fully focus with the certainty that I know the kids are with daddy or my family. It’s the face-to-face contact that I enjoy, the reason for doing this job. I absolutely love my job, I love meeting couples, I love talking about hypnobirthing and pregnancy, I love running my relaxation classes. I love that my daughter knows I work with ladies with babies in their tummies. I love that I’m using my skills, my brain and that I’m always looking to find out more about it to broaden my knowledge. It’s not only my chosen career but it’s also my interest so I spend time reading and learning which I guess you could classify as work but to me it doesn’t really feel like work! I’ve found my passion in life!

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Talking at a recent expectant parents event

My number one priority is and always will be being the best mum I can be to Penny and Louis. My family are amazing and I want to give us all the best experiences that I can. I’m by no means perfect. There are days I feel like an epic failure. I lose my patience, or I just want to run away from the overwhelming responsibility of it all. I can get frustrated when I don’t get a break if there’s something on my mind that I want to do. But I’m learning all the time how to manage it all better. How to manage my time, how to manage the stresses of being responsible and present for two young children. I know that the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from hypnobirthing is helping me develop all the time. Learning is a life-long path. Since starting this journey, I felt it was important to look at my personal development too so I have been focusing on that so that I can give my best to my family and to my career. It’s bringing up some pretty interesting stuff which I’m sure I’ll be talking about in future blog posts…bet you can hardly contain yourself!

Back in mum-world, my daughter recently dropped her afternoon nap, it was quite a sad moment for me as I lost a precious hour of “me” time! But it’s also an exciting time as we watch our baby blossom into a beautiful, smart wee girl who never fails to amaze us with her dazzling personality. Louis is also becoming a fabulous character, his renditions of “Twinkle, twinkle” and “Walking in the air” are most impressive for a 13 month-old baby! And he has quite a rhythm as he rocks back in forth in his high chair! He rubs my hand over his head (I am also a fan of a head-rub!) and he head-butts me for kisses! I’m so grateful that I get to witness watching these precious moments with my babies. Taking them to classes and going on fun adventures together is brilliant!

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There’s that tub of crayons…

So yes some days are hard going, and some days I don’t achieve very much. But I always make sure I achieve something, no matter how small. It all adds up to helping me realise my goals. It feels like an exciting time to be a female entrepreneur, I’m inspired on a daily basis by other women I see who are working hard to reach their potential. They’ve taught me so much too. There’s a fantastic support network out there, so sometimes if I’m feeling a bit lonely or lost with it all I reach out to the others. It always makes a difference. Running your own business is really like running a number of businesses. You have the actual core of what you do, and you can be great at it but without being able to do the other aspects of running a business well, you will fail. No doubt about it. Marketing is a massive part of it, I need my business to look appealing to my potential clients. It needs to look aesthetically pleasing, you need to really know what your talking about and how to talk to people. No one wants to see sales talk all the time. It’s not interesting and totally off-putting. Hopefully you find some of my posts interesting, I’ve actually been surprised by how easy it’s been to write! I have a load of ideas for taking my business forward which will include improving my website and social media presence, and doing some additional hypnotherapy training using an alternative method (I just didn’t feel busy enough!).

I’m so excited about 2018 and what’s in store! It feels like there is a shift going on in attitudes towards our birth experiences and I’m so happy to be part of that positive movement. Being part of helping to change the social attitude is amazing.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, it means a lot to me! Christmas is nearly upon us so I’ll be looking forward to planning for the new year! You can check out what I’ve got coming up here.

With love, Kirsty x

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