First of all let me be honest… There was no grand ‘I quit’ moment. There was no walk out. Rather more of a ‘me sobbing quietly into my boss’s very understanding arms’ moment and accepting that it was time for things to change.
I started working with Fi at Bluebellgray just one month after launching the blog in 2011, wow… In fact, it was her suggestion to start my own blog all those years ago, hence the name, but, shortly after, she found her own business growing and it seemed like a great fit for me to come on board. Back then there were three of us packed in amongst mountains of cushions in the tiniest studio and we all did a lot of packing and ironing and invoicing and I took on some social media duties too. Over the years Fi grew her beautiful business into a hugely successful global brand and I grew into the role of PR and marketing co-ordinator. The Glasgow team grew, as well as developing international reps and teams based around the world, and we relocated to a bigger studio. Fi and I travelled the world for press events and meetings and some of my most treasured memories are from those trips – river swimming in Germany, sunset cycles in LA, boat trips in Toronto, all that New York shopping (erm, ‘research’), late night truffle pizzas in Paris… We did a heck of a lot of work too I promise.
I was lucky, like really, really lucky, that my day job allowed me flexibility. What began as five days a week compressed into four and then three as the blog became more demanding. I was also travelling for fashion weeks and blog meetings and press trips and it all worked rather nicely for some time. When I say ‘rather nicely’ what I really mean is that I somehow just about managed to keep my head above water, often only sleeping four or five hours a night, but it was amazing; living the dream and absolutely not willing to give up either of my passions – Bluebellgray or Thankfifi…
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Then life changed. My father’s health wasn’t so great and I fell pregnant. One of those things alone would have been a challenge, let me tell you, but both together were getting on top of me. I could no longer sustain on minimal sleep – I needed to take better care of myself and I wanted to spend more time with my family. Cutting down to two days a week at Bluebellgray was a big decision. I felt I was conceding that this was not going to be my career path. I had by no means checked out but I was also acutely aware that on two days a week, I simply could not make the same impact as someone full time. There were tears then as I came to terms with my own choice… I remember wailing to my colleague, ‘Is this what I am now, a mother? Is this what defines me now?’. (What I know now is that, in fact, to be defined as a mother is truly a blessing but try telling my four month pregnant self that…).
But it was absolutely the right thing. Those extra days spent with my father will be forever cherished.
And before I knew it May rolled around and my maternity leave from the day job began. Nine glorious months, maybe even twelve, seem to stretch so far in front of you that what happens at the end is not even a tiny thought in your mind. In the beginning…
But sure enough those months fly by. And it was time to make a decision.
Over the past six and a half years I have worked really, really hard on this space of mine. I have been lucky sometimes but every penny I make, I graft for. I network, I take meetings, I travel (it is most certainly not always glamorous), I curate and create, I source and pull products, I shoot and I edit, wow I spend a lot of time editing, I am a slave to my inbox, I invoice and I file tax returns, I pitch projects and I try my damnedest to keep up with the ever changing landscape of social media. And I love it. And somehow I make a living. So it was now or never.
I came to a point where I went round and round in my head trying to fathom how I could not only maintain this business I had worked so very hard to create whilst also being a reasonable mother AND go back to the day job. But it simply did not add up. Or rather the hours required added up to more than I had.
If I had not spent all this time and energy to build my own business for the very purpose of truly managing a good work life balance then what had it all been for? I feel so incredibly lucky to be in a position where I can spend time with this beautiful boy, I can walk my dogs and drink endless cups of tea with my mum. And I can still work. The mums step in two days a week for me to truly focus on Thankfifi and Hunter just started half days with a childminder along the road (allowing me the time to write epic posts like this, ha). And yes, sometimes it spans into the evenings and often the weekends too but it works. I have a balance… or at least a blend.
So, with a very heavy heart I broke down into Fi’s arms and confessed that, as much as I wanted to, I simply could not do it all. I think she teared up too. But she understood. Can you even imagine having a boss who is such a wonderful friend that they would message you afterwards just to tell you that you have made the hardest decision but that you will never regret choosing to spend time with your son? Well that’s Fi. Bluebellgray is like my family – I loved my job there and I love the brand and, perhaps even most of all, I love the team I worked with. But it is time for my new chapter…
This little baby just changed everything for me.
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