I have a confession to make. Those ‘never-to-be-said’ words actually slipped out of my mouth last week as I sat slumped at my dining-table-cum-office, wondering how on earth I was going to pay the bills, get dinner on the table, bath Henry and organise a 3PL tender (all on a Wednesday night). I actually said out loud to myself ‘I miss a nine-to-five-job’. It was a very weak moment indeed, and much wine was needed to curb my woes.
Don’t get me wrong, being a mumpreneur is great. Finally, I have reached a point in my life where I can work from home, be a mum, and do everything in ‘my time’ (even if ‘my time’ means staying up until midnight most nights, multi-tasking between steaming apples and fulfilling orders). But having it all, or rather, doing it all, does take its toll. Though I get to go to playgroup, swimming or the gym most mornings, most evenings are full to the brim with conference calls, social media or marketing strategies, to name but a few. Let’s just say I can write a press release in my sleep these days. And don’t get me started on sleep (or the sheer lack of it).
Before I became a mumpreneur, I was filled with dreams and ideals of running my own company. It was something I had always wanted to do, but never had the confidence, time or unique idea to take a chance and go out on a limb. Starting a business whilst on maternity leave seemed like the perfect idea, as I was finally forced to stay away from the workplace (at least for a little while). Finding a unique product whilst on a holiday seemed like the cherry on top, and I was good to go.
But dreams and reality are usually somewhat different. Let’s take the very early days. When the business kick-started started in August 2012, my husband and I were in San Francisco on a business trip with his company. The dream: Me on blackberry, whilst taking in the cultural and historical sights of such a beautiful city. The reality: Me knee-deep in work, whilst trying to manage a one-year old in a foreign city with no immediate help on hand. No exactly the glamorous image one pictures of mum on laptop whilst gazing from the windows of the SFMOMA, child frolicking about.
Even in the thick of it, during the launch of our toddler shoes at the Sydney Baby & Toddler Show in Sept 2012, sleep was a thing of the past. After spending months organising the event, we arrived, armed with family, flyers and lots and lots of shoes. In my idealist visions, I had imagined Henry playing in the corner of our exhibition stall while I spoke to prospective customers as he modelled our Attipas functional shoes. In reality, we were run off our feet for three days, trying shoes on screaming toddlers and managing their highly frustrated parents. Henry meanwhile had a brilliant day watching Pepper Pig on centre stage while being minded by my mum.
This weekend proved no different. Waking up on Saturday at the crack of dawn (given, a normality for any parent with a toddler), my husband and I moaned about the fact we had to be at Willoughby at 8am. There, we met a photographer and two other toddlers (and their very patient mums!) and undertook a photo shoot for our Attipas 2013 Collection. By 10.30am, we had gotten the shots, and were exhausted to say the least. But exhaustion is a thing of the past with a toddler, so we headed home to play ‘choo-choo’ and duplo all afternoon long.
So, would I give it all up? No. My husband constantly asks me ‘Why are you doing this?’ For me, it’s about achievement. Independence. The need to feel involved and take ownership. My doctor once told me ‘a job is good for the soul’. And now I totally agree. Am I tired? Yes. But do I love being a mumpreneur? Hell yes.