Hello and welcome back to The Mummy Juggle, a series designed with Mums in mind to share stories and inspiration about how to cope with the day-to-day struggle of juggling work and family life. A struggle I’ve affectionately named ‘The Mummy Juggle.’
The Mummy Juggle: ‘The non-stop juggling act of being a mother, holding down a job, running a home and generally being an all round superwoman!’
I’m four months into my maternity leave with Ollie now [4 MONTHS!!] But that doesn’t stop me constantly thinking about how I am going to juggle things when its time to go back to work and that’s only with two children. This month we hear from Gemma who at age 20, on maternity leave with her second child realised working full time and paying for childcare was going to leave her out of pocket and so she began looking into options for running her own business. Her entrepreneurial spirit and desire to learn meant she opened her own children clothing store soon after and she’s recently just graduated with a Business and Management Degree where she worked part time through out with four children under 10!! She really is superwoman and I’m very proud to be able to share her story…
Gemma | Yorkshire Mum of Four
I was 18 when I fell pregnant with my first child and a record ten years has passed since then through a relationship break down after 7 years together and 3 children later to the happier times of meeting my current husband, having my fourth child with him and buying my first home. So lets recap over the last 10 years and talk about my years of being a parent. Becoming pregnant at 18 while still living at home was terrifying, I had just left college where I studied business and management I had built up some savings and had a decent paid job, my career was my top priority and I wanted to be a property developer. I loved property and personal finance and had learnt a little about business while at college. Once I became pregnant and had Bradley I went back to work after 6 months and put him in nursery full time. Once he was 7 months I realised I was pregnant again and I didn’t want to go back to work the second time as Nursery fees and childcare would have been too much to pay out as it seems you are working for nothing. While on maternity leave I researched lots of possible ideas and options for running my own business or franchise. I wasn’t really the childcare and motherly type to take on a child franchise, I couldn’t see a good income from the MLM ideas so I thought about starting a children’s clothing and party supplies business.
I found some suppliers, large trade fairs to go to meet new suppliers, a website designer and also back when I started there was still Business Link so I signed up to loads of website SEO and social media courses as the internet was starting to become more social then. I put all my savings into the children, furnishing the house and the last bit into the business in stock and getting the website going. I spent most of my maternity leave attending toddler groups in the mornings and then working on my website and business in the afternoons when the kids were asleep and then more time pushing my socials in the evenings when the kids were in bed. 2 Years later I had my third child Ruby and a year later I wanted to try my hand at running a retail store so I looked into what I could hire locally and I found a start up grant scheme they were giving away to help people start their businesses that you could spent on rent, fixtures and fittings and also advertising and signage for your business so all I had to buy was stock. I roped in a few friends to help with the stock putting in and held a massive open day and took on a couple of staff to run the business while I handled 3 children under 5. Unfortunately life takes its toll – I had an unsupportive partner at the time, the business needed so much money for stock and staff wages that it just couldn’t go on so after a while it shut down, I ended my relationship and then started volunteering at the local school and Library. After I had 2 of the kids in school I started looking and found a part time job that was local I could do but my brain still needed a challenge so I started the Open University. I loved Business so it seemed an easy choice to pick Business and Management Degree. I was working part time for 4 years, studying my degree and having the 4 children under 10 but in July this year I graduated. My advice to manage it all is time management, organisation, getting the kids to do things for themselves and encourage independence, plan everything, forward think about what is coming up, don’t focus too much on the housework and don’t expect it all to go perfectly. I have a white board that has a to do list or I would constantly forget everything. My daughters do about 4 classes each per week, they have shows and rehearsals that are written on the calendar all the time so I know what is coming up and I can plan.
Once I graduated I couldn’t manage a graduate scheme because of the children and the fact I cannot travel extensively and I like to be home some times. So now I am studying accounting through AAT and beyond, working part time and I have started blogging as I enjoy the social media side, connecting and communicating with others and I love having a creative output for my writing. I have been given a few paid opportunities which I have turned down as they weren’t the right opportunities for me and sometimes things are more important than the money.
So this is how I Mummy Juggle – 4 Kids, a job, studying and now blogging – Oh and Being a perfect wife 🙂 That just involves ordering Xbox / PS4 games off amazon so they arrive when released and making sure he has a full belly for when he is home from work. And asking if he is happy once a week.
Gemma is a Parent & Lifestyle Blogger at Yorkshire Mum of Four where she chats about all things family, travel, style, things for the home and tips for improving your business. if you’d like to find out more you can find her on Twitter @yorkshiremumof4
I set up the Mummy Juggle series as I was interested in hearing from other Mums on how they deal with the daily struggle of working life in the hope that it will provide a place for Mums to share tips on how to make life a little easier. If you enjoyed this post and have a story to tell that you would like to see featured, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be great to hear from you x