And Breathe…..

On Sunday it was ‘And Relax’.

Today it is most certainly ‘And Breathe’.

Breathe because the school half term plus teacher training is over.  I don’t think I have been this thankful for a school holiday to end as I have this one.  It has seemed so stressful.

Since moving to Wales and opening the shop I have been working school holidays.  This is something I never did in my previous job as I was on a term time contract.  However, when we moved and I went self employed my working life changed completely.  I still work hard.  Working for yourself really is a hard job.  Especially when you are a one woman band.  Everything is down to you.  There are so many things you need to remember to do.  So many things to keep on top of.  So many things that you can’t let slip.  A real big juggling act.

The stress really did go, a little remained but just enough to keep me on my toes and not have an impact on my life outside work.  I no longer wake thinking of work related to do lists that seem nigh on impossible to complete in a working week let alone a working day which I do them in.

The hours I work have completely changed.  Changed for the better?  Yes and no.  I don’t work the long hours that I did.  Well, that is what I try to tell myself.  Currently I am working 4 days a week for 4 hours each day in the shop.  Seems much better to me.  I save 2 hours a day in commuting.  But then I need to factor in all the paperwork.  Time updating the website, time going to the post office to send parcels and to bank money.  Then comes promoting on social media.  I also take home our handmade puzzle names to paint at home.

I also have carried on with my previous job but from the other side of the table on a self employed basis.  I have just started to look for clients that aren’t family/friends who approached me to complete work for them.  This is a hard slog.  I have spent so many hours replying to leads/enquiries especially on PPH.  The few jobs I have done have not been straight forward and I have spent so much time chasing clients for additional information.  I understand why it takes so long to a response from them.  They are self employed people working on their own, with pressures, just like me.  Their time is spend concentrating on doing the job not the paperwork side.  The time available for this is limited and it always seems to be at the end of the to do list.

Finally, I run this blog.  The majority of the time the hours I put in to it are unpaid.  But I believe the majority of you reading this are in the same boat.  Occasionally there will be a paid job.  Sometimes just the review item.  Other times vouchers or when really lucky actual cash payments.  In all honesty, if we didn’t write posts and keep blogging away for free would these paid jobs come our way?  I think the answer there is no.  A large amount of work over a long period of time is what is required to get our little toe on the ladder of making money from our blogs.  Very few fall in to making real money without plenty of unpaid posts.

So true! Self-employment Humour

Why do I run 3 businesses and a blog?  Well to be honest the toy shop is seasonal.  We do make sales online but they are a small percentage of our trade.  Living in a seaside town that depends heavily on tourists, means my main selling period in Easter to October.  A small 7 month window.  With school holidays being the time when I open all day and 6 days a week.  The school holidays, the time I want to spend with my children.

The rest of the year I need the other businesses to support me during the remaining 5 months but I can’t just shut them down completely when the shop is at its busiest.  As for blogging, I like blogging and I never went into blogging as a way of making money.  In fact until I left my job in January 2013 I couldn’t take on paid work as it was against my employment contract.

When I decided that we were moving to Wales, this brought on new challenges to us as a family and the previous title of my blog (and ULR) seemed no longer appropriate to the subjects I was blogging about.  Scrapbooking really was a small percentage of the content.  This is why I set this new blog up and it’s name covers a multitude of subjects I wish to write about now and what I may write about in the future.

Life really has changed since January last year and hopefully for the better.  I am certainly less stressed, although last week seemed more stressed and I was glad when it was over.  But it wasn’t a typical school holiday week.  Yes, I had the untypical stress of taking The Girl to work.  I’m self employed, I can do that but believe me sometimes I think it would be easier to find a holiday club!  The boy at 12 can be left at home for 4 1/2 hours.  There are regular phone calls and he did come down the shop by choice for some time.  He also enjoys the freedom of going to friends house’s or playing outside with them which never would have happened in The Midlands.  There is one strict rule, in that no other children come in our house without me being there.  I trust my son on his own but they are still 12 year old lads and they are not being left in my house unsupervised.  I know they are supervised at his friends houses and their parents agree with me that a group of them are not quite old enough to be unsupervised in a house just yet.

I also went in to hospital on the Wednesday for some tests under general anesthetic which left me very drained towards the end of the week.  Subconsciously, I suppose I was a little stressed about these tests.  My Dad came as there was a chance I could have been kept in overnight and I needed an adult with me for 24 hours after.  It always stresses me when he is here.  Our home is not big enough.  He is hard of hearing and even though he has hearing aids, he refuses to wear them so he shouts constantly.  It is very frustrating and winds me up no end as there is something he can do about it and refuses point blank to.

For once the stresses in my life were not work related but I just let them get on top of me so much.  I honestly think I had forgotten how to deal with extra stress as our lives are so relaxed now.  This is something I really need to work on over the next few weeks as I can’t face 6 weeks of this added stress over the summer.

But one thing I have learnt about my working life is that although I do enjoy my life out of work, I know I could never be a SAHM.  I must also not let my job define me and take over my life.  I also know I should evaluate and plan ahead for aspects of my personal life that can effect my happiness.

You really should work to live and not live to work but also work on personal happiness and anything that is not making you happy should be looked at and dealt with by using a different approach.  I know that to find my true happiness I need to do this.

What do you need to do to find true happiness in your life.  Is there something holding you back that could be changed by using a different approach?

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