It is a well known fact that parenting involves a lot of juggling. We’ve all seen parents in cafes, haven’t we. With seemingly miraculous precision, they seem able to insert food into their tender offspring’s open mouth, whilst also cutting up more food (one handed), offering a drink, gesturing to the nearest waiter regarding the delayed appearance of a cheese sandwich, wiping half masticated bread from the offspring’s top and simultaneously preventing them from flying over backwards on to the floor, due to their irresitable urge to push their little determined feet against the underside of the table.
Just existing as a parent is juggle enough. So why was it, when my first child was a mere 4 weeks old, did I deem it a wise idea to start setting up a company? I think the clue there lies in the statement of his age. 4 weeks old. Hmm. Babies don’t tend to actually do a lot when they are 4 weeks old, do they. Apart from make a lot of noise (most of it at night), demand continual feeding, and create a lot of truly unholy mess from their small backsides.
Could it be, could it really be, that I was naive enough to think they would STAY that straightforward? I think, on reflection, that actually, I was still high on the euphoria of birth (you know, that elated feeling, where you are just so bloody relieved that you don’t resemble an inflated beachball anymore and can actually move without feeling like you might start cracking the pavements) and just didn’t really think it through. Walk on the moon? Yeah, not a problem. Fly through the air? Oh go on then. Run a business? Piece of p*ss. Just show me the computer and I’ll get started.
The naievity only continued really. After DB1s first birthday, just when we were reclaiming our full night’s sleep and starting to get a semblance of normal existance back, I was suddenly struck by a strange but potent sureity that I NEEDED another child. As in, NOW.Never mind that we had recently moved into a house that hadn’t been decorated (or even cleaned) since 1953 and needed a complete renovation. Nah, that was just a detail. OH didn’t really get a say in it either. I was quite determined.
And ten months later, there he was. DB2. And running a business became that much harder. Again, I was a bit surprised. (yes, really.) How hard could it be? I thought. Well, er…very hard actually. Suddenly, my metaphorical jugglers balls (ha ha) became that much more complicated to keep in the air. There was the ‘entertain me NOW, mummy’ ball thrown to me every five minutes by DB1. The ‘you’ve not fed me for 10 minutes and I AM HUNGRY AGAIN!!’ ball from DB2. Not to mention the ‘I’ve done a poo’ ball, which seemed to be every 15 minutes from one or the other of them. Seriously – I used to be dedicated to the cloth nappy cause. Not any more. If I’d have gone down the cloth nappy route, I don’t think we ever would have actually left the house, the amount my little guys defecate.Some days it just seemed to be an endless stream of foul smelling effluence, and I got quite weary of cleaning their bottoms, over and over and over again.
We also had the gigantic beachball sized ball of ‘hey, we’ve just moved house in the last year and a half, lets move again!’ Oh, the stress!Trying to organise a house sale, a house purchase and all the rest of the shenanigans that goes with moving, whilst keeping two kids happy (not to mention OH, who was in the job from hell and stressed up to the eyeballs.)
So, where did running a business fit into all of this? Wherever it could, was the answer. A constant, near impossible juggle between entertaining, cleaning, feeding, playing, telling off, cuddling, food shopping, desperately trying to get them to sleep (don’t even get me STARTED on my incredible ‘I don’t need any sleep’ duo) and trying to email customers and prospective suppliers, set up complicated websites with no technical knowledge whatsoever, trying to chase up various people who had offered help then mysteriously disappeared, set up various free marketing ploys, whilst painfully aware that our marketing budget equalled a big fat zero…the list just went on and on and on.
But, this month has seen us finally have a bit of a break through. A bit of revenue! And a bit of profit! But more to the point, a bit of a boost. A bit of a lift to our flagging morale. And all of a sudden, I get why I’m doing it, why I’ve chosen to make my life so much more complicated than it needed to be. It’s that feeling of really having done something, having taken something from just an idea and developed it through to it’s finish – that’s something that is pretty cool. Even if it all goes belly up (and we’re realistic here, the statistics for first time businesses surviving the first year are not great) it will have been worth it, just to say ‘yes, we had a go – we achieved something and it was good.’
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to resume flinging all those multiple balls in the air again…they won’t fling themselves you know!