Category Archives: family

Sunday Night Round Up

We’ve been enjoying a fabulous weekend with beautiful weather. It is Dh and my 12th wedding anniversary too so we had a lovely lunch out with the kids – all good.
Now, I’m just catching up with a little work, planning for the week ahead and trying to work a little in advance to make some time for networking events for Business Mum Week and The Mumpreneur Conference which I’ll be attending in Birmingham on the 3rd of October. I’m mildly terrified about the conference purely because I’ll be driving up on my own (well, with Kit too) and I hate long drives … since we were driven into about 10 years ago. The drive will take around 5 hours.

Anyway, apart from that, this week I’m writing about gifts and traditions for one of the blogs I work on, plus personal finance and money saving for another. I’ve done a good update for Family Friendly Working which should see me past the conference – I schedule features well in advance and have mumpreneurs booked in for the profile slots right up until the end of October.

I’ve done the first chapter for the book on Down’s Syndrome. It is not totally complete and I suspect I’ll need to revise it as I work on the following chapters but it is good to make a start. I aim to do two chapters next month and two in November which shouldn’t be too much pressure.

Writing that up all feels quite under control. The things I can’t control are the volume of sales for the Mumpreneur Guide. The special offer ends on Wednesday, and if there is another big sales day this could push aside all my plans for a week of writing.

I’m also due to do some work on the business. I’m meeting a business adviser next Wednesday, need to do the end of month invoices and have a couple of stray invoices to chase up plus missing parcels to claim from the post office. Such excitement! Let’s hope the weather stays good so I can get all this done in the sun.

Mum’s Home Office

Working from home has its pluses and minuses. It is great to be around for the family, but often you can end up working in spaces that are less than ideal. My ‘home office’ is right in the centre of the home, so I can be on hand if any of the kids needs me, but on the down side it is hard to get peace and quiet to make calls. I know one mum who ran her home office out of a bread bin in the kitchen.

So, I’m going to be looking at products which can help you create a great workspace for you. And one of the first ways to make sure that you have a great workspace is to keep the kids out of your stuff! I don’t mean that you have to erect an extra stairgate – although that might be an idea – but you do need to stop them stealing your stationery and hogging the pc. I’ve been trying out the Silver Cross Doodle, to give my 3 year old his own place to draw alongside where I’m working.

It is beautifully made and has a central pouch plus four cups to hold pens and pencils. Plus, if I can wrest it away from the three year old it will make a great highchair for the baby as the chair clips on top of the table.

Ours is blue, and I’d love to show you a pic of J working away at his own desk … but he has taken the card out of the digital camera and bent the pins so I can’t. I have yet to find the perfect product to keep the kids out of my office…. but will continue to look!

Where have the last few weeks gone?

Kit at 5 weeks
Kit at 5 weeks

It is the Easter holidays and I don’t have a minute to call my own, let alone to write! We had out lovely baby sitter in this morning to help: the kids’ bedroom now has floorspace, and they got to decorate gingerbread people which Grannie has left for them – thanks Grannie!

Kit is now 5 weeks old. He is being pretty good – eating well, outgrowing his 0-3m clothes, and sleeping most of the night. Key to a good night for us is co-sleeping – he rarely cries in the night.

Book Review:The See-Saw by Julia Hobsbawm

The See SawIf anyone knows how to juggle, Julia Hobsbawm does. As she says on her website, she is a mother, step-mother, wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, friend, cousin, niece, and businesswoman. The See-Saw is a guide to ‘inspire and reassure you that you can get your work-life balance on track.’

The book covers topics including flexibility, childcare, me-time, flexibility and guilt. It also looks at the ‘Dammy’, or stay at home dad: Julia’s partner Alaric has been taking this role for many years, allowing her to operate a busy full time business. It is up-to-date, written in the Summer of 2008.

Hobsbawm does her best to make The See-Saw applicable to people without children, featuring a few case studies, but basically it is a guide for parents to sorting out work life balance. The book has something of a flavour of privilege about it, despite including some people in ‘ordinary’ jobs there are many more high flying parents like Hobsbawm herself. More ordinary mums may be slightly irritated by the inclusion of Julia’s pals, Julia, a Rabbi, Antonia, a leader writer and ‘old friend’ Rosie Boycott in the space of a few pages.

Amusing cartoons and recipes break up the book. There is a good mix of views from men and women. It is easy to read – I managed to get through it quite quickly despite being 37 weeks pregnant, so in that way is ideal for time pressed parents. Overall it is a pleasant read, but you could probably get just the same tips by sitting round with a group of friends who are also juggling working parents.

The See-Saw (paperback) Published January 2009. 176 pages. ISBN: 978 1 84354 911 6. RRP: £6.99

I’ve been too busy to blog…Birth Announcement

Kit Arthur Henry

Kit Arthur Henry

Just to let you know that Kit Arthur Henry was born on 4th March at 11.30pm weighing 10lb7. I had been in and out of hospital four times in the previous three weeks, but in the end the labour was swift and went smoothly. Despite his size Kit only took 3 ½ hours to be born.

Kit with Daisy

Kit with Daisy

Unfortunately this meant that no-one got around to giving me IV antibiotics that I needed for Group B Strep, so Kit and I then spent 5 days in the Conquest, Hastings, while he had antibiotics to prevent septicaemia. Fortunately it was only a preventative measure, and he seems incredibly healthy so far and is feeding and sleeping well.

Have you signed up for the Mumpreneur Guide?

If your resolution for 2009 is to get your own business started, visit www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk. It is a FREE business basics e-course, ideal for every mum or dad who wants to learn about starting a business. Delivered to your desktop every few days it is a great way to learn how to start a successful enterprise and avoid pitfalls.

Galia of www.chocchick.com says, “I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the Mumprener Guide on Search Engine Optimisation. I worked in Internet marketing for 3 years up until April last year and thought the advice you offered was excellent. A lot of SEO is common sense and knowing your market, but many people still see it as a bit of a dark art! Your guide on SEO was very well explained, clear and easy to follow. It even reminded me of things I needed to sort out on my website (SEO, as you said, is indeed a continual process) and I found it extremely useful.”

If you want to know about SEO, business models, business finance and juggling work and family go to www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk

Would you bring your baby to work?

The New York Times has reported on a woman who, instead of taking maternity leave, has set up a room for her children next to her office. The paper reports Carla Moquin, the founder of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, saying”This has been going on for 15 years in a limited fashion, but in the last two years it’s really taken off.”

Mothers in the US are only entitled to three months unpaid maternity leave, which I can see would encourage women to look at this sort of solution. One business mentioned in the article, “Borshoff, a communications firm in Indianapolis with 40 employees, has a Bring Your Baby to Work program for infants ages 6 weeks to 6 months. The firm pays 80 percent of an employee’s full salary when the child is in the office.” Having reduced pay may be an accurate reflection that parents with a baby in tow will spend less time working, but also reduces the incentive to go through what seems to be a stressful scheme.

For more – and probably better – ideas on how to combine work and family, visit www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk

Does what you are writing affect what you do?

I finished a book for White Ladder Press in January, all about problems at school. Snce then I have looked at two different schools for dd, and am probably going to move her next term. Ok, this is mainly because she is doing less well, and the school don;t seem to be dealing with it, but I can;t help feeling that spending four or five months genning up on how to move schools spurred me on in some way.