Before I had my son my work was very important. I had built the business up over almost 10 years and I was proud of what I’d achieved. As the time passed it gathered momentum and I began to love it more and more. I furnished flats and designed and installed show homes for developers, the hours were long and the work was very physical, I often found myself driving to Ikea at 8pm to collect a wardrobe that had to be built and installed by 9am the following morning, but I was busy, the money was good and I was my own boss.
Now I’m back doing the Interior Design and I also have an online shop for cool things for kids and babies as well as things for generally lovely homes.
I suppose I never fully stopped working when I had Rafferty, I was taking calls 2 days after the birth like a lunatic! My thought process was, I’m self employed, I can’t stop doing this or I won’t make money. I also thought, well I could do it before so why not carry on, it can’t be that hard to combine a baby with work, how very wrong I was! I ended up leaving my biggest client because although they gave me a lot of work it wasn’t making me the best money so I had to stop being a busy fool and streamline what I was doing.
I also started to feel like I wasn’t doing a good job of anything, being a mum, being a wife or even work, I was spreading myself too thin and although I pretended I was fine I knew my confidence in everything was dropping. I felt I couldn’t enjoy my time with Rafferty because I needed to work, but when I worked I felt guilty for not being with him. After about 6 months of this I discovered my husband was having an affair so that was it really, my confidence went entirely and I just existed through the days for the baby. I spent about 6 months trying to stop everything from spiralling out of control, I was barely working and I was very confused about what my next step should be. I felt like any enjoyment of being a mum had been taken away from me too and I really struggled with that, I’d wanted a baby so badly, but now I couldn’t enjoy it in the way I thought I was going to because I was literally holding myself together every day. I’d failed at marriage, I was failing as a mum and I’d failed with work, the 3 most important things and I couldn’t get any of them right!
As the divorce was granted I decided that I needed to slowly get back into working, so I set up pompoms make me smile, a site full of pretty things that have no meaning other than they made me happy, it was just what I needed at the time. I post on Facebook and Twitter every day just commenting on the random things I’ve found or the things I sell, and it’s really helped, it gave me a focus and I enjoy it. It didn’t bring in too much money though so now that it was just me and the little one I had to start pulling myself together properly and the answer was to get back to work properly, the Interior Design work, and actually I really looked forward to it. I’m still a bit battered and broken, but I know that it’s the right way to go for me, work has always been my fall back and I suppose it defines me a little bit, it’s like welcoming an old friend back and I’m looking forward to where it might take me and Rafferty.
I wish I hadn’t taken so much for granted, and wished so much time away. The first few months were hard, adjusting and realising that selfish wasn’t a word in my dictionary anymore, but I wish that instead of fretting so much that I’d been able to enjoy the small things more.
It’s been very tough, I think I expected too much of myself and when I couldn’t do it all it was a bitter pill to swallow. The failure of my marriage has been the hardest part though, it’s made me wonder if it really is possible to have it all, and how many people actually do manage it? For some reason though now that it’s just the two of us it seems simpler and clearer.
You might feel sometimes that you’ve lost yourself and your identity, but you haven’t and it’s still there, it’s just changed and actually even though it’s so much harder, it’s also the most rewarding thing in the world.
I’ve realised that I’m not rubbish at everything, I just put too much pressure on myself to be perfect, and then I was left reeling when I realised I wasn’t. So I take little steps now and expect much less of myself and that has really helped. I also value work more now because I’ve streamlined it and not taken so much on, I enjoy working in the evenings because it beats watching tv all night, and I feel like I’m getting my passion back for what I do. I’ve also learnt that you don’t just have to say yes to whatever the client wants, that my opinion is actually worth something to them and if I say no to them sometimes it’s actually a good thing. I started small when I got back into work, I started by doing something for the fun of it and then I got back into what I knew from before and I realised that I’m good at it, I enjoy it, other people enjoy it and I can support myself and my son, and from there my confidence is slowly getting back up there too and I feel more like my old self, but with a better (and smaller) partner by my side!
You can visit Pip’s gorgeous website – www.pompomsmakemesmile.com and Interior Design service at www.hjemstudio.com