Blogging Saved My Life!

You know when life becomes all about work and the fun just disappears? This was me a few years ago, before I switched things around and prioritised enjoyment.

The past seven years have seen me building up my business. I started working from home in 2005 after a year of planning whilst holding down 'the day job'. I'd just had my daughter and I wanted to work from home so I could be there for her and whilst I have been able to run my company whilst she has been at school and with a little childcare help from both Grandmas, the focus has been on the family and the business.

When my son came along, I had a new challenge. Keeping my head above water with the business whilst caring for a new baby, giving my daughter the attention I wanted to be sure she had, and keeping the household going. Any small business owner will tell you that it is not an easy life. You live and breathe the business. You are always looking for ways to bring in new customers, make your offer more attractive, make more money. The family came first but after that- the business was priority, then the cats, then the cleaning, then at the bottom of the list -me. Or this is how it felt a lot of the time.

Juggle Mum was created to give me a creative outlet. I needed something to do that was pure fun, totally in my control and just for me. Nothing to do with clients, kids, housework. Not an obligation but a pleasure. Something where I could write what I wanted, how I wanted and when I wanted, without having to self edit and think about how 'it might look to a customer'. I love my blog and I love what it has become. It has evolved with me, accepting my new interests, helping me make new friends and helping me to discover new interests and new people to share them with.

Four years ago everything changed. Drastically.
My son was born, the recession had just started, I was keeping the business going whilst trying to have some sort of maternity leave and trying to work out how I was going to get back in control of my life. Babies turn your whole world upside down, and even though you know what to expect a bit more the second time around, second babies have a way of making you look at what you are juggling and wonder if you can keep all those balls in the air with two kids - the way you had probably been managing with one. I juggled through. The kids were ok, the housework was being kept on top of as we employed a cleaner, hubby and I just got on with it- heads down, plough through. Something always gives and that something was me. My weight shot up to almost 17 stone- I was comfort eating to help me cope and the sugary food gave me a much needed energy boost as I wasn't getting much sleep. Of course this was followed by the slumps, so I ate more energy boosting sugar and the rollercoaster began.

I've spent the past few years working hard on regaining my brain space. I don't know where my head was at- I had the fog of new motherhood again and no sleep makes you a crazy person. A year ago times were really tough financially as the Government cuts and global economy took their toll and we had to let our cleaner go. Luxuries went, belts were tightened and I had to face the fact that my small business wasn't pulling its weight financially. How could it? I'd been off caring for a newborn and when you are self employed if you don't work, you don't earn. I cut back the business activities and concentrated on one service that would continue to bring in an income whilst I was off mothering, and I accepted that my business had to take second place- which was hard after it had been 'joint first' for so long.

But this sacrifice brought with it some freedom. I didn't realise it at the time - it all just felt difficult, but like a plant in the soil, things were shifting underground even though it looked outwardly like nothing was happening.

My tomato and onion plants have sprouted through the soil this week- all of a sudden, and this reality was echoed in my life too. I was getting on with the business of keeping our family afloat, taking what money my husband brought into the home and maximising the hell out of it- making it stretch as far as it could. I leaned how to cook cheaply from scratch, where I'd been reliant on pre-made 'ready meals' for so long, I learned how to patch things up in the house and was motivated to repair old clothes rather than throw them away which I'm ashamed to say I once did. My blog became a new way to get back some of those luxuries that we'd given up like days out and new clothes, as PRs and marketers started to see that these mummy-bloggers had a voice, a platform and an audience, so offered us free products to review to get some publicity for their clients.

I threw my energies into being a great mum and really noticing the time spent with my children. We live completely in the moment, never wishing our lives away, and paying attention to what was going on made it easier to write up blog posts! In short, I'd learned the art of home-making.

My last blog post was about becoming a Professional Housewife. It was about how I focus on my family and home and what that means for those within it and shows some ways in which I reigned my housekeeping activites in, getting back full control.

There is a saying that 'A good family gives you roots and wings', and this is my aim. To care for my family, keep a lovely home where they can come back to and feel safe, and really enjoy being a mum. These days the business is not the second priority after the family. The new order is family - always family. Then ME! Then the home, the cats, and the business. That's right! I've clawed my way up from last place in the priority list to second- and I can live with that. I get my rest, I take time to exercise, I'm shedding that weight (I've lost 2.5 stone so far) and I make time for my own headspace. I blog. I love to blog, and I hope that you get as much joy from reading my blog as I get from writing it.

This post has felt really therapeutic to write. Try for yourself and see how much lighter you feel after you get a thought out of your head and onto the screen. Share your stories and thoughts with me below in the comments and I promise to try and respond to each one.

My piggy bank tale is about learning prudence. I've become careful with money now, more like my mother was when I was growing up. I think that there is a lot of wisdom in some of her ways, and its only when you get a bit older that you realise that! This post is also my entry to the BritMums Piggy Bank Tales competition, sponsored by Virgin Money.

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

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