Mums The Boss – The Blog

Archive for May 2009

j0438639It’s the holiday season, and next week we are off on a short break to the seaside. I love the concept of holidays as much as the next person, but please tell me I’m not the only mum who also finds them quite stressful?

Years ago a holiday meant a cheap 2 week deal somewhere foreign and sunny and a chance to read, sunbathe, eat, drink and sleep. Nowadays going on holiday is more work than staying at home!

First of all there is all the pre-holiday preparation. Washing and ironing all the clothes we want to take away – and for a holiday in the UK that means shorts, T-shirts, jumpers, coats, sandals, wellies – the whole caboodle. Plus there’s the forward-planning – remembering to cancel the milk, running down the fridge, but making sure we still have all the essentials we need for when we get home.

Then there’s the endless list making – all the things we simply can’t afford to leave behind, despite the fact we are only travelling 2 hours up the road and you’re never more than a few miles from a Tescos these days!  And not forgetting all the child-related equipment that alone takes up the entire boot of the car.

Thirdly there’s the cleaning. We have 2 cats and are fortunate to have parents who live close by who are happy to cat-sit. But knowing that there will be a stream of visitors in my house while I’m away means I have to add a full spring clean to my already crowded To Do list.

Then, of course, there’s the weather. The constant checking of the Met Office website, the ringing of hands and the gnashing of teeth as we worry about whether the sun will shine.

And lastly there’s the ‘expectation’ – that somehow just because you are on holiday everything will be perfect.

Then, when we get home, it starts all over again –  the post-holiday washing and ironing, the shopping for groceries to restock the cupboards – by which time I’m feeling utterly exhausted and in need of another holiday – aaarrrggghhhh!!!

At least, being in partnership, I am in the fortunate position of not having to worry about work while I’m away. But for those working mums who also have to put in place a contingency for dealing with clients or orders in their absence, the holiday presents yet another formidable challenge. Yet  they do it – and they do it brilliantly.

So, what about my holiday stress? I guess if I went away on my own to a nudist colony I wouldn’t have to worry about the packing and my other half and the kids could spend the week looking after the cats in an untidy house! But that would mean going on a pre-holiday diet and body-buffing regime of extreme proportions!

Suddenly all that washing and cleaning doesn’t seem quite so bad……

j0439555My 3 year old daughter is now cutting out the middle man (i.e. me!) and has started putting her own works of art on display on the fridge. I no longer get a say in what gets to be displayed or ‘filed’ in the recycling. She finishes a picture and takes it straight to the kitchen, attaching it the fridge with our vast array of magnets.

How fantastic to have that amount of confidence in your abilities, to not need someone’s opinion or approval. To just know that what you have done is as good as it can be and that is enough.

We could all learn from this – as business owners and as parents.

j0438755I am so excited about the photo shoot we are arranging for Mum’s The Boss members, to have professional portraits done for their websites and promotional material.  

Taking full advantage of our group status, we are booking a photographer for a 2 hour shoot and splitting the cost between us. By clubbing together we have created a fantastic opportunity for us all to get a professional portrait done at a fraction of the cost (approx £30 each).

But aside from the cost savings I am even more excited about having my own portrait done, purely for reasons of vanity! I am tired of using the same old mug shot (that was taken 3 years ago I’m embarassed to say) because it’s the only one I have where I look vaguely human. I rarely find myself in family shots these days. If I do I’m on the periphery of the shot looking distracted or dishevelled. We have thousands of digital photos of the girls on our computer. Children are so naturally photogenic that it has made me more self-conscious of my appearance and the effect the passing years are having on the young girl I used to be.

So to say I am expecting great things from my photo shoot is an understatement. I’m trusting that the lighting and soft focus will take about 10 years off my age. I’m expecting the tilt of my head to remove any trace of a second chin. And I’m hoping the angle of the shot (and some industrial-strength magic knickers) will take a couple of stone off my post-baby frame.

Then, when I’m having a trackie-bottom day and my hair needs a wash, I can look at my photograph safe in the knowledge that this is the REAL me!

When you’re having one of those days when the thought of sitting in an air-conditioned office in blissful solitude appeals rather more than sitting at your dining room table trying to work while your children are pinching each other and shrieking in the background, then take a moment to think about the following light-hearted advantages of being a work at home mum.

42-155301971. Lunch – never again will you have to endure a soggy sarnie or a limp salad. If you fancy a fishfinger sandwich or cheese on toast you can rustle up whatever you fancy, whenever you fancy!

2. Weather – no commuting to worry about in the rain, snow or the baking heat. And if the sun does decide to shine you can decamp to the garden or give yourself an impromptu day off.

3. Dress code – Power Suit or PJs? Stilettos or Slippers? It’s a no-brainer!

4. Sick days – it’s easier to work around when you or the children are sick and less of a guilt trip – you are neither leaving a poorly child or letting down colleagues.

5. Tea breaks – the kettle’s always on and there are always biscuits in the tin!

6. Off peak – being home all day you can take advantage of cheaper delivery slots for the groceries, cheap weekday deals at the local soft play, less crowded buses & trains, and never miss a parcel delivery or the end of an auction on eBay!

7. The Internet – the wonders of modern technology mean that you can email customers, print postage labels, book parcel collections, shop for groceries, book theatre tickets, plan holidays, listen to music, keep up with the news and market your business online all at the same time from the comfort of your own kitchen table/supermarket/bed/hot tub (delete as applicable!).

8. Chores – little and often, these can be spread throughout the week rather than being saved up for a massive cleaning binge at the weekend. And in keeping with Health & Safety Regs they can even double up as a welcome screen break for tired eyes!

9. Office politics – you don’t have to share an office with Mr Bore, Ms Brainless or Mrs Body Odour. Just add a smiley face to your email correspondence and your customers and clients will never know when you’re having a bad day or are feeling hormonal!

10. Mummy’s Little Helpers – yes they will get under your feet and stop you doing things, but you are there for them, you will never get this time again and you’re being a fantastic role model for the next generation of entrepreneurs!

Never forget ladies – YOU are living the dream!!


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