Sunday, April 22, 2012

7 Coping Strategies for Working Mums

Its not easy being a fulltime working mother - not only do we have to cope with the pressures of work, but we also have a house and family to run and we live with the guilt that we're not doing any of it well enough. I'm sorry if you think the title of this post is a bit sexist - don't fathers need coping strategies too? Yes I'm sure they do, but I'm not a father, so I can’t comment on that. My husband works incredibly hard and he has his own coping strategies which are very different to mine. He works long hours and often 7 days a week in a very physically demanding job, so the running of the household (cleaning, cooking, shopping, washing and finances) is down to me as is the day-to-day sorting of the kids (remembering things for school, lifts to parties, activities, doctors appointments etc). Being a mother of 5 and running a house the size of a football pitch (no really, I'm not joking) is a fulltime job in itself - you have no idea how much washing my family generate for a start, so its a small miracle I manage to fit in working full time running our garden centre and landscaping business too.  I give a snapshot of my life in this post A Day in the life of a Mother in France  Oh, and then there's the gardening club we run and the students I find host families for from time to time and then of course I have our 3 holiday apartments to manage.  No wonder I'm finding it difficult to squeeze a bit of blogging in too, oh and what's happened to my book… it’s a work in progress!

So, what's my secret? How do I manage to keep going without buckling under the pressure. Well I'm far from perfect and sometimes I do buckle - there are times when I snap and scream and very occasionally I get to the point where I think I can't take any more, but usually I carry on regardless and still manage to enjoy life on the way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So you think you want to be Self-Employed in France!

I know it’s been a while and I’m sorry if it appears I’ve been neglecting my blog, but I’ve been busy – even busier than usual if that’s possible.  This year, true to one of my New Year Resolutions at least, I’ve been putting a lot of my energies into the business side of my life.  It’s not easy being self-employed and although I have been for most of my working life (15 years in England and now 8 years in France), I find I’m learning new things every day.  I’ve been thinking recently about what it is that makes a business successful.  It’s not just about the business itself – of course you need to offer something other people want, but it’s also largely down to the individual.  

To be self employed in any country you need to have certain qualities, but to be self employed in France (or any country other than the one you were brought up in), these special characteristics become even more important.