In 2009, I had my first daughter and after my maternity leave ended, I decided that I didn’t want to return to work as a Youth Work Director, so, we tightened our budget and I enjoyed being a SAHM (Stay at home mum). Less than two years later, my second daughter was born and the novelty of being a SAHM was wearing thin. Yet, paying for childcare wouldn’t make working outside of the home worthwhile, and I still loved the idea of being my daughters’ primary carer. I wanted to invest in their little lives as much as I could. However, this was taking it’s toll on me. Being a target driven person, I was finding myself frustrated when at the end of most days, I’d reflect and see that I’d achieved very little (for example despite being told every day, I still hadn’t managed to get my daughter to eat using her spoon and not her fingers – she is four now and still uses her fingers as her choice cutlery!) Everyday I’d say ‘today, I’m going to succeed in ….’ and I rarely made my target. My house was a constant mess, despite the regular clean ups and I felt a bit bored and unfulfilled. My daughters on the other hand, were very happy.
In the back of my mind, I liked the idea of setting up a business, but I felt I wasn’t qualified in any specific areas and I didn’t know where to start. Then, in Spring 2014, I brought my girls for a play with their friends to Kilquade Gardens and as the girls played, I chatted to their mum, who is a friend of mine. She is the editor of Mums and Tots Magazine and a real inspiration to many mumpreneurs. After she had her first daughter, she set up her company and manages to be a fantastic mum while producing a top quality magazine. We had been in the little gift shop and I’d commented about how I’d love to sell quirky stuff online. Instantly, she said ‘You should do it’ and she instilled faith in me (that I didn’t have in myself) to get going and so the idea of an online shop took root.
Around about the same time, I’d needed to go to a Toy Shop to pick up some large items for a Parent and Toddler Group I was running. I managed to just have to bring my youngest daughter (who was two at the time) to the shop with me. As we moved through the aisles, she spotted a doll carrier that she wanted. I told her that she could carry it around the shop, but when it came to leaving, we wouldn’t be buying it. She appeared to understand but when it came time to leave, a melt down started. I managed to weaver my trolley out the door while dragging my wailing child. But when we got to the footpath – she lay down on the ground, shouting as loud as she possibly could. The shop was on a small hill so I couldn’t let go of the trolley or it would have run away with a couple of hundred euros worth of toys, and my car was parked about 100 meters down the road, so it wouldn’t have been safe to have left my daughter and walked that far away. (My daughter is extremely strong willed and if I had walked away, I don’t think she would have followed). Thankfully, a woman who ran a neighbouring shop, came out to see what the commotion was about and offered to hold onto my trolley until I had my daughter strapped into her car seat. So, with arms flailing and legs kicking, I was able to get my daughter to the car and go back for my trolley. However, I’d made some new resolves
1. Never bring children to a toy shop unless you intend on buying them something.
2. Always try and shop at a toy shop that has a car park and isn’t located on a hill!
3. When possible, buy toys online!
So, after that experience and talking to some friends who had online shops, I went to work opening an online toyshop, and with the help of a very useful ‘Start your own business’ course run by Wicklow Local Enterprise Office and Talentpool my shop was ready to open in October 2014 and I haven’t looked back.
I feel so blessed to still be a SAHM and yet my life is a lot more balanced. At the end of each day, I’m able to look back and see what I have achieved in my business (and hopefully in 14 years of so, I’ll be able to look back and see what I’ve achieved with my children by staying at home! – by then my daughters will hopefully be using knives and forks) Then my life will be fulfilled and I’ll be able to retire from both and move to the Caribbean with all the money I’ve made from selling toys!!!