"Mummy have you finished working yet?" #adayinthelife #marchmeetthemaker

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I’ve been trying (this is a key word) to take part in something called #marchmeetthemaker which the very talented designer and illustrator Joanne Hawker set up as a way for small businesses to open their doors a crack to show who they are, what they make and what makes them tick. As you would predict, I’ve missed a fair few days of the challenge (I blame this entirely on my two children who seem to be showing increasingly Koala like tendencies at present) but even on those days, I have enjoyed seeing what other makers have uploaded, and have felt a PART of SOMETHING which is always a nice feeling when you spend most of your time with humans under 4 years old who reach into the play till for plastic coins if you talk about ‘making money’ and ask if you’ve finished working yet after reluctantly playing quietly by themselves for a generous 10 seconds.

I jumped (sleep walked, is probably more accurate) onto the bustling train of independent ‘makers’ who are all trying to make some sort of living out of selling the things that they make, in October last year. I have felt like a cartoon bunny caught in headlights, eyes bulging and tail twitching since first dipped my toe into the digital waters of Instagram, and have on countless occasions muttered to myself, my husband (and most commonly my baby boy as I rocked him back to sleep at 2am) “WHAT was I THINKING?!”. So it has felt very reassuring this month to have the daily themes and ideas of what I could be posting about from Joanne Hawker; like having my hand gently but firmly held over the daunting squares of Instagram and the invisible WiFi currents.

I tend to mention my ‘work’ haphazardly in my blog posts, and I have been indecisive about how much reality I should be including (after all I don’t want potential customers to think I can’t actually peel my children off of me for long enough to make their orders). But after randomly stumbling across @ConfessionsofaSmallBisOwner on Instagram (a podcast coming soon lifting the veil on female creative entrepreneurs; showcasing how awesome and how HARD being a small business owner is) and prompted by today's #marchmeetthemaker theme of 'stories -a day in the life' I decided to be honest about a day in my life with this blog post (I am more comfortable writing at my keyboard than talking to a camera!) ….

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How and when work crept into my day today (mostly unsuccessfully)  

Got about 5 minutes thinking time in during a MASSIVE bonus lie in of 6:30 am which I spent coming up with the idea for this blog post.

Realised I had missed the crescendo of the library baby and toddler group ‘hello’ song at about 10am as I’d starting thinking about a new product idea that I’ve been kicking around for a while. Luckily I zoned back in before the Easter tray came out so Leo wasn’t in danger of eating the straw and fake eggs.

At some point (I tend to lose all sense of time but it was when the small ones were eating - narrowing it down to 7:30am/10:30am/12:00/2:00pm/3:30pm/5pm) picked up my phone and checked in with Instagram for approx 7 minutes. In that time Leo had wiped an unidentified substance into my hair and Aubrey had initiated a screaming contest. This is one of the reasons why I recently made the decision to only check my phone once or twice during the day…it just isn’t worth the extra chaos created when I take my eye of the ball.

Enjoyed the feeling of my mind emptying out completely whilst pushing both boys on the swings at the park and absorbing every moment while I watched them both giggle simultaneously with a look of pure joy on their faces; my only thought being ‘starting a small business was the best idea I’ve ever had - I’m so fortunate I am here with them now, even if that means I have to catch up on work this evening.’ Clearly I don’t think this way all the time - but I enjoyed it while it lasted!

Looked at the clock at 5:10pm and let out a huge sigh of relief that my husband would be home soon and I would be able to get some work done. Then felt immediately guilty about thinking that when I should cherish every second I am lucky enough to get to spend with my boys. Then remind myself that I am trying to build my business around them so that I can spend more time with them. Then tell myself to chill out and stop worrying and just concentrate on the list of things I need to get done once I’ve switched over to work mode.

Write this blog whilst my husband baths the boys, switch back over to mum mode and put Leo to bed.

Go into my sewing room and work for 2 hours, loving the feeling of being in my creative space but somewhat cautiously checking the clock and calculating (if Leo decides to wake up at 4 am again, I need to be in bed by 10pm…I want to have a bath and relax and an adult conversation too…but I had planned to get this order finished…). Take a moment to appreciate how productive I can be in small windows of time when I don't have a lot of the time wasting restraints that come with working within a big company.

Before I drift off to sleep I always fantasise about having a thriving but small and manageable business that I can work around my boys as they grow up and go to school…it’s not something I allow myself to imagine during the day when I’m too preoccupied with getting through another round of pasta throwing, screaming competitions and the ever worsening ‘get them dressed chase’ without losing my S**T altogether, but when all is quiet in the house and I’m curled up in bed, I paint the picture clearly in my mind and I’m sure I must go to sleep with an almost imperceptible but very real smile on my face, because I am one more teeny tiny step closer to achieving that dream.

So thank you Joanne Hawker and @ConfessionsofaSmallBisOwner for inspiring me, making me feel less alone on my adventures into the scary world of the self employed, and for giving me the confidence to be a bit more honest about what goes on behind the scenes; or more aptly behind those perfect little squares of Instagram.    

Em x

Emma Cruickshank