Growing up I knew I wanted to have a career but I didn’t want to be the standard working mum.
I also didn’t want to be a stay at home. I felt that I’d place all of my self-esteem on to my children’s accomplishments. Which isn’t fair for them or me.
Turns out, there is another option. I’m proud to say that I have made that option work and you can too.
Work Life Mix for me is mixing my kids in with my business.
I am a Fashion Designer running my own label, Désirée, from home whilst my husband and I raise our two kids, 4 and 7.
Life is busy. Very busy. I work full time in the business. My husband works full time, has a part time job and two businesses of his own. But we have made it work for us.
The clothing label started before we had kids. With the intention of providing a way for me to continue my career and still be with the kids. Business gets pretty hectic, but involving the kids in the business has made a huge difference to succeeding in work life mix.
Personally I find that my children enjoy feeling part of my business and I enjoy teaching them good work ethics by example. When they were babies they used to sit on my lap while I was working and would come with me everywhere. It sounds crazy but there isn’t much you can’t do with a kid on your hip when you don’t have a choice.
Right from the start they have always been welcome in my workroom and will quite often come in and hang out with me. When they were babies they would spend all day with me, and my work day wouldn’t be a normal 9-5. It was more like 7am-9pm but it wasn’t solely work. It would also be play time, errands, house work and nap time, basically it all got mixed in together.
There were even a few nights when they would wake up in the middle of the night and refuse to go back to sleep so I would take them into the workroom where they would have tummy time in my workroom til the hum drum of the sewing machine lulled them back to sleep. I figure if I have to be awake with a baby then I might as well at least get some work done. Plus then I got to sleep in the next morning.
Now that they are a bit older they love coming to the fabric store. Or to do other errands. Occasionally they even come to fittings.
My 4 yr old loves carefully handing me pins when I am doing a hem on a client. But her all time favourite thing is to pick out a fabric and hangout with me while I make her a dress.
This is sometimes our Friday night mummy daughter activity. I really enjoy that she appreciates my skills and wants to make the most of them.
It is always interesting seeing people’s reactions when I tell them about running a business and being a full time mum, especially other mums. They are always amazed at how my kids will happily be entertained in my workspace or how they don’t hurt themselves even though there are countless pins about. For me, it worked because I did it right from the start and so it’s just normal to them.
If you are wanting to blend your kids into your business, and they are not babies, don’t be discouraged. Start small, take them out on an errand or two a week and gradually build it up. Lay out the plan, let them know what you expect of them and give them a chance to surprise you with how co-operative they can be. Chances are you will find that they enjoy feeling grown up enough to be included. If they aren’t so keen, just keep persisting, they will get used to it and eventually enjoy it.
By mixing your children into your business you will get to spend more time around your kids and enjoy getting some work done while raising well adjusted independent children. To top it all off, if you can get work done with them around but not expecting to be entertained by you then you will get more quality time with them once your work is done.
Guilt free time…. it does exist. I swear.