Running, and attempting to grow, a business with a young family is difficult. I don't suppose for a minute that anyone thinks it's easy, but as I was going about my day I got to thinking about the reality of it.
The "snatching minutes of time inbetween running around after two kids like a crazy thing" reality. The "working from my dining table inbetwen toys, art materials, and ever growing piles of post" reality. The real life trying to make everything work reality.
So I thought I'd write down the reality. Just one day of it. This day. Minute by minute.
7.05am Theo wakes me up by tapping me on the head. The tapping is quickly replaced by "mummy my want play on your phone" then "wakey wakey mummy, my want play on your phonnnnnne".
7.15am Theo practically drags me out of bed, we find Tom & Matilda who are on their way downstairs for breakfast. Tom sorts breakfast, I sort clothing. That's the way we work it in the mornings.
8.25am After an hour of breakfasting, dressing, putting coats on small ones, re-putting coats on small ones after they have taken them off, we head out. Tom goes to work, and I do the school run. I don't drive so walk pretty much everywhere.
8.30am It's snowing. We weren't prepared for snow. I dash back inside for hats. Half way down the road I remember that I was supposed to put WD40 on the wheels of the buggy as they've been squeaking like crazy for at least two weeks now.
8.50am Drop Matilda into school. They used to do a stay and play thing between 8.45-9am, where parents go into the classroom and help/settle/play with the kids. Yesterday was the first day of "big grown up" drop offs. The kids are going in by themselves. Matilda's pretty excited about it. She was so excited in fact today she completely forgot to say goodbye!
9.15am Theo and me get home, after at least half a dozen people have commented on the squeaky wheels. I make breakfast for me, and second breakfast for him. I check emails and send a few quick replies whilst Theo watches Barney on the ipad.
10am We play doctors for a while and do a little bit of magnetic fishing.
10.30am Whilst the sun is out I attempt to take some product photos. I'm painfully aware that I am completely behind with work and need to get the bamboo hearts photographed so that I can send them out asap to their lovely new homes. As I set up a shot with coins and a heart, Theo helpfully drops an entire money box full of coins onto it. I set up some colouring to keep him entertained so that I can take a few more photos.
11am As I reply to a customer whose order unfortunately never arrived, Theo empties a bag of letters all over the floor. We just put those letters away ten minutes ago.
11.30am We leave for Caterpillar music. I lock the door, realise that I have still forgotten to WD40 the wheels. Grabbing the can I spray at least half of it onto the wheels. Half way there, the wheels are still squeaking. We trek up the steepest hill ever to get to Theo's favourite activity class.
11.55am We arrive at Caterpillar music. I look down and realise Theo is fast asleep. Now I have to make that horrible decision of wake him up & ruin all hope of an afternoon nap or let him sleep & miss the class. I go for the gentle wake up. I'm glad because he loved the class. It's loud, full of singing, instruments, puppets, and the loveliest teacher ever.
1.15pm We get home and grab some lunch.
1.45pm Theo's getting cranky because he didn't sleep much. I need to pack the orders that have to go out today so I settle Theo down with piles of cushions, some books, and Mr Tumble on cbeebies. He lasts about 3.5 minutes. So I pack orders whilst he "helps".
2.30pm We do some drawing together on the ipad and I answer a couple more emails on my phone. I have several that need urgent replies but they will be long replies so I have to mark them as flagged and put them aside for later.
2.40pm I remember that I need to take the sample illustrations with me to school to show my friend whose wedding invitations I'm designing.
2.45pm Time to do the daily post office/school run. One sack of post dropped off at the post office, then off to collect Matilda. We get to school a few minutes early so have a quick look at the second hand uniform sale they are running this week. One school jumper and gingham summer dress later and we're done.
3.15pm Matilda comes out of school looking completely adorable. She's forgotten her reading folder so she heads back in. And out again.
3.40pm The minute we walk in the door both kids immediately start with "I'm hungry". Snacks and drinks sorted, I snap a few more product photos before the light disappears for the day. No idea if they will turn out.
4pm Pop dinner in the oven then start Matilda's homework with her. Theo wants to do some too so we grab paper and pencils for them both. They both adore drawing but Theo is still a bit cranky and throws himself on the floor when Matilda uses his yellow pencil.
5pm Dinner time. Now you should know that I can't really cook. Tom usually does all the cooking. He's a marvel at it.
6pm Tom's home. Woo hoo! I leave the kids with him, sneak upstairs for a shower and take a few minutes to accept new orders. I also ponder whether I'm living a lie. I wonder if people have an impression that I work in a perfect studio, live in a light bright airy perfect house, and live in calm. Because I really don't!
7pm Time to get those cheeky little monkeys to bed. Tom takes Matilda and I take Theo.
7.50pm They sleep.
8pm I attempt to tidy up some of the chaos from the day but I don't get very far! I print off the days orders and catch up on tweets/facebook comments that I've missed.
9pm That lovely husband of mine brings me a hot chocolate and I begin to catch up on some work, including wholesale catalogue layouts, replying to customers, ordering supplies, and a blog post.
10.27pm I spend an hour trying to upload photos to this blog post. Typepad keeps crashing.
11.30pm I finally hit publish on the blog post, just as Theo wakes up (which means I'm finishing this in bed with him snuggled next to me), and then wonder why I have written such a long post about such a lot of nothing.
And so this is the day. The reality. The day to day life of squeezing in a business inbetween two adorable children in a tiny house. It's not easy, but it is completely awesome. Mostly.