Guest post by Elspeth Fawcett, founder of Yummikeys www.yummikeys.com
One of the biggest conversations to come out of the last few months is the shift to home-working and how that will shape the way we do business going forward. As one of many many mums across the country already working from home – juggling a young family with running a business – I am well versed in the struggles this can bring. Understandably the current consensus seems to be that it is often difficult to split boundaries between parenting, home-schooling, relationships and working, when you are doing all from the same location, but going against the grain, I have found this way of life has actually seen a positive impact on my business.
From the birth of my third child – which coincided with the launch of my brand – I knew I would simultaneously raise my children whilst growing my business, rather than outsourcing childcare; because of that I have always been used to a stop-and-start approach to working, knowing that each bubble of time has to be efficiently used. With my husband now working from home as well, the amount of time put aside for each aspect of my life has been able to increase, thanks to the additional pair of hands. Although the dynamic of the household has changed, for me, it is for the better.
Having seen the pandemic provide me with my best month of sales to date, I think it’s important to share my story and how you can ‘have it all’ as a mother, with young children and a young business – even during a time of great global crisis. Now these conversations are being had, it is important to drop the stigma of women working from home and the idea that you cannot juggle children with business, or that if you do, one will suffer.
Of course, no one size fits all, but this is what has helped me to keep life running smoothly, during lockdown.
- Tire the kids out! Get the children out in the morning for a few exhausting and fun-filled hours. This will mean having spent some quality family time outdoors (my favourite) and having a little peace to work in the afternoon when they are content to watch a film. I find starting the day with lots of fresh air clears my head and makes me more productive as well
- Let go of ‘perfect’! Accept that sometimes your house will be a mess and that you’ll feed the kids pasta and pesto too many days running- we are all just doing our best!
- Be flexible! My husband has been working from home during this time also and so we have been able to be flexible about work vs childcare. At the moment nothing is the way it was, but it’s lovely for my husband to have time with the children that he wouldn’t usually have and positive for me to be able to work during the day and not just in the evening when the kids are sleeping. It also means the kids always have a parent with them and are able to transition easily through this confusing time
- Don’t guilt trip yourself! You are with your children 24/7 and sometimes they (and you) need a break. Don’t worry about letting them play on the tablet, watching a movie or gaming, having a little independence from each other at the moment is important for everyone’s mental health and should be openly encouraged
- Be open! Explain to your children what you are doing when you work and why. Even if they are little it is important to explain that sometimes you need to work and including them in that can be fun for them and you. Throughout Yummikeys journey I have had my kids model, test and give tutorials on the products!
Whatever happens, remember you are doing your best in totally unprecedented times. If you work one day and not the next, cook breakfast, lunch and tea from scratch one day, but serve chicken nuggets the next, it is all relative and will work out. Balance is key and checking in with your mental health regularly will ensure both your personal and business lives are running optimally.