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The challenges of being a small business owner and working mother

I love what I do. Design fills my cup. I get into that state of flow and everything feels right in the world. I feel grateful every day for that. Some days more than others. I love being a mum, even more so when my kids say super cute things and behave well!

Every day isn't full of flow and the joys of motherhood though.

The day before yesterday I managed to get to the chiropractor, to try to straighten out my back a bit and stop that typical lower back pain that crept up on me somehow, slowly but steadily. And he said this revelationary (making up words on purpose here) thing to me: "I know you're busy running the business and managing kids, but when was the last time you had a day where you just did nothing - had nothing you had to do?" It stumped me! Truly. Having kids simply takes away your spare time. My husband is away at the moment too, so I don't get that tag-in and out system that some couples use to ensure they get a little "me-time" in. 

I started fantasising about my early twenties, when my days off working hospo meant not getting out of bed until I wanted to and then mooching around, cooking up a big feed for friends and deciding to randomly walk into the city and check out what was on at the art gallery. Getting sidetracked and loving it. I spent whole weekends painting canvases on my own, listening to Jurassic 5, and drinking red wine. 

Anyway, the reminiscing wasn't helping. So I did what I thought was sensible and wagged work the next day. Of course I told my colleagues. With the plan to DO NOTHING. It went pretty well. Seems like I'm out of practice, but at least I didn't do any work (until after 9pm, when I checked emails and did some fun product design development. I DO still love what I do!). 

Fast forward just one day - and the benefits of feeling rested and refreshed after my day of nothing were all undone last night. My youngest worked up a temperature and started barking like a seal. Croup cough. It sounds very impressive and the temperature got a bit scary there. He yelled out at one point in the early morning hours - after I thought he was sleeping and comfortable again - and then crept back to my own bed -  "MAAAuuuuuuuuummm!! You're supposed to be looking after me!!" Forget sleep when you have a member down. How can he still yell like that, with a sore throat?!

So today I am working from home, with a sick kid. This obviously must be even more common than pre-pandemic, these days. Desperately wanting to focus on a zoom call trying to troubleshoot with my amazing colleagues while also trying to make a smoothie that will cure my poor little boy's sore throat. How do you truly and effectively juggle life - work and mumming? It's always a push-pull between a career that I love and a family that I adore and who need me. Then trying to find the time to look after yourself on top of that. Sounds like a cliché now. It's good practice to turn off from work at times. But realistically super hard. And it feels rubbish when you think you are dropping the ball in either court. But I DO want to have my cake and eat it too. I'm not giving up on the slightly unrealistic dream. 

Hmm, actually I am going to make a cake and eat it. And here alongside my musings are photos to prove it to you.

By Kate Slavin, co-founder of The Ironclad Co.

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