Louisa runs a beautiful business and is offering all Power of Mum Blog visitors a free Christmas tree decoration with any order over £30! Just quote PowerofMum.
You can find her on https://www.instagram.com/onelittlebearltd/, https://www.facebook.com/OneLittleBear/ and https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OneLittleBearLTD
1. What do you do?
Firstly I am a stay at home mum; but to keep me sane, focused and remain business-minded I started my own little company designing and making baby products and gifts. Once my maternity leave ended and there was no flexibility offered by my former employers (if I wanted to return to my career it was back to full on long hours, long commute etc.), I wanted to keep my CV looking fresh and expand my skills outside of mothering. My little business has been going for just over a year now. I also have a blog that runs alongside, I am editor of the local NCT newsletter and I run a walking group for parents and their little ones.
2. What about at home…what’s the situation? Kids?
My daughter has just turned 2. She is absolutely wild. She doesn’t sleep, climbs everything, runs everywhere, and keeps me very much on my toes. She is hilarious and I absolutely love getting to spend every day with her (except those hard days where I can be found crying in the corner whilst she continues to cause mischief around me)! We live in Reading with my husband and our dog, both of whom are also quite a handful!
3. What work did you do before you had children? How did you get into it?
Before having my daughter I was a Merchandiser. I worked in a retail head office, forecasting sales and stock. I loved my job and I do miss it a lot, the decision to leave was not easy. When I was taking my A Levels I was applying to do ceramics at university, I decided it wasn’t the best idea as the job prospects were minimal so I did Retail Management instead. Quite different I know! I found the course at Bournemouth University through clearing and started the following week. Ironically the way social media has made small businesses so much more accessible a degree in ceramics may not have been such a bad idea!
4. What do you love about your job?
I love getting to spend so much time with my daughter. I love not missing any of her ‘firsts’, even the little things that you wouldn’t really think about. I love getting to be outside a lot more. The worst thing about my job before having my daughter was 10 hours straight in a stuffy office. My girl loves to be out and about so we are rarely stuck indoors. I love getting more exercise and fresh air. In terms of my business the best thing is positive feedback. I lack confidence and never feel my work is good enough so when someone messages me or leaves me a lovely review it really makes my day and I think to myself ‘I must be doing something right’.
5. What drives you to keep you going on those bad days?
My daughter and my husband. Just the sound of her laughter can completely turn my day around. Plus I remind myself I am doing this so I can continue to be home with her. Returning to my old world would mean seeing her Saturday and Sunday only and I just couldn’t bear it. My husband is also a massive support. He can be extremely critical, and as I am highly volatile it would be so much easier for him to tell me everything I am doing is great. But he always challenges me. Sometimes I yell, sometimes I cry, but ultimately he pushes me to be the best I can be and I love him so much for that.
6. What do you think are the biggest challenges in having a job and being a mum?
Anything else! I am currently really busy working on products for Christmas fairs and with an active 2 year old that doesn’t much like sleep it doesn’t leave a lot of room for anything else. Housework and chores, friends, and any quality time with the husband are on the back burner until Christmas.
7. What are you most proud of (work or home?)
My daughter. She is strong, confident, kind and funny.
8. Where are you hoping your work will take you in the future?
My aim is to build my business slowly as my family grows. Hopefully once my daughter is in playgroup and then school my business will be successful enough to warrant not returning to full time work. I would love to still have the time to be able to drop her off and pick her up and take time out for sports days and school plays. My old career just wouldn’t have the flexibility to do so, it would be great to continue to work my own hours (even if they are much [much] longer!)
9. What advice would you give a brand new mother?
Appearances can be deceiving! It’s easy to feel alone; like everyone else is coping so well while you are really struggling. But the big secret is - everyone is struggling. They may not say it. They may look like they are doing amazingly on the outside. But the likelihood is they are struggling just as much. Nobody wants to admit they are finding it hard – it somehow feels like you are failing. But you are not. It IS hard (really hard!) and you are doing fantastically. Be honest with yourself and others, I promise you will realise that the people you thought were nailing motherhood are struggling with the exact same things as you.
10. What do you do to look after you?
Absolutely nothing! See answer 7. Must try harder! If I burn out I’m no good to my daughter. Will try harder in the new year. Right now, prioritising Christmas sales!