I miss the office….there, I said it
I know I know, I’m so lucky to be a stay at home mother but, well there’s a part of me….quite a big part…..that would love to be going back in to the corporate world right about now. JJ is settling into his new school, Fintan is 18 months and absolutely flying around the place and I am *starting* to get a little more sleep and wanting to connect a bit more with the wider world. I worked for the most fabulous recruitment company for many years in Sydney – I loved the culture, the people, the company ethos of putting people before profit and I’m not embarrassed to say that I loved being good at what I did. I miss putting on makeup and heels and hanging out with a bunch of awesome people and talking to the most incredibly interesting people (I was doing executive search for Not for profit organisations across Australia). The company bent over backwards to accommodate me on a part time basis after I had JJ – I went back when he was 14 months. I was allowed to work part time, getting in later in the morning after drop off and leaving early to pick him up by 5pm. I was even allowed to work from home whenever I wanted. They really could not have done anything more to make me feel welcomed back into the fold and part of the workforce again. The truth is though that I found it terribly stressful. Matt was unable to do any of the pick ups or drop offs and between driving to the daycare, trying to find a parking spot (in Bondi? are you kidding?) and then a 40 minute commute to the city, I was in a right pickle at both ends of the day. I also had terrible boundaries so I ended up working at night, doing work calls whilst at playgroup and catching up on myself at the weekends. I felt like I wasn’t doing either of my jobs very well – mothering or recruiting. Ironic really because I used to be a big advocate of placing return to work mums and actually had great success in convincing organisations to hire a fabulous experienced part time return to work mum rather than a full time more junior person. These mums were much better at making it work than me!
A new Start in Jersey – Choices and Opportunities
We’re in a very lucky situation in that Matt has a licence to work in Jersey. That means that we can live where we want (in theory we can buy a property if we so wish) and it also means that I can work too. I’ve thought a lot about it and we’ve discussed it but we’ve made a decision as a family that for now I will stay at home. We’ve been through a period of massive change and I think I had underestimated how difficult it would be for the kids to adjust to their new surroundings. Fintan’s sleep regressed completely and now 6 months on is settling but still hit and miss and JJ was completely unsettled. He’s adjusting but he still talks about his old friends, his old house and where are we going to next. I think for now they just need a bit of consistency and stability in their lives and I can hopefully provide that for them.
I am so very grateful that we are in a position where I can make such a choice, I know lots of mums that would love to be able to do that as well. Of course I know an equal number that are very grateful to be back in a business / office environment. It does mean that we tighten our belts for a while and put our house buying plans on hold for now but really that’s a small price to pay.
So here I am with a little bit of extra time and energy on my hands and a hunger to create something and put some goals in place for myself. The blog was the first thing that I thought of – I take so many photos and I’ve dabbled with writing over the years – it seemed like a good hobby that would make me accountable to improving both of those things and perhaps could open up some sort of business opportunity down the track. It’s taken me a long time to actually get started and it’s proving a lot more time consuming and technically tricky than I had first envisaged. I kind of jumped into it without knowing a huge amount and so i’m doing things a bit backwards and learning the nuts and bolts after i’ve actually started. A friend of mine posted an inspirational quote the other day that really resonated with me – “I’d rather be a hot mess of bold action, a make-it-happen-learn-on-th-fly kind of person, than a perfectly organised coward” (Brendon Burchard) and I thought oh my goodness that’s me ….a red hot mess!!! I’ve been using up precious sleeping hours trying to figure out differences between posts and pages, learning how to use Twitter (wow a whole new world), engaging with people on Instagram and getting involved with “Linky” parties where bloggers share each others posts and generally support each other – I never even knew such a thing existed, so awesome! It’s all a bit mad but I feel like I’m actually doing something which is giving me a fire in my belly that’s been missing for a while.
Starting my Thermomix business
The other thing that’s come up at the same time is training to be a Thermomix advisor. I bought a Thermomix in Sydney just after I had Fintan. They’re very popular over there as Australians are very into their health and fitness and it’s a wonderful tool in the kitchen if you’re into making things from scratch. If you’ve never heard of one, here’s a little YouTube Clip with VERY dramatic music! They are pretty pricey and when a friend invited me to a demonstration I was a bit wary as I didn’t want to get hoodwinked into buying one under pressure! The demo was very fun though and not at all salesy. The lady doing it was obviously very passionate about cooking with it and in fairness the food was incredible – within less than 2 hours she had created a pizza, a risotto, a soup, steamed chicken and veggies, a sorbet and a custard – all from scratch, it was very impressive. It was Matt that insisted we buy it though. He was used to me doing the lions share of the cooking and could see I was struggling a bit to balance new baby, wild toddler and everything else – I’m pretty sure he was imagining a future where he’d never have a home cooked meal again! I did so much research to see would it be worth the money or would I actually use it much and I came across the most incredibly inspiring blogs and Facebook pages with all sorts of amazing recipes and ideas. I made a really big effort to use it lots in that first few months so that I could justify the cost! Before long I was every bit as passionate about using it as that demonstrator had been. I loved making all of Fintan’s baby food and started making nut butters, my own curry pastes, cakes, icecreams and I even started baking bread which i’d never even thought of doing before. I also ended up selling or giving away pretty much every other appliance in our kitchen – we no longer needed our VitaMix blender, beaters, food processor and rice cooker. I even got rid of our scales as they never came out of the cupboard any more!
Again it was Matt that put the idea into my head about becoming an advisor here in Jersey. He said “well you pretty much sell the thing anyway whenever anyone comes to the house, why not make it more official?”. As well as maybe earning a bit of “Pin Money” as my granny would say, it would get me out of the house and I’d be doing something I loved so it wouldn’t seem like a hard slog. Literally a few days later I bumped into a lovely lady who had been doing it and wanted to hand over so that she could concentrate on another business. It all seemed very serindipitous and within a week of talking to her I was flying to Southampton to do my training at the head office. Another lovely lady called Dawn had also been recruited. She had just returned from Dubai and we discovered a mutual love of cocktails and baking. She lives on the East of the island (I’m on the west) – I think we’re going to be a great team! Before we had a chance to finish our training we were asked to assist in delivering a cookery class to nearly 30 Thermomix owners in Jersey. Of course we jumped at the chance and although we were slightly terrified, it was a resounding success and we met some really fabulous people.
Putting myself out there.
So having completed the training, my next mission was to actually get going and start demonstrating. We call them cooking experiences as guests get to participate and be a part of creating the food and then eating it of course! My challenge now is to get out there and try to show as many people as I can. It’s a delicate balance though. We’re so new here and I don’t really have a network. The last thing I want to do is put undue pressure on very new relationships! It’s funny, even though I’ve worked in sales for so long and am completely comfortable to cold call a business, I’m finding it much more daunting to talk to friends here about it. I was resisting asking or even talking to anyone I know here about it when the other day my little boy came racing out of the house in his superman t-shirt and cape. I said “what are you doing JJ?” to which he replied, “I’m not JJ I’m superman” (d’uh…of course). He refused to take off his costume all day and of course being a 4 year old, didn’t care an iota of what anyone might think or say.
Yet again my child is my teacher; I decided to stop being so cowardly, put on my cape and put myself out there without fearing what people may think or say. I asked one friend to host at her house and three more friends to come to my house and all said yes! The cooking experience at my house was great fun. It felt a bit like My Kitchen Rules – racing round like a crazy thing tidying the house, shopping for ingredients and getting everything ready to produce hopefully a show stopping meal. Two of the dishes I hadn’t had a chance to practice and I was so pleased (and relieved when they turned out perfectly! So, now I’ve got 45 days to make my first sale and hopefully qualify as an independent consultant. I’ve put the word out to as many as I can and have made up some flyers and have spent the past few days pacing the streets putting them up. I’m going to do my best and if it works out great and if not….well at least I’ve given it a go, I’ll have made some new friends on the island and I have reignited my passion for cooking with the Thermomix.
In the meantime, I will make the most of this precious time with these little guys – not such a dilemma after all :o)
Thank you so much for stopping by. If you’re a mum, I’d love to hear what you decided with regards to the work / home balancing act and how it’s working out for you.