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Thursday, February 7, 2013


Since I was about fifteen I have known exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I had every last detail planned for the next fifteen years- I was going to design sets for period dramas then meet my husband around age thirty and have our four children. I didn't, however, think about how I would maintain my career while caring for said offspring. I lived up to my own expectations in that I did pursue a career in film, it just didn't suit me. Working fifteen plus hours a day, on my feet, often outside and far away from home was not what I had envisioned. I had to work for free just to gain experience even though I wasn't necessarily doing more than manual labour rather than learning relevant skills. 

I landed my first well paid job as an art director for a tv show, it was ultra low budget and I was expected to work on the weekend without additional pay. The crew were fun, as most crews I worked with were, and many of my closest friends are from film sets. I had just been swept off my feet into blissful matrimony by Husband and after spending our first week of marriage separated as I was on a film out of town and then not being able to see him during the week to not at all, I decided that I could not hack the film crew lifestyle. The potential career satisfaction was not worth the sacrifice of a social life /spending any time at all with my soulmate. On top of which after having met Husband eight years ahead of schedule the idea of waiting ten years to start a family was unbearable and film set conditions are not conducive to a large family lifestyle, especially while breastfeeding.

I then decided with the help of Husband to switch careers and work as a textile print designer. I loved the design work, even designing and editing prints for the trashy throw away fashion brand I worked for was challenging and inspiring. But soon I became aware of how under valued and very underpaid I was, this on top of a daily office grind which I had not experienced anything like since high school and an abusive superior led me to take up a better offer. This one was not much better paid but my boss was friendly and not only aware but appreciative of my design skills. Still the nagging feeling that I was using my designs and getting a very minor percentage of the profit was depressing. Of course I realize that there is a place for in house designers and team work but it just doesn't satisfy my need to have ownership of what I create.   

Now I am faced with the decision of what to do about it. Right now I am in the very lucky position of being able to stay at home and care for my fourteen week old son. It feels like nothing could be better than nursing, playing and singing to him but I know myself well enough that the idea of returning to the professionally creative world might be something I want to reconsider in the future and I always plan ahead. Husband and I agree that a home run design business is the best option for me to maintain my dream of a four children family, but then every way I look at it something has to give, either I won't put in the hours necessary to achieve a successfully run home business or I will feel like I don't give my children the attention they deserve and I am, hopefully, financially able to give. 

After initial research the universally acknowledged factor seems to be the underestimation of how many hours are needed to run your own (even small home based) business. Will I be able and willing to dedicate the time required? I never shied away from hard work but does having children change that completely? Also will what I gain in professional endeavors render my enjoyment of 'free time' impossible? My son and I sit together while he plays and I can bake/sew/blog and watch period dramas that Husband would never want to watch at the weekend (thankfully for our marriage we like a lot of the same current shows) This all may seem like a ridiculous thing to worry about now, or at all since I am not forced to work. Watching other mothers begrudgingly tear themselves away from their three month olds to rejoin the overworked American work force after a practically non existent maternity leave makes me feel guilty to consider doing so voluntarily even if it is a long way down the road. I guess what it boils down to is can you have a successful home business and give your children the best upbringing at the same time...

On a lighter note the polka dot skirt is finished and I will be posting pictures soon. 

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