I see so many blogs and businesses run by stay-at-home-parents popping up and it's fantastic. The 'Eureka!' idea coupled with knowledge on how to monetise it while also bringing up baby is a new alternative to going back to work too soon, feeling wrenched from your little one, torn between two responsibilities. But, like anything else, running your own business is as hard work as working for someone else. Just because you're at home doesn't mean that you'll get to spend all your time on the new venture when you factor in the little one.
So, how to tackle the fact that you're starting or growing a business you're so excited about with now no spare time because of a little poppet who wants all of your attention?
First of all, you can use nap times to really get the bulk of the work and accompanying admin done. If you put your back into it, much can be achieved in the circa two hours your baby spends catching some winks in the day. It is said that a task takes as long as the time you allocate to it. Not sure that's an absolute truth, but it can happen! When baby awakes, if you have a lightbulb moment, use your phone to email yourself/dictate an idea/write a draft into a notes app. Most of these things there use apps - what would we do without apps! If you're not comfortable being tied to your phone, leave it in another room and use a notebook. There's something less distracting and invasive about a notebook. I'm guessing that for a good bit of the time, your baby will be engrossed in reading, playing, or Cbeebies: these are your windows of opportunity.
But then I bet there's the nagging guilt that you're a bad parent because you want something for yourself, that you're selfishly pursuing your own thing at the cost of neglecting your child for all of 30 seconds, caused by the constant and insidious enforcement of this idea by 'them'. The 'them' I refer to are the people who use your fear, which they created, in order to sell you the latest toy without which your little pumpkin will falter and become immediately disadvantaged. And the 'them' who want to keep people scared that they're never quite good enough for their children. Hey, it sells parenting books. I know I sound like an utter paranoid... But I do think this causes lots of new parents today to feel this ever-present spectre of pressure to be textbook perfectly and flawlessly there one hundred per cent of the time, both physically and mentally on standby in case you're wanted (not needed) immediately. To be Stepford mums and dads.
But wouldn't complying with this mean we're just creating a nation of people who want what they want when they want? A generation of demanding children who grow up into adulthood with the kind of unjustified entitlement you see in X Factor auditioners who just cannot handle being told no? Whatever happened to boredom, to waiting, to independence? Isn't it in these moments when Mum and Dad are busy that magical imaginings happen? That creativity strikes? That alone-time fun hits and transports you to another world where you're in charge of what you see, feel and hear? Why are we risking losing this?
Watching your parents do their own thing not only forces you to face and tackle boredom, it inspires you to perhaps try out for yourself what's interesting them so much. We've no heroes these days, really, apart from ready-made 'reality' stars, catapulted into fame with no hard work behind them. What on Earth are we teaching our little ones?
I would never advocate neglecting a child in favour of writing a blog post or developing a business, and I hope it's not coming across this way. I know you'd be there when they need you without hesitation. The tools of business would be downed the very instant you could hear a genuine need in their little voice. As they grow older, it's invaluable for them to learn that being bored is a doorway to imagination and freedom. As is being shown first-hand what creativity married with hard work can do for the mind and soul, and that it's good. Children will benefit from this, like my generation did, much more than from a mummy or daddy who is basically their slave.
Use your gut feeling: if you feel like you're being genuinely neglectful or ignoring baby, then you probably are. If you know that they know they're loved, I think you're fine.