Two months ago we made a huge decision that would truly change our family dynamic. That decision was that my husband would give up his full time job and set up a business from home. A business that both of us would work on together. Sometimes I still can't believe it's actually happened, for us it really is living the dream, and I am so glad that we took a risk. It definitely isn't dramatic to say it's completely changed our lives.
It definitely wasn't a decision we made lightly. I have been working freelance on and off for about three years, but took the risk and ended up handing in my notice in my previous travel industry marketing job when LL was 11 months old, after deciding not to return after maternity leave. I have always been career orientated, having a great job before the girls, but for my previous role I had to go away a week of every month and that just wasn't right for me after having my babies. I've been properly working freelance for a year and a half now and it's the best thing I ever did. I work mainly managing social media clients, doing blogger outreach, writing and of course having the odd opportunity that this blog brings. Sometimes it can be scary not knowing what money I could be bringing in each month, but luckily I have some great long term clients now who I hope won't be going anywhere for a while. Mr E is a designer and had been working for a local company for a couple of years, with some freelance work on the side in the evenings, and for ages had been saying he would love to work for himself. However we just didn't dare take the risk, after all we really relied on his full time wage.
But then just before Christmas he got given the opportunity to do a short term freelance project on the side in the evenings and at the weekends. That freelance work went really well and the company he was doing it for offered him a full time six month contract. After much discussion we agreed that this seemed like the perfect opportunity to set up on our own as we had the security of six months worth of work and therefore six months worth of pennies coming in. And that's where we are now. We decided on a new business name, set up our company, and created a lovely, motivating little office space for ourselves.
Sometimes I still can't believe we are doing this. It sounds cheesy but I feel like I am utterly living our dream. I didn't know what it would be like at first having him at home constantly, but I genuinely couldn't be happier. In fact we have both commented that our relationship has actually got even stronger as a result of this change in our lives. We are joint parenting our girls, we get to be together so much as a family, and to put it quite simply my best friend is by my side non stop. We have settled into a routine that I work 'properly' on a Tuesday and Thursday when the girls are at nursery all day, but in reality I work a lot more than that in the evenings, nap times and whenever I can squeeze some more time in. If Mr E has got a lot done in a day, he will often finish at 3pm and let me do a couple of hours work for a while- and that's where it's just so fantastic and flexible.
Mr E has always been an incredibly hands on Dad- he gets the girls dressed in the mornings and gives them breakfast, and has done from Day One. Because he worked locally he was home for tea time and he plays a huge part in their lives, he has never been a parent who is frightened to have them on his own, he would have them for a week at a time if he needed to. He has also always been incredibly supportive of me and my work, and now it all seems to have just slotted into place. We both help each other, bounce ideas off each other, but most of all we have fun. There's nothing better than having a 'work mate' you can suddenly stop working and cuddle, or someone who can tell if you are having a bad day and will go and get some chocolate and a diet coke from the shop. We laugh all day long, it's never serious in our little office, and I genuinely do enjoy spending time with him.
Of course I wouldn't want to paint a picture that it's the perfect working life, because of course nothing is rarely perfect. At the moment he is still in this six month contract, but I am sure life will be a little bit more stressful when that ends. After all he will have to find new clients all the time, and we all know that isn't always the easiest when there is so much competition. When Mads was just a few months old Mr E got made redundant and it was such a scary time, I remember at one point crying my eyes out as we couldn't afford to pay our mortage one month. Luckily now we are comfortable, but I don't want it to be like that again. And yes of course we bicker, like most couples, although I wouldn't say working together has made us get sick of the sight of each other and argue more. But some days he can definitely drive me mad and I know he would say the same about me. I also massively struggle with a work/life balance, some weeks I am fine and feel like I switch off, but some weeks I struggle and am up till the early hours catching up, or just generally feeling stressed with what I have to do. I am not good when stressed and sometimes, especially when you factor in this blog and all I like doing for this, I just feel so worked up and on edge.
Above all though, it has been such an amazing time for our family and I couldn't be more thankful. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have him at home with me, and helping me raise our children so equally, but at the same time it isn't solely luck- all those years of 2am finishes, years of stressing about money, wondering how we were going to pay the bills, all those cancelled trips away because we had to work, and all those weekends where one of us went to a local hotel to work and missed out on family time have finally reaped rewards. It might not last forever, one day the money might not come in as regularly, and one or both of us may have to return to other employment as opposed to working for ourselves, but for now I am going to treasure every single minute of having no boss, (Mr E if you are reading this you are not my boss like you like to pretend sometimes!) the fact that we can sneak off for a lunch together, have an impromptu day out as a family, and above all raise our little girls lovingly together.
It's been years and years of very hard work to get to this point, but for now I'm living my work dream. And actually I am living my life dream too.
It's not always perfect, most definitely not. But it's my perfectly imperfect life. And for that I couldn't be more thankful.
I'm away this week and silly me forgot to ask my lovely friend Donna (hi Donna!) to host it as she usually does, but fear not, I will read the other ordinary moments when I am home!
Have a good week everyone! x