Guest blog is written by Melissa Blight, Aster & Oak
My name is Melissa and I am a Mumpreneur (as everyone is calling it these days) or in layman’s terms a mum that works from home. I have two gorgeous children, a very supportive and patient husband (most of the time! Haha) and I absolutely adore creating things and running my own businesses, most of the time.
I started working from home after I had my son and started my first business selling bras and lingerie. After winning the local small business awards in 2013, things got crazy and I honestly couldn’t keep up with the amount of clients that came knocking on my door for personalised fittings and wanting every type of lingerie item known to mankind! Having over 10 clients a day in your home, whilst looking after a toddler and keeping the house clean was a nightmare! I made the tough decision to close the business down. But, after a few months, I was bored.
Whilst sitting around pregnant with my daughter and feeling like the size of a house I pondered my next venture. What was I passionate about? What do I love to do? How can I create something I love and sell it without having people traipsing through my home every day? It came to me one day amidst a phone conversation with a good friend of mine. Aster & Oak was born and the next few years came with many ups and downs.
One of my biggest challenges to date is feeling like I need to “do it all”. Try as I might to fit everything into those precious daylight hours, it never happens! For me, this often means working at 4am in a mad dash to meet deadlines, being completely drained the next day and struggling to be mentally present for my children while running off a few hours’ sleep. I’ve taken my son to plenty of birthday parties where all the other mums were chattering away energetically; meanwhile I’m trying not to face plant the cake on my plate.
Then, there’s the time management hurdle. It can be quite daunting to take in the sheer amount of things that need to get done at any given moment. In one lap around my house, I’ll see toys covering every surface, piles of laundry beckoning to be acknowledged, dirty dishes, dirty sinks, dirty everything…and then I get to my workspace and see the slew of unanswered emails, phone messages and social media replies. This newfound workload took some getting used to.
I said goodbye to leisurely lunches, and instead found myself stuffing my face as fast as I could to get back to work, or eating with one hand and typing with the other. Whereas I used to leave my devices in random places throughout the house, suddenly I became tethered to my iPhone, checking social media posts while I brushed my teeth, cooked dinner, or – ahem – answered the call of nature. Yes, my pet iPhone still accompanies me to the bathroom. Gross, I know…but hey, every minute counts!
At times I feel guilty for not taking my children to the park every second day like other mothers I know or letting my son have just a little TOO much TV time during the evenings. I have to remind myself that the most important thing is that I am here for my children. I get to experience the big things and the little things. I’ve been there for the poopy nappy moments, the learning to walk moments, the gum in the hair moments, and the sibling bonding moments. I never once had to worry that I was going to miss out on their childhood by choosing to build my career, because I didn’t sacrifice one over the other.
Melissa is a busy mother of 2 from WA and the owner / founder of organic baby clothing brand Aster & Oak.