I am delighted to include an In Conversation With series on the blog with some lovely Momma’s and Papa’s who would like to share their tips, tricks and ideas on gaining that understated balance on parenting life. As a full time working Mom and Dad, B and I are often trying to find the correct balance with our careers and our home life. It’s never easy to know if you’re doing the right thing by your children or your partner and as always parenting guilt can take over. It takes a while to get into a routine with work and babies but oddly you do find that routine and manage some sort of equilibrium that suits your family. For me the balance comes with getting quality time with A. This week I speak to a stay at home mother who has raised her two children in the rural countryside of Co. Meath.
Every family is different. Stay at Home Moms and Dads, full time working parents, parents who work from home. The scenario and the situations are different for everyone but I strongly believe we can learn from each other and figure out this parenting lark.
The first conversation in the series is with Margaret Moore who lives in a beautiful and scenic part of County Meath, Ireland. Rolling hills and fields surround Margaret and her family in this idyllic part of the country. As a Stay at Home Mom, Margaret has uncovered a talent with a sewing machine and successfully set up her own business, Sew Handy, through her hobby which she runs from her home.
Thank you so much to Margaret for taking the time to speak with me. Please check out her Facebook Page and her beautiful creations and give her a like!
How many children do you have?
I have two. My oldest is a girl. She will be 11 this September and a boy that will be 8 in July.
What is your business?
Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it a business; to me it’s more of a hobby. Its called “Sew Handy”. I started making cushions, bunting etc. I now make a variety of personalised gifts for various occasions as well as some minor alterations and repairs.
What inspired you to start your own business and do you like what you do?
My Mam. She was gifted with a sewing machine. She could make all sorts of clothes, made wedding dresses, curtains and more, and all from a spare room in our house.
She passed away in October 2012. My sister and I were clearing some bits from the house and we came across her sewing machine. Neither of us had any interest in it but couldn’t bring ourselves to just get rid of it, so I took it.
That Christmas I got a notion that I wanted to make a decoration for my sitting room. When I had it made I posted a picture of it on Facebook, very proud of myself. Much to my amazement two of my friends asked me to make them something similar. It sort of snowballed from there, no pun intended.
So two plus years later I’m still making things for people.
I really enjoy it. It’s a great feeling when someone asks you to create something personal and when they get it, it can mean so much to them. Last year a lady asked if I could make two memory cushions for her kids from a pair of their grandads old pj’s. They had been very close to him and he had just passed away. There was a little verse embroidered on the cushions and when they were finished I was delighted with how they had turned out. She came to collect them and was so emotional when she saw them. Something like that is really special. Those kids have a memory of their grandad that they will keep with them forever and I made it. Not bad for someone who barely passed Home Economics in the Leaving Cert!
What are the most challenging aspects of managing your business and your family and how do you overcome them?
As I view it as a hobby, it always comes second to kids and home. I always try and organise my week so that I get one school morning that is dedicated solely to sewing. This doesn’t always happen. Most of my work I do in the evening once they are in bed or at weekends. This is aided greatly by my hubby who is always happy to do the bed time routine or the weekend football or swimming if I’m trying to get something finished.
How do your children feel about you working at home? Do you think they are happier than if you worked out of the house?
I’m not sure they view it as a job. To them it’s just something Mammy does. I hope they are happier to have me at home with them but I’m sure sometimes when I’m giving out to them for something they have done they might have different feelings on the subject.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a work from home mother?
I guess I’m just proud of the little things I’ve taught myself to do over the past few years. There have been a couple of alterations I have been asked to do that I have really not known where to start. I remember years ago having a conversation with my Mam. She was sitting in front of the sewing machine doing something, I can’t exactly remember what. I asked her “how do you know how to do that”. She said that when she was asked to do something she wasn’t 100% sure about she would never just start straight away. She would wait a day or two. At night when drifting off to bed she would think about what she had to do and most of the time the solution or process would come to her. I took her advice and find myself doing that to. Sometimes I kick myself when I think of all the times she tried to show me how to do something and I just wasn’t interested. What I’d give for an hour to quiz her now.
When it comes to things I’ve made I suppose the double bed sized memory blanket I made from baby clothes was the most time consuming thing I’ve made. 64 patches cut into 20*20 cm squares then assembled together to make a blanket. It took a long time but was amazing when it was finished. I have since made ones for my own two kids and they love them.
Anything else you would like to share with other Work-at-Home-Moms?
I think just for all moms, the hardest job I think we will ever have is being mothers. I remember the first time it dawned on me that I was my child’s mother. The weight of responsibility that falls upon you when you realise that this little human is your responsibility and whatever happens from here on, mine and my husband’s needs will always come second to theirs.
I read somewhere once that “if we didn’t love our children, they’d be a lot easier to raise. We wouldn’t feel compelled to worry about them, to figure out what’s best for them, to keep them healthy and safe.” The truth is all we can do is our best; they don’t come with a manual, trust me I’ve looked. We do our best, try not to second guess our decisions and most of the time, cross our fingers and hope we’re doing the right thing.