Being My Own Boss & Working From Home With Children: The Reality…

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Morning folks 🙂 It's Sunday, and I tend to muse about more personal things at the weekend, and this weekend is no exception, except that is to say perhaps, that I've not blogged anything quite this personal before  

If you're wondering why on earth I'm sharing anything personal at all on a wedding blog, it is purely for this reason:  I want to connect on a more personal level with my readers.  My readers mean the world to me. I want them to trust me and see that I'm a real person, who puts this blog and her family first. Every time.  I want my beloved readers to feel they know me a little, and get a sense of how very important this blog is to me.  OK?  Good.  Less yadder yadder.  More to the point.

I love my job. No doubt about it. I get to do amazing things and meet amazing, creative people.   I am contacted by some of the best Photographers in the UK and asked to feature their work.  I am asked to get involved in all sorts of exciting projects, several of which I have up my sleeve at this moment, and that if I was told only one year ago would be happening right now, I absolutely would not have believed it.

Yes, I love my job.  I love being my own boss, and love that my daily commute to work involves nothing but a few steps along the landing to the office.  I have a wonderful Husband, two beautiful little girls, the youngest of which turns one year old on Wednesday and we have two adorable rescue dogs, Tarka and Izzie.

We've a house, two cars, a family who love us and supportive friends.

Life couldn't be better.

Life is perfect.

Life is…….exactly what I want you to see it is through my blog, photoshoots, Facebook persona and chirpy Twitter messages.  The reality is sometimes very, very different.

Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Katy Lunsford, {left}, Polly Alexandre {middle}, Lisa Devlin {right}

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Love My Dress is associated with glamorous content; beautiful brides, vintage inspired loveliness, chic and elegant wedddings.  A strong community is developing over here too – slowly but very surely, as I foray in to the 'discussion post' arena {encouraged by lovely friends like Rebecca and Cara}. This is the biggest reward a blogger could ever wish for – feedback and regular interaction from readers. It means what I'm doing is making a difference. Having an influence.  Inspiring.

I love my job.  I get to do fun things like play the party host {above left} have photographs taken by Photographers at the top of their game {top middle} and sometimes, I even get to play the model {above right, yikes!!}

But most days of course, I am a 'work from home Mum'. 



I'm going to be honest with you.  Sometimes {actually, almost all of the time}, I feel a fraud. I sit here writing up glamorous pieces of blog pretty, whilst looking like a tramp in my grotty grey baby dribble stained tracky bottoms pyjamas and battered old Ugg boots, because we all know how 'uncool' it is to step outside the house in a pair of ugg boots these days {heaven forbid!}, mine have been relegated to 'foot warmers'. Slippers that warm your calves 🙂

The photos above are of the person I want you to see.  'Lady Love My Dress', the glamorous blogger and Summer Soiree host extraordinaire.  The photo below is of the real, every day, regular ol' me. No airbrush and absolutely no botox.  The me my kids and Husband see, day in, day out.  Makeup free, messy hair and tired. I don't wear makeup because I genuinely don't have time to put any one when I'm working from home. I rarely have time to wash my hair and when I do, it will always be left to dry naturally and endup up fluffy and lifeless. It takes too long to blow-dry it if I'm honest, and my GHDs haven't seen the light of day in months.

Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Annabel Beeforth, Love My Dress

The real Wedding Blogger...

I should have gone to the hairdressers two weeks ago and I'm overdue an appointment at the Dentist, and Opticians.   Personal grooming comes last these days in my list of priorities.

So, working from home.  Should mean I can have a bit of a lie in, be more in control of my time, take things in my own stride.  Ha!  My average day starts around 5.30am when my little baby Leanora Rose wakes.  I feed her some milk and then set about my working day, which usually involves frantically trying to finish up a blog post, unless I was lucky enough to have got it done the night before.  Monday to Wednesday, I leave the house around 7.40am to drop Leanora off for her 8am nursery session.  I am usually always late. I've actually stopped apologising now, it started to get embarrassing! 

I return home around 8.30am and whilst my Husband sees my Daughter get's to School OK, I set about an intense 4 hours of work before it's back to nursery to collect Leanora at 1pm.   During those 4 hours, I share all sorts of glamour, chic and elegant inspiration on Love My Dress.  All the while, this is what I'm actually looking at:-

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Not that I'm complaining, you understand. Like I said, I love my job.

If {I said *if*} Leanora naps in the afternoon, I maybe get to squeeze between another 60 – 90 minutes work in.  If not, it's emails with 1 finger whilst I bounce the baby on my knee.  It's lunch stood up and eaten with one hand whilst I hold the baby with my other.  If Leanora doesn't nap, it's another frustrating afternoon thinking about what work I could be catching up on.  I've tried the whole 'may as well forget about work and just engage with/enjoy your baby' thing but that is just so much easier said than done when you have 250 odd unread emails awaiting your attention and invoices to send out.

Then before I know it, it's 3.30pm and my eldest is back from School.  We have an agreement I won't work from then until 7pm.  But again, this is MUCH easier said than done. I find myself itching like a mad woman wanting to check email.  FInally, it's bath books and bed for the children.  We aim to have them lights out and fast asleep by 8pm at the VERY latest.  And after that, when I'm just about done in, my working day actually starts and I slog it out for as long as I can, before I literally fall apart with tired.  I may finish at 11pm, I may finish at 3am. It depends how energetic I'm feeling.  This is not an ideal time for me to be working, as my productivity is lower given I'm feeling tired, but I do my best.

Leanora stays at her Grandparents every Wednesday night – sometimes Thursday too! And that helps too. A WHOOOOLE lot! I miss her incredibly, of course, but the God's honest truth is that more often than not, I am relieved beyond words to have my load lightened a little, to have an evening where I can cut my level of responsibilities by half, where I can maybe, just maybe, get in bed before midnight. I'm just human afterall, I'm not going to feel guilty about this – it's a whole lotta hard slog, this owning your own business, working from home and being a Mummy thing.



Honestly? Sometimes I don't. In the past 6 months, I've experienced regular tears, stress, exhaustion and even a bit of a mini-melt-down.  You see a perfectly quaffed party host, a blogger styled up to the nines for a photoshoot, a PR photo of me at my best.  The reality is most days I'm sat here feeling rather bedraggled and wishing I had gotten up a bit earlier to take a shower and get ready before I started my day. Honestly, when I read my own 'top tips' back in this post, I laugh! 😉 Who was I kidding?!?

The crunch came during the last half term back in April this year, when I had a 7 month baby and 5 year old child to entertain/care for.  On top of that, I was trying to run my own business {I am currently personally responsible for every single aspect of running my business, from trying to find time to nurture my sponsor relationships, to press and PR, to invoicing, researching, general admin, to writing freelance  magazine features and working on the various projects I'm involved in, to designing my own graphics and getting my head around bespoke blog templates {HTML and CSS are like my second language}, and that's before I even begin to draft a blog post!  I found myself one Wednesday during that half term literally tearing my hair out as my baby cried, my 5 year old demanded lunch and I fell behind on just about everything I needed to do.

And I caved.  Big time caved.

I'm not embarrassed to tell you this because I want other working Mum's out there who are trying to run their own business from home to know that you are not alone in your stresses.  That we, all the rest of us, go through it too – the daily grind.

A big family meeting ensued after said mini melt-down {as did many tears, hugs, words of support and understanding from my frankly amazing family}. We sat for hours discussing priorities, wants, needs, demands – everything.  And we came up with a big plan.  A big Blue Peter job of a plan, several A4 bits of paper crudely stuck together with sellotape and a weekly schedule scribbled all over the joins of paper. A Monday to Saturday hour by hour schedule covering what needed doing, and when, allocating me time to work on the blog, go to the gym, be Mum and have a bit of time for me.  It was a pretty strict schedule, but it was do-able.

Perfik.  I could look forward to order returning to my life. I even wrote a list for myself, something to stick on my wall and help keep me remain focused on a daily basis…


That, as I say, was back in April.  Five months ago.  And what have I learned in this time?   I have learned that no matter how many schedules you write or good intentions you have, being a work from home Mum is one hell of a big VARIABLE, and actually, you're probably better off just trying to do what you can do, and bugger the schedule!


I do intend on getting more of a routine going but for now, I'd rather not set myself too many unreasonable goals that leave me feeling like a failure at the first hurdle.  I admire those of you who are more organised than me, who give out advice and top tips via your blogs on how to manage your time and prioritise when working from home but my real world comprises of two human beings dependent on me for their survival, happiness and welfare. And that takes a whooooole lotta energy that eats right out of your personal and work time.

As a result, some things in my life get neglected. They simply have to take a back burner. My house is mostly always a tip and I dread anyone coming round.  If I get to tidy the kitchen and load the dishwasher before I crawl into bed at night, I'm doing really well.   If I get both children in bed by 8pm and am able to half draft the next morning's blog post before my eyes give up on staying open, I'm doing even better. I am struggling to shift my baby weight because I never seem to find time to get to the gym.  I'll often eat really  unhealthy food for meals if my Husband is away because I am too busy to cook something healthy and I can't remember the last time I read a book for pleasure.  I try to watch films to help me relax but I rarely get to watch one in one session, it's usually over 2-3 evenings, and usually viewed in the background, you've guessed it, whilst I'm also kind of working.

I also become forgetful, family birthdays creep up on me out of the blue and I forget to reply to that important email that I really needed to reply to.

When you are a self employed Parent working from home, barely any day runs to any kind of strict routine.  In fact most days feel like they are running in to one.  And it only takes a baby to be a little bit poorly sick for part of the day and the routine flys right out the window.  And I mean, right out the window.  Everything has a knock on effect, like a line of dominoes, it only takes the first one to wobble and the whole pile comes falling down eventually.

But I simply would not change a single thing.  In comparison to being stuck in a mind-numbing day job,  or, without any job at all – in comparison to having a silent house as opposed to one where beautiful songs, shouts and occasionally screams emanate from the mouths of two beautiful little girls, filling every room in the house with a cacophony of sound – in comparison to having a job with no dominoe wobbles, that doesn't challenge me and make me a sronger person, more capable and resolute, I would rather have this ANY day. 



Through all of this, through the past two years of blogging, and the past six months of being a full time wedding blogger, I have learned so much about me and what I'm capable of – my priorities and what is truly important to me.  I have learned for example that if things are super crazy at home, my readers will forgive me for posting a bit late, my visitor stats will not suffer as a result and I needn't mentally beat myself up for it.  I have come to realise that rather than kill myself trying to stick to any routine, and make myself feel inadequate by setting too many unachievable/unrealistic targets, rather than almost maim myself trying to run around like a blue arsed fly ticking off my daily to-do list, it makes far more sense to just embrace every day with a 'I will work hard to get done whatever I can get done today', glass half full kind of attitude. Better to get a smaller amount of higher quality work out of me than to spread myself too thin and deliver rubbish.

As for the superficialities, I don't care if I don't get to put my makeup on, or dry my hair, or read a book or even if I get to bed so late I can't be bothered to remove my makeup. As long as my family are happy, cared for and as long as my beloved little blog business remains healthy and continues to thrive and inspire, then I'll be OK.

THIS is what I work so hard for…





These are my children, my darling Daughters.  That's Eska Eleanor above. She'll turn 6 in November. That's my lovely little Leanora Rose below, she is 1 on Wednesday.  Eska loves to dance and she is a true little performer. I will be amazed if she doesn't end up doing something on stage.  Leanora is such a strong little girl, amazing when I consider what a terrible first half of the pregnancy I had with her {we were told we'd probably lost her early on and had many scares – and she arrived a whole month early}.

I want my children to look back in years and remember Mummy had time to play and be silly.  Not that I was forever fobbing them off with the usual 'Leave Mummy alone for a bit love, I'm too busy' – something I found myself doing way too often around a year ago.

By the way, I just took those photos on my Husband's Canon 1000C with the standard lens and edited in Photoshop. I'm going to treat myself to a much better camera/lens before this year is out 🙂

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When I jacked in the day job to follow my dream, I never had any idea I would need to work so hard.  There are some people in my life that will say to me 'we all work hard' and I know that.  Indeed, most people do.  What I'm trying to convey here is how much energy it takes out of you having to work for yourself, and especially when you're trying to do it from home, with kids!  There are some days it seems like a total uphill struggle, but I wouldn't change a single bit of it.

I love my job.  But being a working Mummy managing her own business from home – it aint all glamour and photoshoots and soiree's.  The reality is late nights, sleep deprived working days, answering the door to the Postman whilst looking like a washed out vagrant and grabbing a bag of crisps to satisy those hunger pangs over lunch time, going to bed and leaving the kitchen looking like the bin exploded and occasionally {not all the time} having to live in a bit of a tip! And you know what? It doesn't matter a jot. 

I have shared this because I want to expose a little of the real me and encourage other women in similar situations to me to keep on going when it all get's a bit too much – to remind them how incredibly lucky we are to have our own businesses, to be our own bosses, and to have our beautiful children to keep us going. I don't want anyone in a position where they are about to become a work from home parent running their own business to be afraid – The reality of being a work from home parent with your own business is very hard work, but it also brings an immeasurable sense of reward and achievement – a level of satisfaction that you can't really describe, that no level of personal appraisal/promotion/feedback from an employer could ever equal.  It is wonderful in a way you would only know if you are doing it, sweating out to make your dream work for you.  It is amazing and definitely, definitely worth all the late nights and sleep deprived days.

I hope whatever you are up to today, you have a lovely one 🙂

I'd love to hear from fellow work-at-home Parents and business owners.  How do you cope? What do you love about being your own boss? What do you loathe? How do you manage the work/life balance thing?   Anyone with any general advice on how to be an all-round Supermum/woman – I'm all ears 😉

Much love to you all, my wonderful readers! 😉

Annabel xXx



ps – occasionally us working business mum's get the chance to doll up and feel pretty.  I am sooooo looking forward to glamming up a bit this Friday as I meet some lovely blog/wedding industry friends and colleagues for an evening of cocktails and chit chat. Let's hope my hair looks a little less lifeless by then, and that those spots have cleared up too 😉

pps – have you seen this post from yesterday? You have until midnight tonight to respond! 😉

ppps – this post makes up part of my 'self employment journals' – read more here.


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.

142 thoughts on “Being My Own Boss & Working From Home With Children: The Reality…

  1. Lovely and honest post. So many people in the same boat and probably wouldn’t change their job for the world. I know that I wouldn’t. Running a business from a busy family home can be the most challenging of things but it’s also the most rewarding. I can add a divorce, a custody battle and sole custody of two beautiful boys into the mix. Hard times a few years ago doing everything on my own but it’s been absolutely amazing for the last couple of years and it’s been worth all of those hard, sleep deprIved and frustrating days. And I’m a Dad! And no longer on my own! :o)

  2. Wow Annabel, I’ve only got half way thru this grabbing breakfast before a four hour drive/delivery but will be reading the rest later, just wanted to say Thankyou… am close to tears but feel a lot better! Nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you for your honesty, so ridiculously reassuring xxx

  3. OH Annabel, I’m typing through tears.
    You don’t know how much I can relate to this. I’ve just about come to the end of one of the toughest years of my life, studying full time, working part-time and raising 2 children.
    My house is an absolute mess, I forget important things for the children and while I’ve been writing my dissertation my PJs have become my uniform.
    I’ve had tears, mini melt-downs and major panics. It is HARD. But I’ve done it Annabel, and you’re doing it too.
    Tying to ‘have it all’ is pointless and exhausting. I’ve decided that when they’re grown up my chldren won’t remember that I didn’t scrub the kitchen floor regularly, keep their bedroom spotless or religiously iron their clothes. They’ll rememember the time I DO make for them and they’ll {hopefully} be proud of what I’ve achieved {3 ALevels, 1st Class degree and almost an MA, all since Izzy was born 7 yrs ago} so they can have a good life.
    Women are VERY good at berating themselves for everything and anything. Annabel, you are a beautiful, talented and creative individual with a loving family. Added to that, you inspire other women on a daily basis. FACT. Who cares about the rest?
    Loveaudrey xxx
    PS If you ever need a hand lightening the blogging workload, I’m sure there would be plenty of volunteers. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, far fom it in fact. That’s something I’ve definitely learnt over the last year.

  4. I have stopped and started reading this a few times but finally managed to get to the end!
    All sounds very familiar!!
    Thanks for writing about it makes me feel a bit more normal being in the same position!

  5. Well thank goodness you are just a regular mum! Refreshingly honest and very comforting to know that you do not spend whole days in ball gowns with hair and makeup in place!
    You are a wonderful role model Annabel and so many people take inspiration from you. You are gorgeous, you have two adorable children and a fabulous husband – sometimes I think we women just expect too much from ourselves and then feel guilty if we don’t achieve absolutely everything every day.
    THANK YOU for posting this – it does make you real and it’s a relief to know you are just ‘normal’!
    Alison xxxxx

  6. I write this while my toddler eats dry cereal in front of Milkshake. I know exactly how you feel, Annabel. Not sure if you need or want any advice as the truth is, as you said yourself, you can only do what you can manage in the end. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a magic solution to all this strain. I guess on the bright side, this situation will ease in a few years when your girls go to school all day and you will be able to have a more structured work day. See, there is hope!

  7. Wow Annabel!
    Written from the heart and stating how it is. You will not be alone – trust me. There are many working mums out there who are berating themselves for being a slummy mummy, poor wife and managing their jobs by their fingernails.
    Lack of sleep, a young baby, and a business that has gone into the supernova – I think a melt-down is perfectly ok. Yikes I would have completed ended up in a puddle.
    When my children were very small I worked full-time, with no family help, no husband, no nanny and no children. I had 2 self-employed jobs as well (which I used to do when the kids went to bed) to put food on the table. Needless to say I had a major melt down too – guilt trips at not being able to cope and actually having to ASK for help was very difficult. We are mothers and we do what we have to do – or we feel we have failed.
    Annabel, we don’t care if you only post one blog on a few days – as you say scrub the ruddy schedule and don’t be hard on yourself
    It gets easier, your beautiful girls will grow up and be so proud of their gorgeous mummy and the icon of the era on all things wedding. It is worth it!
    Lots of love & hugs (( )) Pamela. xx

  8. Such a great, honest and intimate post! All you say is so true and that is why it was such a compelling read! As a wedding photographer, I often think …. Each Saturday I get dressed up, do my hair and look half decent to go photograph a wedding and then I come home shower, leave my hair to dry naturally and put my pj’s on, then that’s pretty much how I stay all week! It’s like my clients see the best of me and my family see the tired, bedraggled and never out of pj’s me! You are doing great work and your blog is amazing for inspiration!

  9. Annabel, I could have written that post. I only got one daughter, but yes, all very familiar. I went to a wedding fayre yesterday, when the day approached I realised how stupid it was to book a wedding fayre table on the last weekend of the summer holidays when I have next to nothing in childcare available. I got up at 5 to have 1.5 hours of work before the kid gets up, I worked till gone midnight, I got there but last Thursday I was a blubbering wreck. That’s just how it is. The stress has to get out sometimes. Would I change it? No. Thanks for sharing, it’s always good to know you are not alone.

  10. Yep, this all sounds quite familiar. One of the first posts I did on my own blog was my “usual” schedule working full-time at home, running my own business and also being a full-time Mum.
    It is without doubt one of the hardest and most tiring things I’ve ever done and to be honest I didn’t think it was possible to more tired than I was after first having children but this is DEFINITELY much worse.
    Just before we went on holiday I pulled 3 all-nighters in the space of about 10 days catching about an hours sleep between finishing work and starting the new day. It’s not good for you and I vowed to never get into that position again but looking at my workload between now and November I’m pretty sure I’ll break my vow. But anyway, enough of me, back to you.
    I think you’re doing great! Don’t worry about the state of the house or the washing pile or the ironing pile, honestly, yours looked teenie-tiny compared to mine! And why bother wearing makeup if people are only going to see you for a couple of minutes at school drop-off and pick-up? It could almost be seen as a waste.
    Also they say that we all wash our hair far too often these days and it’s good to leave a few days between washes to build up the natural oils your hair needs. And furthermore, in that picture with all the scribbles and the invisible spots, you still look gorgeous.
    Give yourself a break, (as in stop beating yourself up) you’ve taken on an impossible task, as all us full-time home working mothers will testify, and you’re still here doing a brilliant job.
    Take care sweetie.

  11. Self employed photographer here….my house is a complete mess, dirty and only the basics get done. I have a teenage daughter who is off the rails a little and I rarely get to see her or give her the attention she is probably craving. Time alone with my hubby is rare and this puts a strain on the marriage. I miss out on so much social life that my friends have literally stopped inviting me places and I just get to look at the fun they had through FB photos. I have many people telling me they envy my lifestyle and I wonder if they new the truth would that feel the same?

  12. Hi Annabel
    What a beautiful and honest post – I think being that open probably helps us all to relate to you a lot
    Not being self employed or a mum I feel like my two pennies worth probably isn’t as interesting as some of your other comments but your post has inspired me to be honest. I work for a large corporate doing a very long houred, stressful job. I never stop. I travel away from home frequently. I haven’t taken a decent holiday in over 6 years. I got promoted earlier this year and ever since feel like I can’t cope, that I’m a fraud and I cry every morning before I leave the house because I hate work that much. I’m scared to change my work, largely because I feel I should be doing something more “me” but have no idea what that looks like.
    But. I have the most beautiful fiance who loves and supports me. Through all the tears he makes me smile and I know he would walk to the end of the world for me. He makes me strong.
    Sometimes have those people around us – husband, fiance, children, friends…that’s all we need.

  13. Your blog made me teary! Because I know how hard you work and I can totally relate. I’m not a parent but I work in a full time job (not many people realise that) and then I do all my thaoski work part time – in the evening till 3pm and then on weekends. My way of coping is a strange one. Every morning I wake up and spend 30 mins writing whatever thoughts come to mind. It’s like meditation. It helps keep me sane. This 30 mins of writing is the most important part of my day. If I do it, I approach the day with clarity and certainty and I know my hard work is going to a bigger cause. If I miss it, i feel run down and become stressed. Not sure if that helped. But that’s my current coping mechanism. To spend 30 minutes writing thoughts.
    ps. You are an inspiration! X

  14. Oh Annabel, can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read this! I know all about the mini-meltdown (it happened last week) Lost the plot slightly…house needed cleaning, dinner needed cooking, masses of ironing, 13 week old baby screaming, 4yr old wanting attention etc etc..and I’m not even back at work yet! Goodness only knows how we’ll all cope but I know we will. We all have to be a bit kinder to ourselves – some things are just not worth stressing about. Thank you for making me feel a whole lot better about my chaotic life! My little boy starts school tomorrow and I have forgotten to buy him a tie but I am going to remain calm!! XX (btw, your girls are beautiful – makes it all worthwhile doesn’t it?)

  15. Darling I dont even work and have a messy house am planning our wedding (8 weeks to go) my partner works abroad my gorgeous polite beautiful angelic little girl has vanished and been replaced by some mad crazed terrible two year old with Carrie style is hard I dont normally read your blogs just flit in and out but read that post word for word was very refreshing…your doing a great job and give a lot of inspiration to drowning brides on how to pull there wedding together and make it unique to them…love and kisses xxx

  16. So good to hear that you are not the only ine on this incessant roundabout. i have two girls 7 & 3 and reguarly pull 3am work stints to get through the work so that I can spend time with my children and try to srt out my house. i have had to learn to let go of things like the ironing. i have always been obsessed with nicely ironed clothes, pyjamas and even tea towels at one stge. Not any more – it gets washed, it gets folded it gets put away. No-one has approached me about my families creasedness and it has been strangely cathartic!
    I think like many in our situation, it is hard, we all love a bit of mrtyrdom but we would not chnage it for the world and I tjink all around us are better off for it
    Well done you, us and all tjose out there trying to do it for themselves xx

  17. Prime example. I just changed my 2 yr old’s bedding for the first time in 2 weeks and he walked in and said (and he can barely speak), “Ahhh, clean sheets!”. I felt reprimanded… 😉

  18. What an amazing and totally bang-on post which has resonated with me on so many levels (particularly answering the door to the postman looking like a vagrant – I’m sure mine looks at me with pity most of the time!)
    A very funny, brave and yet beautiful post, and a heartfelt ‘yes!’ from all of us out here who know how hard it is to juggle life, family and your own business. And you know what, I’m just the same; no matter how hard it is to run your own business and have to do absolutely everything, from web updates to marketing to admin to accounts (as well as squeezing in some actual work), I wouldn’t change it for the world and I wouldn’t go back to having a ‘proper job’ in a million years.
    Well done on sharing such a personal viewpoint and it’s very much appreciated!

  19. Hi Annabel,
    A brilliant post and one that has made me feel much more positive about the week ahead. I love your honesty and I know how much emotional energy it must take to give such personal insights to your readers in the way that you do. But it’s what sets you apart.
    Like Vicki, I don’t have children – yet (and I cannot wait until that time comes) and am not self-employed. But I can totally relate to the anxiety and guilt that comes with balancing a very demanding job and the constant feeling that I’m failing / just not good enough in all other aspects of my life. As Loveaudrey said, us women give ourselves such a hard time. Your posts help dispel the myth that everything is rosy beneath the perfect masks we try so hard to maintain – and for me that is the best kind of role model 😉
    I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am in my career but I still feel I’m not as good at my job as I should be, not a good enough wife / sister / daughter / niece / friend – the list goes on! I look around me and the house is a tip, last night’s dishes are not done and I’m avoiding the gym because I’m too exhausted / jet-lagged and because part of me feels I should be spending the afternoon catching up on some work so I get a head start for Monday!
    Often, I feel as though I’m on an express train to an unspecified destination with no opportunity to disembark and the brakes don’t work! And amidst all of this is the knowledge that my husband and I desperately want children and stress is certainly not going to help matters. BUT, your post has helped me put everything in to perspective. I don’t know how you do it, or any of us do it, but we do. And perhaps it’s not about being perfect – and that maybe, our best (or what we can manage), is good enough.
    Apols for the very long post, I’m going to ignore the mess around me for an other few hours, go to the gym and buy a new dress for AOP next week! xxx
    PS – Interview in NY went really well – but there is to be a 5th round and no decision until end Sept – aggh!

  20. Annabel as you can see from everyone’s reactions to this fantastic post you really are not alone. I have 4 children(4,7,10,12)and run my business from home. I have no idea how many hours I work a week and would need to do a detailed time in motion study to find out. My house has never looked so bad, and I’m not just talking mess, I’m talking collateral damage. This is the woman who single handedly painted her hall, stairs and landing when her 3rd baby was 2 weeks old. Now I run my own business and with 4 kids I’d be lucky to make the beds and put some clean knickers on. I think the work ‘slum’ could best describe it. Standards? What standards. I never get everything done and keep telling myself what’s the point of cleaning everything when the kids will just muck it up anyway. I did once have a cleaner but it took too long to tidy the house before she arrived….
    Like you I dread anyone coming round. I used to have my office in the dining room at the front of the house with no nets. One day a friend called unexpectedly in the afternoon. I was sitting there in my PJ’s, greasy hair, spots exposed, OMG I could have died!
    I present an image of cool calm, I choose to only show images of me, my home and kids that look near perfect and turn my back on the reality and the filth. Other mum’s comment on a weekly basis; “I don’t know how you do it, you must be superwoman!” Wrong! I’m trying to do it all and most times feel like I’m wading through very deep mud. The worst thing is I can be chirpy and joking with friends on line and shouting at the kids at the same time.
    Someone once wrote; “Women, they middle name is guilt.” Well actually I should be called Guilty McKee! It goes with the territory. My husband goes away to place golf twice a year, does he feel guilty? I go to London for 2 days this week, do I feel guilty? Of course. My husband clearly thinks the place is a state but he doesn’t have 4 kids trashing his office and throwing tantrums while he makes a phone call(God how I love email).
    What I do know is that were I to give it all up, spend several hours a day cleaning and doing the perfect wife and mother thing I would be so board. It’s great that your kids are seeing that as a woman you can create your own business and wear so many hats. They will respect you for it! When we look back on these years of childhood we will see that they passed all too quickly and there will be years ahead when we can have more time to ourself and a perfect tidy home. When that time comes and your babies fly the nest, you will still have everything you’ve created and an identity other than a mother. I think that’s so important.

  21. Darling Annabel, I can’t empathise the way everyone else on here can as I have no children…yet. but thank you for being so honest about the constant struggle that is your day, but showing both sides of it – I applaud you! You are a fantastic person who is doing everything so well and we love you for it. I know you will have raised so many spirits with this post and spurred people on to do what they love, and whilst having a family too, which is an inspiring thing. I know when the day comes I am juggling both I will be coming to you for advice and sympathy! Lots of love xx

  22. Thank you for not just sharing but really sharing the realities of home life/work balance. Since having made the decision and taken the steps to become a wedding tog I must admit it has been steep learning curve. Leaving my house for my day job (which feels more like a day&night job because of the hours) at 7.20 am and returning 7 pm leaves very little time for a life between Monday-Friday in any shape or form and on top of that every moment I have is spared for developing my tog career. The guilt of neglecting the husband is immense at times and friends I only meet if we can somehow incorporate photography in. I have no time to loose and for my own and hubby’s happiness I want it to work but as yourself may have discovered I need to be more ‘present’ when I promise to watch a movie, or drink a glass of wine not looking at twitter. It is difficult but I hope I keep getting the support needed from people who matter to me to make it happen.

  23. You have just descibed my life there. Thank you for such an honest post. Getting the work/life balance thingy right is just so bloody hard when you’re self employed. People always say, working from home must be great to me and it is on many a level but it’s also hard when the kid wants to play with you, the husband sits next door alone again in front of the’s hard and I feel guilty on a daily basis. guilty that I haven’t answered my clients email they sent in the morning, guilty that I tell my daughter that I’ll just quickly nip to the home office and that I haven’t had a weekend to spend with my family since erm April…but then I love my job, work ruddy hard and wouldn’t change it for the world. And you me lovely lady are just incredible juggling all these things and I am sending you a big fat hug and massive smooches! And now I run off to the 3rd wedding this weekend xx

  24. Wow! Such amazing feedback! I logged in early as I was so nervous about the response, then went back to sleep for a bit {I like, I went back to bed whilst 2 children crawled all over me pulling my hair, tugging my PJs and begging me to play with them!}. It is so heartwarming to come back to all this feedback 🙂
    Juliet McKeen: “I did once have a cleaner but it took too long to tidy the house before she arrived….” Precisely why I/we don’t have a cleaner!!
    “The worst thing is I can be chirpy and joking with friends on line and shouting at the kids at the same time.” Been there too. That’s when reality bites & you realise something has to give 🙁
    Such honest words Juliet – thank you SO much xXx

  25. Ditto everyone else! You needn’t have been so worried about posting this…hang on in there! Your daughters are absolutely beautiful 🙂

  26. Hi Honey,
    This is a fantastic post – and I can say loud and clear “I hear ya!” – I don’t even have any gorgeous little girls yet, but I can totally relate to the piles of washing, no sleep and spots thing! Trying to write a successful blog, do your own pr, organise fab events and actually have a life is no mean feat. Actually, forget about the life thing!!
    It can be so so so so so hard at times and your words really resonate with me (and the bit about the melt down… I’ve been there). When I went full time a few weeks ago I thought I would calm down and fit into a schedule… nope! Busier than ever it seems! It’s all good, but its great that you have acknowledged how hard this can be too. I’m up early actually, finishing a blog post for today…
    Let’s have that long mooted glass of wine very soon (after my Tweet Ups are done with!) and I don’t care if we both turn up with no make up on.
    See you soon,
    Julia xxx

  27. Your post is oh so familiar! I think many of us can totally relate, well done for being so honest. Apart from being rather more lazy than you, my life isn’t so different. I often have a little helper at the computer, whilst still in my dressing gown. I write this comment as I feed Isabella in bed (and no, I haven’t got up yet!) Happy birthday to Leanora, I can’t believe she’s one already. Xx

  28. Caroline! Oh god, I haven’t even referred to my neglected Husband. I tell you, he is my Angel sent from heaven to have put up with me so far!! Have a GREAT wedding today lady 🙂
    Nat Thomspson – that’s just one unironed pile and it’s only little because my Mum came to stay recently and spent the whole first day clearning our ironing!! ;))
    LoveAudrey, I have loved charting your journey to being a wife and found you a total inspiration. Thanks for your warm words – you are SO right when you say “Tying to ‘have it all’ is pointless and exhausting.” That’s bang on the money…
    Lisa Cooney – since I held the Summer Soiree early August, I have worked right through the night 3 times. Yes, I mean, I didn’t get to bed until 5.30am. THAT is what is requried occasionally to keep on top of things. Thank god for good coffee and Radio 4 to see me through the night!! 😉
    Janet Mohapi-Banks – thanks for your sweet words my lovely. I wonder every now and then if I’m having a mid-life crisis when I look in the mirror and sigh at hte permanent crease between my eye-brows, my pale complexion and tired eye bags, but you’re right, I don’t need to scrub up for the School run!!
    Can’t thank you all enough for having taken time to leave such kind, sweet, encouraging and inspirational words. You really are all brilliant 🙂

  29. Oh Annabel ((((hugs)))) you really are an inspiration lady. I’m sorry you have had a hard time of it and hope you have settled into a better work life balance.
    Inknow where you are coming from. My blog seems to be getting busier all the time and keeping up with emails and admin now is tricky. You put pressure on yourself to reply ASAP too. I never work while A is awake, he naps for 2+ hrs a day still and dread to think what I’m going to do when that stops as we can’t afford childcare.
    I suppose I just grab time when i can. I often feel guilty and not like a great mum. As a lot of the time I’m on my phone or too worn out to do nice things with A ;-( But all I know is I try.
    I am very conscious of taking me time and am probably too self indulgent. But with anxiety problems I have i have to. I just joined a gym which is a great stress buster and I have lots of baths with a good book. You must do this. Your business will still be there after, but you need looking after too.
    Don’t forget where I am fellow mummy blogger :-))
    Bigggg love xxxxxxx

  30. Annabel, applaud you 100% for being so honest. I hope that this amazing response has shown you that you had nowt to be worried about chick.
    I think as much as hearing about success is fantastic, the bad bits and hard times are equally important. As I’ve said before facebook and social media (I think there is something in the fact that social media, the initials are s & m because there is a level of personal sado masochism involved) it all seems so pristine, and when we share our personal truths it makes the industry easier.
    I have had some days where I have barely recognised the she beast looking at me in the mirror, and I haven’t even got kids to add to mix. But, I guess the most important thing is to remember that life is a series of up and down moments – and to realise that we don’t have to be perfect all the time, we just have to be – and enjoy every moment that life throws us at us. Perfection is for photoshop only – we should embrace being perfectly imperfect.

  31. Wow, it was like reading about my own life! I have one kiddo (no plans for more) and he is home/online schooled because all the school district wants to focus on is his “limitations” as he has autism. I attempt to balance that responsibility with my blog and business in addition to my health (arthritis, fibromyalgia, and asthma).
    Many days are like running a marathon and there is now way I’m stopping in the middle of said marathon to put on makeup and do my hair. My work “uniform” is typically black sweatpants or yoga pants with a variety of ancient t-shirts (my personal fave is a Bauhaus shirt I’ve had since I was in middle school- I’m almost 37 now) and a bandanna to keep my hair out of my face. In contrast, I don’t even go to the grocery store without make up. People typically think I do this face and hair routine every day when in reality, I’m lucky if I go to the restroom alone much less get a shower before either my fiance or my ex-husband get home (fortunate that my ex and I are still friends and he and his fiance live down the hall…literally).
    Before I started this venture, I worked out religiously six days a week and in the process, lost 125 pounds. Since starting this venture I haven’t lost a pound and the gym and I are no longer together, but thankfully haven’t gained any weight.
    I want to thank you for this post as it helped me to see that I am not alone in my work at home mom experience. It’s nice to see that I am in fact a normal work at home mom and should stop beating myself up for not being a domestic goddess. Take care!

  32. Love, love, love this post. So honest and something that I would think the vast majority of working mums (myself included) can relate to. Well done Annabel on a thought-provoking, truthful post. Now, in line with the required image of ‘designer’, I’m off to quaff some champagne whilst wearing my designer clobber and Louboutins. OK! OK! It’s a cup of tea(that hubby’s made me) and I’m still in my ‘jamas. *feigns look of horror then LAUGHS* xx

  33. I know I tweeted but I thought I’d answer more in full here.
    We had a cleaner but she used to swear in Polish that we’d messed up the house so much in the 6 days between visits, then we had another cleaner who said he would only come twice a week because we made too much mess for him to do it once a week!
    I’ve given up on cleaners now and just make sure no one is ever allowed to come to our house.
    It’s a funny thing being a self employed mum, I remember going along to the first meeting of Mums Business Club NE, before that my view was that all these other wonderful women were juggling businesses, 3 children and maintaining perfect homes and looking good for hubby as he walked through the door from work, in reality what I found was that actually we’re all pretty much the same, we’ve sacrificed a tidy home, our personal grooming and me time to cultivate businesses. We shouldn’t feel guilty but guilt is a female thing.
    because both Paul and I are self employed we have had major challenges over the years, when we both started up our kids were 10 with aspergers, 5 and 4 (16 months between them) you can imagine how fun that was as our stress would prolificate our sons meltdowns and he couldn’t handle that we no longer had routines of schedules so we’d have him bringing his mattress down 3 flights of stairs and sitting on it in the kitchen and a 4 and 5 year old either eating Barbie doll shoes or just tearing each other hair out! There were times I could actually have ran away but as they’ve gotten older it’s definitely gotten better and you know sometimes I can even bribe them to help around the house 😉
    Being Bi-polar I don’t really think I’ve had meltdowns because I actually have a condition which means I can take enough medication for that not to happen, maybe that is the answer 😉

  34. Thank you for such a frank and honest post about being a working mum….I manage two businesses and two gorgeous children and also worry about my children’s memory of their childhood being…..mummy was always busy!!!! Balance, balance, balance…..and a great supportive husband saves the day!! Everyday we make difficult decisions, but as long as I make sure I am there when my children need me, and mum is there for all the important milestones in their life…. I think everything is going to be ok!

  35. Hi Annabel, I love your honesty and it’s no secret that you have inspired and encouraged me in the past, and that was before I even knew you properly and was just an avid blog reader. I has a major meltdown last year when everything in my life just got too much and I made the decision to change it and not be in that place again. I have replaced a respectable, high flying career with a desire to have my own business, working from home. Doing so is hard beyond belief and I don’t really have anyone supporting me or cheering me on when things get tough, (no kiddies either to make it all worthwhile) this has been the hardest part for me and something which has become glaringly obvious about what is missing from my life. As you know I hit a major wobble this week too, my confidence deserted me as I became overtired after working like a dog and your warm words helped immensely. So thank-you, because amongst the chaos of your own life you still find time to nurture and encourage others. And for that reason lady you are going to be spoilt and pampered to within an inch if your life when we finally meet up soon. I cannot wait.
    Oh and the, still in PJs, vagrant, with greasy hair and no makeup thing~yep I’m with you on that one and believe it’s actually a blessing from the gods that I can’t get Skype working on my computer. Xxxxx

  36. I love how honest you are about how hard working for yourself is, and I actually just called my husband over to prove that I’m not the only blogger with piles of washing and ironing all over the house 😉 Although sometimes he complains, I am blessed with a husband who supports me, looks after me and makes sure I eat when spending another long evening in front of the computer, as I know you are too! I can only hope that one day I am lucky enough to be able to give up the day job and work full time pursuing my dream with fantastic, lovely & creative people like you! Maybe then that washing will get done….

  37. Thanks for posting this. I also totally get it. I don’t have kids, but I know how tough it can be even without all that extra work and responsibility. I’ve totally forgotten the concept of weekends, regularly sew until 2 in the morning, rarely blow dry my hair and only get out of the crappy clothes if I have to go over the door. I have a favourite pair of joggy bottoms that I wear too much just because the threads don’t stick to them!
    Someone should sell PJs that look smart for all of us who work from home – there’s clearly a market LOL!
    What I find really hard too is getting people to realise that just because you’re at home does not mean you aren’t ‘at work’ and are free to do X, Y and Z. Whether that’s social or housework demands. And, that you still need a bit of help with things. And also that sometimes you just need a chat, because it can get quite lonely without office banter and just someone to knock ideas off.

  38. Posting under a pseudonym as I’m not out of the pregnancy closet yet!
    For the past 2 years I have run my secret wedding industry business alongside my regular full time job, a few weeks ago going down to 3 days a week and running my business part time – I was excited to get my weekends back. I love both my jobs, but working for myself is so rewarding. The week before I went part time I found out I was pregnant, after 18 months of trying to make this happen it was the best news imaginable. But the tiredness and nausea has hit me like a tonne of bricks and, despite my extra time, i’ve been finding it harder than ever to stay on top of my work.
    At the moment I’m trying to work out what i’m going to do when, come March, this beautiful baby comes bouncing into my life. I’ll have to go straight back to work – when it’s your own business, you have no choice. How on earth am I going to look after a tiny baby and still keep up my level of work? It’s very scary. but i seriously can’t wait. This next year is going to be the biggest and best challenge of my life!

  39. Such a fantastic post! I sit here in my PJ’s, no make up, unwashed hair and I am expecting my 1st baby next week! I hope to be able to work on and expand our business whilst I am at home but with the little one in tow I realise that may be a challenge.
    I think from next week onwards, life is about to change dramatically! Both excited and nervous to see what the future holds. Look forward to reading more about your self-employ posts – Emma xx

  40. Annabel, what a brilliantly honest post! I think women give themselves such a hard time and the guilt complex thing…. well I for one would love to know how to get rid of that. My little Dougie is 14 months and when I gave up a well paid career in fashion buying to run my business I had nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo idea how much it would involve! You have to be the expert at everything don’t you. That is stressful enough without kids and general day to day housework on top! Meltdown ensued for me after a pregnancy where hubby looked like he was losing his job, a house move from London to Manchester ( start your life and friendships all over again) and then a breach baby to top it all off. Once work came back into the mix I felt liberated to be using my brain again but quite frankly mortified about how I was supposed to fit it all in. No one else thought I ought to be fitting it all in…just me.
    The reality is I quit what I did and what was making me miserable to do something I love that is ultimately for my family – happy mum equals happy kids, right? I finally feel goodabout the fact that I have made a choice whereby I can spend time with my little boy nearly all week. But I too had that phase you talk about where he was sat in his baby walker with me saying “ok in a minute once I ahve replied to this email”
    Isn’t it interesting though how more and more of us mums are making the choice to set up on our own IN SPITE of how hard it is. The rewards are definitely there. It is good to talk about it!

  41. how lovely and refreshing!! like yourself and many others i run my own business and try (unsucessfully most of the time) to balance that with motherhood. While i would never change it for the world i sit here with a 2 year old wrapped around my neck, wet hair and last nights make up on (don’t ask!) trying to reply to my glamorous clients to book their botox, fillers and peels i want to say thank YOU so much for allowing me to indulge in your reality and remind myself I’m not alone! ;-)) x

  42. Annabel, your honesty is inspiring and comforting – I sadly don’t have children, just my hubby and the dog, but even so I spend so much time feeling my life is chaos! Working at home is hard (and sometimes lonely), juggling it with the rest of life is an art I have yet to master… All credit to you for trying to do it with two small children too 🙂

  43. Annabel, you look pretty damn good in your ‘unglam’ photo – I like to read your blog slouched on my sofa with my hair stuck up, wearing nothing but massive specs and a grotty old dressing gown. If you’re a fraud then I’m one too!
    Sounds like you’re doing extraordinarily well in what sound like unbelievably knackering circumstances x

  44. You have never looked more pretty or charming to me than in your “ordinary day” picture. 🙂 I think it’s because your personality and wit really come through.
    While I don’t have the kids (or, um, the job) I do deal with serious pain and fatigue issues day to day due to a genetic health thingy. It’s really hard to manage to get even the most basic things done and things like “showers” and “loading the dishwasher” are often an either/or thing – or even not at all! It’s also bloody boring, and I’m grateful for everyone who doesn’t have to deal with body-limits enduced boredom. 😉
    Things I’ve found that help tend to be quite simple things. I try to make sure that on the days I haven’t got the energy to wear something nice (9/10!) I have some nice looking and comfortable loungewear/pyjamas. This has lead me to a mild obsession with Hush and I live for the day I can afford their gorgeous looking comfy round the house clothes! Perhaps for Christmas, eh!?
    I love cooking, it’s a bit of a hobby for me, but most days I just haven’t got the energy to do it. What I try to do to keep myself eating relatively healthily is on my good days I batch cook (we are talking serious quantity here) something I like, like chilli con carne or pasta sauce or soup, and then freeze most of it. It’s then pretty easy for me to defrost and reheat it in the microwave for a fast meal. It really pays off!
    I also never stress about makeup and hair, though admittedly that’s mostly because I’m total crap at both. 😀 Shaky unco-ordinated hands make for clown looks. 😉
    It never fails to impress me how well you cope with raising a family and doing a difficult, stressful job. And I love your blog!!

  45. PS. Despite my best efforts I have yet to come up with a good way to keep on top of the dishwasher and clothes washing when I have a string of bad days in a row. Best I’ve got so far is to treat ironing as an optional extra! (I’m sure only my mother really notices if what I’m wearing is creased.) I’ll have to keep stalking the comments section in hopes of tips!
    (My cunning plan is to replace everyone else’s “not enough time” with my “not enough energy” and hope it translates well, ha!)

  46. A brilliant post and one that resonates with all of us. As you know I have a shop so I have the luxury of wafting through a fragrent real life ‘lovemydress’ world every day. This is a haven, a beautiful bubble, where I can escape to and I’m sure my customers think I too must live in a 16th Century beamed house crammed with antiques and silks. I don’t. I have just moved to the centre of one of Surrey’s less pretty villages slightly downwind of a chinese chip shop and with a fairly decent view of the local undertakers! I love my house by the way – very big and excellent for parties!
    My beautiful ‘lovely job’ (this is what all customers say – must be a lovely job) has helped me through divorce. The irony is never lost on me! It has helped me cope with bereavement. It earns me a living, regardless of the impression people have of retailers it is only a living and not amassing a fortune.
    I have recently taken to more networking and PR, the housework has simply stopped, the kids have gone feral and I was weeping in anguish of what a terrible Mother I am only this week.
    You are not alone in this hectic juggling act that is being a working Mum – it is with us wedding types more starkly contrasted. However I for one would like your house to stay messy until you can afford to put a nanny, cleaner and PA on the books because I NEED you.Yours was the first wedding blog I ever read. If you hadn’t been ‘real’,inspiring and with a voice I would never discovered a fraction of the other blogs I now read, would never have ventured into doing my own and would have never met the fantastic group of female wedding professionals I recently have.
    Your immense hard work as a pioneer blogger is very much appreciated. xxx

  47. I am so pleased the not just women have commented on this blog post, ti has made my day!
    I am away from home today, allowing myself a rare day off – not entirely you understand, I can’t help myself but check emails on the iPad every now and then!
    Going to savour all these comments later and reply properly then. In the meantime, thank you so much 🙂

  48. Emma Meek, I couldn’t wait to reply toy our message, you have made me feel very humble with your kind words about my blog, massive massive thanks.
    It isn’t just me then? All this pressure to present the perfect home, the ‘vintage inspired bloggers’ working space – you should see my office right now, that’s if you can work your way through the boxes piled up high that is {that I still haven’t properly unpacked following the Summer Soiree!!!}. I dream of white washed walls, a tidy table, my antique typewriter sat proudly all shiny and dusted. One day. One day….
    I am so pleased you have joined the networking scene – great things come from networking both on AND off line – I hope you’ll be joining us on Friday and I can’t wait to see you at Fetcham Park on 30th Oct ;))
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx
    ps – that ‘warts and all’ photo of me above? Trust me, it was the VERY best of a very, very bad bunch!!!

  49. Like many others, I can completely identify with your post.
    I have two photography studios and then worked from home doing all the processing and admin (90% of the job). In July I took on an an office because working from home was slowly killing me.
    I’d wake, shower, pop the coffee pot on and then work until my tummy told me to eat or it’d fall out with me and drop into bed around 1am after some sort of awful takeaway.
    Cooking, cleaning, going out, exercising, shopping etc just wasn’t possible. All waking time was needed to make my business run, there is only me so if I’m not working nothing is being done.
    For 3 years I continued on the same path, day in day out and after becoming so unhealthy (and a little plump!) I knew something had to change or I’d be heading for an early grave.
    So far I’ve been in the office for almost 2 months now and very gradually things are changing. I am in the middle of summer work madness so I won’t really get time to make massive changes until December when I close for Christmas.
    One big plus about having the office is that when I leave, I leave work. Yes I am glued to emails on my phone but I am going home to make tea at 8-9pm (better than very late night takeaway), watch a little tv, then get some sleep without thinking “Oh I’ve forgot that, I must get up and do it”.
    I’d like to think that by January 2012 I’ll be swimming every morning at 7am, starting work at 9am, finishing at 7pm and then being able to do the house work, maybe go out for tea or just curl up and watch a film without feeling guilty or behind.
    Office or home, I will always work and do as much as possible for my clients because my business is my life and when I’m not working and helping someone, I’m not as happy.

  50. A lovely post to read, especially as I am struggling as well to manage it all. I’m a photographer, mother, wife, houseperson and I have a day job as well. Getting the balance right is so hard, let alone have a social life.
    It does take reading posts (and the comments) to realise you’re not alone.
    Thank you xx

  51. Omg Annabel,
    I love this post so much… Your honesty as always is a godsend in this world of shiny perfect looking blogs!
    I work full time too and manage my photography business by myself after my day job, often working til the wee hours and my weekends no longer count as my own time! But I wouldn’t change it! I do something that I love and it makes me totally happy! You’re a true inspiration Annabel and your family is gorgeous, you deserve all the success in the world!

  52. It is so heart warming to hear in the comments after your post, that at the end of the day we are all sooo ‘normal’. From pj uniforms, to melt downs, to organised chaos in every room. To fabric conditioner in the fridge and milk in the washing machine (that’s what happened to me when I burnt out). Thank you Annabel for such a honest and ‘real’ post lovely lady. Everyone has gone through similar events, feelings, emotions in their life, especially when motherhood and working from home come together. I bet we have all felt as if others were coping and we were not. I love reading your posts on self employment, please keep writing them!!!!!!

  53. Thank you so much for sharing! We as women tend to be so hard on ourselves, wanting to be everything to everybody, that we have trouble actually living in the moment. You are a true inspiration for juggling work and wee babies! Luckily my two rowdy boys were older before I started my venture. My husband tells me they are the amazing young men that they are due to my being home with them, even with the juggling of being a one-woman business. After a recent mini-meltdown of my own, we’ve decided as a family that on weekends family is the priority. And that when the boys are older they won’t remember a spotless house, they’ll remember a mom that was passionate about her family and her job. I hope they’ll be proud. xo

  54. What a fabulous post, I am almost in tears reading it. It cuts through all the bull and says it how it is, it is brave and personal and honest. Well done Annabel you should be very proud. I love your blog so much, I’ve read through every single comment and just like Emma Meek, yours is the first wedding blog I came across and fell in love with, everything else falls into second place because you are honest and real and don’t try to be something you aren’t.
    You have an amazing blog that inspires so many and I hope you can see we all love what you do and trust you as a blogger too – the best wedding blogger by a big fat mile in my opinion.
    Very best wishes,
    Hannah x

  55. I seem to think I may have poked fun at you working in pyjamas rather than a silk lounge suit while sipping champagne before Annabel on Twitter (all tongue in cheek of course) however no more I promise! Great post, well written and something we can all empathise with more often than perhaps we would like!

  56. What an amazing post, so refreshingly honest. I recognise so much of my own life here. For the past 6 weeks my three girls (11,9,5)have been at home for school holidays and whilst it’s been lovely to have them around it’s trebled the stress of working from home. My house has become even more of a tip, my garage is about to become a fire hazard from all the washing and ironing and I’ve put on 9 lbs from all the junk I eat. Almost every night I work until 1am and as a result look awful. I ‘scrub up alright’ though according to my husband, who in my opinion is my knight in shining armour.
    For a while I’ve felt so many people online were cooler than me, leading super organised, glamorous lives and have been frustrated that I can’t do everything I’d like to with my business as I only have so much time. It’s heartwarming how you’ve bared your soul in this post and makes me feel that I’m not alone in the constant juggle between working from home, running my business and being a Mummy. Thankyou Annabel.

  57. Hi Annabel. I can only add to the many comments on here that completely empathise with how you feel. I think we all concentrate too much on our professional persona and maintaining these very high standards we set ourselves. I have a pathological need to do “just one more thing” before I switch off but still never get the sense that I’m close to reaching where I need to be. Thank you for being so open and honest. I sometimes feel lonely sitting at my computer my eyes twitching with stress and lack of sleep and wonder where I find the energy to carry on. I have three school age children and have, more than once, fished uniform out of the dirty laundry, sponged it down and ironed it just before they go to school. There is a constant shortage of socks! I am going to see ” I Don’t Know How She Does It” when it is released, I’m sure it’ll makes us all feel better. In the meantime make sure you give yourself a day off ( completely) every now and then. Karen 🙂 XX

  58. Very refreshing post Annabel. The only thing that keeps my house clean is the fact that I use my second bedroom for fittings and have clients that come around. If it weren’t for that then God knows what it would look like.
    I seriously admire you, and I admire you even more for your honesty.

  59. What a fantastic post, and so honest. Its nice to know we are all feeling the same things. I can relate to this on so many levels have just had first child she’s now 11 weeks but am already having to work (Wedding planning and bridal shop) and finding it hard I constantly feel guilty. But I did laugh out loud when I read the bit about opening the door in your PJs I do this all the time. Thanks for your honesty, we are all in it together and all I try and do is not make a huge to do list anymore, I just accept that at the end of the day anything I have ticked off the list is a bonus.

  60. So, this has been on my mind all day. Do I have the courage to be as honest as you are? Hmmmm. I’m not sure.
    I run a successful, but still fairly new, photography business, which means so much to me. And I have a husband who supports me 100% most of the time, and children that know not to interrupt too much when I’m on the big computer. But I worry, almost constantly, that I’m letting them down by not being there for them. I struggle to switch off, even when I’ve promised the kids that I’m not working, and I find myself tied to my emails on my phone, tied to twitter and facebook and flickr when I should be spending time with the children.
    My kids are 4 and 5. The baby starts school on Tuesday, and the last 6 weeks of summer holidays have gone by in a blink. I know that term time will be easier, but the holidays have been incredibly hard. It was brought home to me when I was asked recently if I enjoy my children… I was really shocked and upset that someone had to ask me – really upset, I’m getting teary thinking about it – of course I enjoy them, they’re incredible. But do I *REALLY* take the time to enjoy them? Not as much as I should. But how do I, when I need to work (for financial reasons, but also for my own well-being, photography is who I am, not just what I do)
    So there. We’re all swans, looking perfect on the surface but paddling like hell underneath just to stay upright. It’s hard to admit, but a relief to share with so many like-minded people.

  61. Oh Eliza,
    Thank you for being so brave and honest.
    Your swan analogy sums it up perfect for me, I feel overwhelmed on a daily basis that I’m not making enough time for my kids, doing enough of this, that or the other. It’s crazy!!! I often wonder if it’s always been like this, or whether the advent of things like email, whilst wonderful at aiding our communications, has made it all so much harder for us – like the constant pressure to read and reply, read and reply read and reply. It’s frankly exhausting at times.
    I’m so grateful for your kind words love, it feels good to be part of a community of like minded, incredibly inspirational and hardworking parents.
    Big love from me to you 🙂 xXxXx
    ps – hoping to see you Friday x

  62. What a great post… As I tweeted to you at about 6am this morning and what amazing comments I’ve come back to this evening.
    As a new mum I realise I have so many more challenges to come but annabel whether you do it with glamour or in your pjs you inspire me!
    I’m in bed, not working tonight as baby was up too early for me to now function but even in her nine short weeks, I feel guilty that as soon as she’s in bed I’m on the mac – just checking mails and keeping up to date. My poor hubby gets no time, luckily he knows I’m a workaholic
    I hope whatever comes in the next year I’ll be able to do it with pizazz you do!
    {but if I’m honest whilst hard work doesnt scare me getting it wrong does}

  63. So many thoughts going through my head it’s hard to find the right words to express…..
    My children are grown up now but I totally relate to this post and the comments.
    Keep looking like swans, keep paddling like mad to get ahead, support each other as much as you can and don’t be afraid to admit when you need help. It will all work out, your kids will not suffer, they will gain from your fulfillment and they’ll be proud of what you have achieved!

  64. I did write a well thought out comment for u but alas the iPad ran out of bat! So here is my quijer slightly wine influenced one instead.
    Well done Annabel, beautiful, inspiring, honest and loveable. You sound like an amazing mum, wife and daughter. I think your family are incredibly lucky to have someone that clearly cares so much about them.
    I don’t want to bore you with details about me, but I also have a 1 yr old and trying desperately to realise my dream of being a successful photographer. I’m working part time, being a mum, mostly on my own as hubby works away. I do have an amazing family that believe in me and help me whenever they can so I’m very lucky :0)
    You continue to inspire me with your transparency and honestly about your life as mum & business owner. Keep up the good work, your an amazing woman.
    P.s. Love the swan analogy I just wish I could even look like an elegant swan, dead good at treading water tho.

  65. What a great post Annabel – and one that I can truly empathise with on all levels, from the squeezing in work around the children’s schedules to the ironing mountain in the corner, to the breakfast things still left out on the kitchen counter at dinner time and the beds being hastily remade – at bedtime 🙂
    Wouldn’t change any of it though and I am proud of myself for setting up and running my own growing business and all that that entails and hope that by my example my girls aged 8 and 5 will have the confidence to do the same if they so choose.
    High fives all round I say to us working mums out there for doing what we do!
    And extra big high fives to the families and friends out there without whose support a lot of this wouldn’t be possible.
    Keep up the great work lovely lady 🙂

  66. Like yourself and many who have commented here, I am also a working from home mother and I know how hard it can be, both to keep on top of things but also to feel 100% like youre doing the right thing at any time. All mothers, working mothers, actually all hands on parents I should say, have their own unique and incredible challenges every day and unique goals in life. Following your heart and being true to yourself I think is key.
    Hey, i think we should organise a group outing to see “I Dont Know How She Does It”!!!! I’d be so up for doing that and Im sure lots of these commenting colleagues would also love a lighthearted night out but with a familiar story to bring us together! What do you think?
    Lots of love,

  67. Having just returned from planning a wedding for three days on my childrens last weekend before going back to school, it was great to read your lovely post. I have (thankfully) been really busy this summer after a constant slog trying to promote my new business, but along the way have felt incredibly guilty that Im not paying enough attention to my two boys – not to mention my husband! I do feel incredibly lucky that I am doing what I love and have met some amazing people this year – like you. I too, have washing up in my sink and you can write your name on my surfaces, but life is good and I wouldn’t change any of it! X

  68. Kim Price! You are not the first to have mentioned that movie today! I SO have to see it! Just laughed out loud at the trailer on the website!! ;)))
    Kate – you have my empathy my darling lady…
    Sue – HIGH FIVE! ;))
    Zoe Campbell – NEVER give up on your dreams. One day you will fulfil your dreams of becoming a full time photographer, this hard work will be so worth it and is paving the way every day for your future 🙂
    Loads of love ladies xXx

  69. Oh Annabel, I don’t really know you at all but follow your blog/tweets regularly & I just wanted to thank you for being so honest & making all of us working mums feel that we are not alone. I started my photography business in September last’s doing better than I ever dreamed possible & I know how lucky I am when so many others are struggling to keep their jobs but it’s soooo hard sometimes. I have 3 children aged 12, 8 & my youngest is 3 in a couple of weeks. I also suffer from fibromyalgia (similar to ME) so some days are doubly hard. I totally understand when you say you feel guilty for telling the children to leave you alone while you work..I feel like over the school Hols I have been constantly doing that & my daughter is becoming very demanding of my attention…I am sure she misbehaves because I don’t spend enough time for her.
    Last week I had my very own mini melt down…whilst trying to work, my 2 boys were bickering & whilst I was trying to wort out world war 3 youngest came in from the garden & deposited a bucket of sand on the sofa! That was it…I cracked…called my hubby (who is amazing btw) I made him come home early from work because I simply couldn’t cope any more!
    I was so glad I cracked up because it made me realise I couldnt carry on like this..I needed help. We had a family meeting similar to yours..the outcome…that we would put grace in nursery 2 days a week & my Mum would have her for a day too. That gives me 3 full days to work & I can still do my bit when they’ve gone to bed. I also moved my desk upstairs so that I am not constantly confronted by work & I can shut myself away when I need to.
    I hope it works…if’s back to the drawing board! But I think I finally realised I am not superwoman & neither are you..we are only human & we all have breaking points.
    Thank you so, so much for sharing a little bit of your life with us all.
    Hugs. Xx

  70. Hi Samantha,
    Thanks so very much for your comment 🙂
    I sympathise you with your fybromyalgia – I suffered from that for a short while too – it was during a period 13 years ago when I was very very ill with an undiagnosed underactive thyroid gland. Bad, bad times. It must be so hard for you!
    Yes indeed, sometimes you need to crack up/hit rock bottom/whatever you want to call it to realise you need help!
    Your big meeting sounds just like ours! It was during our meeting we agreed our baby needed to go to nursery too, 3 morning’s a week.
    I hope things get a little easier for you lovely.
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  71. Thank you for writing this Annabel! I am a photographer working from home and have a four year old boy Isaac. At the end of my busiest summer to date with only three days of childcare over the last six weeks, I connected with so much of what you wrote. I often laugh at the state I am in when I am editing peoples beautiful Weddings, I too struggle to keep the house looking like I want and dread unexpected visitors! Normally I work for four hours four mornings a week when Isaac is in Nursery and then like you my work starts again at 8 or 9pm till the early hours. I love every minute of being a Mum and am working on number two though had a few complications along that route. I love my job and I am so lucky to do what I love as well as having such a beautiful family, but I feel exhausted most of the time. I have a massive to do list for work and a bigger one regarding all the things I would like to do with my family, friends, husband ( poor thing rarely see’s me) It is such a relief to know the reality is the same for all of us! I have looked at your beautiful pictures before and thought how glamourous you look and felt very inadequate sat in front of the Mac in my pj’s! I am about to have three months off from work due to an operation ( which will hopefully mean more babies!) and I intend to really look at my diary for next year and try and get the balance better.
    Your blog is great and so amazing that you manage to put in all the hours as well as look after your two beautiful girls. Keep it up and just think how proud your girls will be when they are older and what an inspiration you will be for them as women to follow their dream, have a successful career and enjoy the beautiful world of motherhood. Back to work for me. Thank you again for writing this, I smiled a lot and cried a little too when I read it.
    Sleep well and happy tonight for you have done a job of reassuring a lot of tired mummies!
    Lucy Shergold

  72. Thanks for the reply Annabel…
    Can’t believe how similar your story is to mine..I have an under active thyroid too so I really do know how ill you must have felt.
    You are doing an amazing job as are all the other working mummies that have posted.
    Well done ladies!.xx

  73. Samantha – I take 150mcgs thyroxine daily – my TSH level was off the chart when the discovered it and the Endocrinologist said I was only weeks away from a thyroid induced coma! Scary horrible awful times, used to have panic attacks, my hair fell out, I gained weight even though I wasn’t eating anything for days and my memory was shot. I saw 4 GPs, a Rhematolgist and an Opthalmogist and was actually diagnosed with ME, before I was referred to a Rheumatologist on suspicions I also had athritis (as my Mother did at the same age in her 20’s}. He ran me through every check known to man and bam – out came my underactive thyroid.
    I hope you have your thyroid issues under control now lovely xXx

  74. Oh my goodness! Sound like you’ve been through an awful lot! My thyroid I’d under control too thanks, I take 100 mcgs a day now but still find it hard to keep the weight down (mind you..chocolate has a lot to do with that too lol) I still find my hair falls out even now you?
    It’s amazing how ill it can make you feel. Glad yours is under control. Xxx

  75. Yes Samantha, my hair is very weak right now, so much so, my hairdresser says I can’t be blonde for much longer! I may need to go brown! It’s not as bad as it sounds 😉 I love brown and have been brown before. It’s just that blonde is the real me, so I’ll miss my golden locks. My hair is particularly weak right now too because I’ve been so stressed and sleep deprived! It’s getting stronger though, I’ve been giving it lots of TLC.
    I have never felt as bad as I did when I had my thyroid issues, even the sound of my voice changed, it was like my throat was always hoarse. Awful, awful times! So glad it’s part of my past now!
    Lots of love,
    Annabel xXx

  76. Oh Annabel,
    I welled up reading this – because it touches me so – you can often end up feeling like your all alone doing this – the whole business side of things – I’m feeling like I’m flaying about in the dark (frantically most times!).
    I felt such a deep sense of connection and solidarity reading this – most people just say I don’t know how you do it (with three kids) that kind of question goes over my head really – Like Eliza said, photographing is so much a part of me, I can’t imagine not doing this now (even though its just been a year). I am frantically desperate to make it work!
    There is a deep passion we feel I think, to succeed, for the love of our children, for everything that we do. Thank you Annabel, thank you everyone else for all those heartening comments – it meant a lot to be able to read them x

  77. I love this blog for so many reasons, I love how you are so honest about everything an don’t glam up your life for the sake of your readers. Please keep on writing more posts like this. I love the wedding content and inspiration but these posts are fab.
    I missed the LMD soiree this year, will you be doing another?

  78. Bless you Zoe, been hoping all day you’d find time to comment. I have gained a lot of strength out of everyone’s beautiful comments today, it really has filled me with a sense of comfort, confidence and this feeling I’m doing alright 😉
    You are a wonderful photographer Zoe, keep pursuing your dreams…. thank you for sharing your work with my readers and for sending sweet thank you emails to me :))
    Alice – thank you very much indeed! Are you a Bride to be? Would love to get to know some more…

  79. Oh Annabell, thank you so much for making me feel human, like I’m not alone! I really want to say ‘shouldn’t you be in bed?’ looking at the time of our last comment but I know how it is! This is the only time of day to get any work done!
    I applaud your bravery and openness, very well done you for inspiring so many x

  80. Annabel – You are without a doubt an inspiration! As you can see its 3am and I’m writing this. I have just finished work. I make wedding cake toppers for a living after a car accident 2 years ago left me un able to work my usual job. With my now husbands support I set up Cakemates. It snowballed over night into what it is today. I thought it would just be a bit of fun to get some money in whilst I recovered but it became my full time job. I did have a good routine going, 5 toppers a week, a day on each topper, then the postage, photographing them, emailing to photos, chasing up orders, invoicing, accounts, making changes, dealing with breakages on the wedding day etc, all kind of crept up on me this summer. I was a bit naughty and really over booked my time. I had a solid summer of work but I was still getting toppers out on time. THEN disaster struck. We moved house, went on holiday to Egypt and I ended up with serious food Poisoning and was told I couldn’t work because of food hygiene. I swear I nearly had a heart attack. I had to explain too many already stressed brides that their toppers would be delayed by two weeks. They would still get the toppers on time as they are sent special delivery. But still they were all panicking and that pilled the pressure/guilt/worry on me.
    I got the all clear to work 3 weeks ago and since then I have been working 10am to 4am everyday. Surviving off 4 hours a sleep a night and living off crap food. Forgetting to eat and drink and don’t start on the housework. We don’t have children, but we have 3 house cats and an un toilet trained 15 week old Jack Russell puppy. She is hard work and my Husband works long hours on a 24/7 rota.
    This week my immune system and body gave me a huge warning to slow down as I have now got Shingles. My nerves causing me so much pain and the cause, weakened immunity from pushing myself too hard after been so ill.
    I am re launching my website to include many other things in the style of a blog at the end of October. This to is taking up so much of my time, but im determined to do it. I have 4 more busy weeks left and if my body and brain can make it through them I will be very impressed and might even venture into the outside world and speak to real people.
    Thank you so much for writing this piece, it made me smile and feel like im not the only one. Sorry for the essay, but it actually made me feel a little better. Keep doing what you do, your blog is amazing and you’re a fantastic source of inspiration for brides and bloggers alike  Kylie xxx

  81. I swear, this is MY STORY! All of it. Well done Annabel. I totally feel your pain and am in the same boat. My biggest problem right now is BALANCE. And Kat Swank is a BRAND- she’s my, my… alter ego! I’m sending you a friend request from the real me love (my family/ friend acct. on facebook).

  82. A lovely flower friend sent me this – what a great post! I try and juggle being a flower girl with being a mum and sometimes it’s just crazy, overwhelming and heartbursting all rolled in to one.
    So so reasuring to read we’re not all starring in boden ads in the blogosphere….wearing tea dresses supping gin and tapping away on old school tyepwriters!
    I’m going to bookmark this so I can breathe out next time I’m panicking about the piles and piles and piles of to do’s.
    A mummy’s merci!

  83. Hi Tammy, thank you so much for your comment! So made me giggle with your Boden comment and old school typewriters hehehe!!! 😉
    Thank you for booking this page – please do pop by more frequently from here on 🙂
    Lots of love,
    A very tired Wedding Blogger xXx
    {thank GOD I’m with my Mum right now who is doing an amazing job with her babysitting duties!}

  84. Kat – you are my American twin!! ;)))
    Kylie Weston-Roberts – “I got the all clear to work 3 weeks ago and since then I have been working 10am to 4am everyday. Oh lady, I so so understand where you’re at right now. I wanted my blog readers to have something to read when they logged in this morning, it took me until 3.30am to get the piece finished, I was so tired and kept nodding off! My productivity by that time in the morning is so low :/
    Shall we promise to look after ourselves a bit better from here on love? You DEFINITELY need a break, I am a bit worried for you reading your comments, I know what it’s like to be that busy/run-down whilst all the while so driven by your strong work ethic. You are doing AMAZINGLY well so far, but maybe set one evening this week where you will just go to sleep mega early. I will try to do the same. The admin can wait a little while 🙂
    Thanks so much for your kind words on my blog, it makes me so happy to read them 🙂
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  85. Thank you so much for your honest and inspiring post – it’s so nice to feel normal!
    We have been running our wedding photography business since 2003, started when our son was 1. We thought home and work life was crazily busy and then we had our daughter in 2004. She was born with major health problems and I ended up spending a huge amount of the first two years of her life in hospital with her. Mark was left running the business and having to find friends, family and other random people to look after our son until we were released again from hospital. The house was an absolute tip and we were sleep deprived and stressed to the max. Because our daughter had very serious epilepsy, we couldn’t sleep when home – we would “rest” and dose but listened with one ear to her breathing the whole night. What a mess we were and yet, somehow, our customers did not have a clue – we fell apart behind the scenes but still managed to answer the phone and meet our clients as if all was OK!
    In 2006, our daughter had radical neuro surgery at Great Ormond Street to try to control her epilepsy but we then embarked on years of intensive physio, speech therapy. OT etc to teach her to walk and talk again. She has been seizure free since 2007 and we are only now starting to relax about it!
    Anyway (to cut a very long story short), she is now 7 and a happy primary 3 girl – behind the scenes is still crazy but the stress can never be what it was for all those years. On days when the dishes are piled in the sink, the kids have no clean school jumper and I am feeding everyone “pasta again” – I might lose the plot but it’s always better than it was! I am actually quite proud that none of our clients at the time knew what we were going through. We won a customer service award a few years ago and I almost laughed thinking “if only they knew”.
    Home life is still mental with two kids. I have just spent another summer holiday feeling wildly guilty that they had to entertain themselves a lot as they are off school in our busiest time. But then, I grew up with two parents working full time – my Mum ran her own dressmaking business 6 days a week and my Dad was a busy stressed quantity surveyor. I turned out OK (I think)!
    Things I find help now are – give up on ironing (and believe in body heat), buy a slow cooker and cook in bulk every time you get a chance to cook and see from Annabel’s honest article and all the comments that we are all going through the same thing and there’s nothing to feel guilty about. My brother once said that he believed that we are all tidying our houses for the benefit of other people visiting and if we all relaxed and were honest that no one lives in a show home, we’d be a bit happier and less stressed.
    Take care lovely Annabel and keep up the amazing job that you do. Give your gorgeous girls a huge hug from me today.
    Donna x

  86. Annabel – just come to this post this morning and I can totally sympathise and I don’t even run my own business nor have a family yet!!
    We are always under pressure to be the best at everything and there is never enough time in the day to achieve it all. I work hard at work yet still my boss piles more on and expects me to stay later/ start earlier to achieve it all. I have a wonderful husband to be, family and friends and fitting them all in is a constant struggle / guilt. And like you, finding time to go to the gym, cook healthily etc needs to be squeezed in at some level.
    THis weekend – my husband to be was away in Spain on his stag do and whilst I missed him terribly it was nice to have a whole two days where I could just take him out of the equation for once and go for dinner and the cinema with my best friend, go for a long sunday afternoon run and have sunday lunch with my dad with out the guilt that my special one was being neglected.
    However you manage to do it Annabel – you do it so beautifully well (from your gorgeous children, to your inspiring work). Just breathe deeply every now and then x x

  87. Oh Donna
    How your comment has touched my heart.
    I am so shocked to read your message. I had absolutely no idea what you and your family have been through. It is amazing the lengths we will go to to hide the reality of our lives from the outside world, to make it look as though everything is OK, especially when we are business owners – don’t want our clients thinking we aren’t coping and going elsewhere. But to have had the stress of your own child’s serious ill health to deal with on top of running your own business must have been mindblowingly hard to deal with at the time.
    You must have been through HELL and back, but you must also have gained such a huge amount of strength going through that experience. I have such an immense amount of respect and adoration for you both.
    Thank you so much for finding time to comment and share your own very personal experience. I realise now how important the Summer Soiree was to so many people I work with in this industry – just one night out for us to all let our hair down and be us for a while. I so hope you will be joining me for the 2012 event 🙂
    Sending love to you and your family – it’s good to hear you are sleeping a bit better these days 🙂
    Much love to you all,
    Annabel xXx

  88. Looks like this post touched a chord with so many of us! I’m also a work at home writer/blogger. My three kids are all school age now and it definitely gets easier once the youngest is a bit more self-sufficient and they are all at school for regular days. The house still looks a tip, but there is much more uninterrupted work time, and fewer sleepless nights. Having said that, there are still sick days and afternoons spent ferrying them around to after school activities and all the rest. But as you say it’s all worth it!

  89. A fantastic post & from all the replies – I can see it’s something that so many of us are coping/struggling with. I’m a single mum of only one so sometimes feel that I have no right to complain with a fantastic mum up the road but it is hard. I love my litle business & it has grown & grown but also has snowbaled into something I’m a little scared off as I’m at that crossroads of wanting to do it full time but needing the financial security of my part time teaching too. Aarrgghh! One reason I strted doing the tweet ups in Bristol was to not only meet other creative minds in Bristol but to actually have a drink with other adults & share these experiences. It’s hard and it’s OK to admit this!!!!! It was a chance to say hello to others who were just a name on Twitter, swap stories (both persoanl & business) & create a supportive network. This is the main aim. To support each other through the ups & downs of folowing your dream & passion (even if it is with unwashed hair, a messy house & sick on your shoulder) Hope I do get the chance to meet in person one day!! Love Kirsten x

  90. The summer soiree was a very important night for all us crazed stressed self employed people to let our hair down and be ourselves. The fact that you organised that night on top of everything else you do says it all really!
    Donna x

  91. Annabel, I love and adore your honesty. I am often far too honest on Twitter about these things and I know some people just think I moan too much!
    I have built up a business over the past 5 years while at the same time having three children (now 4, 2 and 6 months). I really admire all the work from home mothers who have commented here, and of course you too Annabel. I have taken stock over the past few months and realized that I just can’t do it. I can’t give justice to my children or my clients.
    So, with my daughter starting school today, it actually marks the beginning of big changes for us. I am becoming more of a full-time mum and more of a quarter time photographer. I have a very strict diary of when I am available for work and when I am not.
    Let’s see if I can make this happen! x

  92. Yes, yes and yes. In fact I have had to read this post in shifts. Although on the plus side, my son’s as-yet-unused potty is currently being utilised for flower-making purposes 🙂

  93. Emily, I have so much respect for you being a working Mum and having made this decision to put your CHILDREN first, you are brave, strong and confident and I have learned so much from you in the short while I’ve known you.
    Don’t worry about off-loading on Twitter!!! It is utterly frustrating at times when you feel like you want to scream – people taking advantage of you, not knowing how tired and run-down you are, and yet you still give your all, remain professional – you have to off-load somewhere!!
    Thanks for your very kind words and taking time in your busy schedule to comment 🙂
    Lots and lots of love,
    Annabel xXx

  94. Annabel thank you! The truth is all us Mums suffer from swan syndrome and it takes a brave person to admit how difficult it can be. I read this while eating a hastily thrown together dinner with my three children (yes, I am catching up on stuff at the dinner table – bad mummy!) My three year old threw a tantrum so was sent to her room – by the time we are done she will probably be asleep and won’t get a bath again!
    I think other photographers have already commented on the public vs private personas. My husband is not overly impressed with the slummy mummy around the house, but you do what you have to in order to get by. He works away in the week, so I am effectively a single mum running a new business.
    I have to get dressed for the school run, I usually manage to cook fresh food for us all (but if I don’t eat with the children then I end up grazing or skipping meals) I don’t get out much because I have to get babysitters, so I save that for when I need to go see clients – doesn’t leave much time to just be me.
    Sometimes it is great to just run a bath and do nothing one evening (I would say a week, but it really is every now and then) and I try really hard not to feel guilty. I also try and reward myself with a beauty treatment when I hit certain targets.
    I think you have touched many of us with your honesty – thank you so much.

  95. Thank you! Thank you for writing the true story about being a working mum! You made me laugh and cry and I kept reading your post thinking: oh my gosh, this is sooooo me!
    Right now, I’m actually writing this whilst also looking after my 3 year old and trying to get him in his PJ and stick to some sort of bedtime routine.
    What I find is that even I didn’t love what I do, planning weddings, there’s simply no way I would be able to manage it all. My passion for my job is what allows me to sail through the worst bits of being a working mum. Thank you for an honest but so true picture of being a mumpreneur.

  96. Thank you Annabel 🙂 And thank you for taking the time to reply. This post has had quite an impact on people! Ive taken you advice and tonight im just relaxing, switched off my phone and emails and im just reading blogs. I may even go to bed at a normal time!! With my husband! shock horror! haha.
    But seriously, thank you x

  97. This is an amazing piece of writing! If nothing else you ARE a writer! Very enjoyable. And the blog itself is so well designed and creative – excellent! You have so many skills (apart for the wedding bit) you could earn money writing or designing blogs as well. LOL! Keep going girl, you’ll get what you want.

  98. Amazing honesty, totally empathise with…I’m mostways through hectic wedding photography season with 6m baby, and juggling quite well at the mo…but going back to ‘day job’ part time next year, hoping to be preggers again whilst still doing lots of weddings…but trying not to damage relationship with hubbie and not go mad with grief missing baby Charlie too much…but can’t bear saying no to more weddings after working so hard to get demand up! Thank you x

  99. Annabel- I started reading your blog before I’d even met my husband. I read it all through planning my wedding and got married on May 20th this year. I LOVE your blog and it completely inspired my wedding.
    You are fantastic at what you do x

  100. Frances Mackay – why thank you very much!
    I just write from my heart, I know that sounds twee, but it’s the truth.
    I actually have those ‘pinch me moments’ almost every day. I have dreamed about being a writer, or doing something that involved writing, for years. I am so so lucky, even if I do rarely get out of my PJs to greet the working day! ;))

  101. Hilary Binns – such a sweet response, thank you so much.
    You have urged me to book a little treat this week. I’m going to get a manicure! Yes I am!
    I am TERRIBLE when it comes to meals/eating healthily – I really have to get on top of this as a poor diet can effect your sense of wellbeing so very much. My mum made me a healthy salad this evening but she made it during the time my baby needed changing/feeding/putting to bed, and my 5 year old was nagging for my attention. I ate a bit of my meel standing up and then lost my appetite by the time I had both children sorted out! Needless to say, I’ll be snacking on rubbish later! So so bad. Must sort it out!
    Thanks for taking the time to comment lovely, I really appreciate it.
    Kylie Weston-Roberts – that sounds SUCH a good idea. I may get in to bed for 10pm tonight and just get up a bit earlier tomorrow to work….
    Melissa Thomas – thank you so much, so sweet of you to say :)))

  102. Stumbled upon this in twitter…as a newbie to the wedding blog industry I am in instant rapport with you. I recently struggled with guilt over working too much to get the blog running at full speed and not putting the attention into my beautiful girl who is my life. I have now struck up rules and routine with myself and hubby to ensure things travel smoothly and we all get what we need.
    My 3 yr old daughter is the absolute light in my life and she, like your story, is my inspiration and the reason I am so motivated to be a success for her.
    It was a pleasure reading your post.
    Now off to write another post and sip another Scrummy Chai tea.

  103. I truly love that you are so honest and willing to write about the realities of owning your own business. Most people are so protective of their own lives and images that they find it hard to give away the nitty gritties of the not so glamorous parts of their lives. I may not be a mum, but I still have my day job while trying to go into my own photography business. Barely starting out, but I told myself that the best way to grow is to grow wit baby steps just so that I can learn to cope with everything as they come. It gets difficult and stressful because as much as I want the business to grow and am impatient for it to get to a self-sustaining phase, I know that I cannot just take the gamble and give up the stability of my job without having a steady flow of enquiries coming in. What makes it more frustrating is that my boyfriend is starting his own business too, and that we need to find a balance between ourselves and our passions and ambitions before we can even think of settling down, and that is the most heartbreaking part, because the liability of failure is very real, and the fear of never reaching our goals grows exponentially as time passes.
    Thank you so much for this. It is an encouragement. Plus it does give me a glimpse of what I can also expect in my future (or at least I hope). I look forward to the day where I can give my own family and my passion my all.
    ps. your daughters are beautiful.

  104. Reading your amazing bog and the following list of comments it makes me really proud of all of us hard working mums. I’m sure when we all grow old we’ll be so proud of our goals and acheivements. We won’t remember the filthy house, digging school uniforms out of the bottom of the wash basket and being too tired to speak. We will feel really proud and our kids will be too. Here’s to working mums x

  105. Isn’t amazing how many comments there are from so many women in the same boat?
    Great post. I think so many of us don’t take the time to stop and actually acknowledge what it is that we are doing each day – so your post is an achievement in of itself. We have to allow ourselves to recognise and feel good about what we are doing.
    A new friend who runs a business said to me this week that she used to timesheet everything she did each day, regardless of whether she could bill for it – simply because it helped her to remember that she wasn’t not achieving anything, that she wasn’t not getting anything done.
    Women in business, with families should be a tribe – heaven knows we should support each other more. I can never believe how many women there are pretending that it is all glam, when under the hood we are juggling and trying to walk on water at the same time.
    You are all fabulous. Your energy and determination are no match for the trivial things like washing, cleaning, being blow-dried and made up, or even dressed.
    Be Amazonian, women. You’re warriors. Be proud.

  106. Amelia! Thanks for your comment. My Husband has his own business too, so you can imagine how hectic/crazy/mental it is here! I feel very proud though, that my children are going to grow up seeing their parents work for themselves, work hard to make a business of their own. I have my Grandpa Norman’s enterprising spirit – he used to have his own business too – no one else in the family has that entrepreneurial streak as far as I know? I like to think I’m passing on a bit of my Grandpa’s spirit down to my Daughters, keeping his spirit alive through generations 🙂
    Claire O’Sullivan – I’m glad this post has made you feel proud, it has me too 🙂 Here’s to working Mum’s indeed 😉
    Wow Bronywyn – such a heartfelt and powerful response! Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment 🙂
    Annabel xXx
    ps – it’s 12.51pm and I’m still in my pyjamas and have shifted my hair dressing appointment from 10.30am back to 4.30pm already today!

  107. Oh wow how i can relate to this! With 2 little ones under 2, running my own business, house cleaning, dog walking, food shopping etc etc etc…. i left the house the other day and hadn’t even realised i’d forgotten to clean my teeth until i returned home late afternoon soaked from the rain, still needing to take the dog out for a walk and loads of sewing to do and would the kids sleep at the same time that afternoon?? nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
    Story of my life! And so nice to know i am not the only one that doesn’t have a cleaner because it would just take too long to tidy up before they could even get in to clean!
    Thanks so much for this Annabel, you make me feel ‘normal’!xxx

  108. Oh wow how i can relate to this!! With 2 littleones under 2, running my own business, food shopping, house cleaning, dog walking etc etc etc….i didn’t even realise the other day that i’d forgotten to clean my teeth until i returned home late afternoon soaked from the rain and still needing to walk the dog, not to mention the load of sewing to do and would my 2 littleones sleep at the same time that day so i could try and scramble to get a little of it done?? nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!
    How nice it is to hear that i’m not the only one that doesn’t have a cleaner because it would just take too long to tidy before they could get into clean!
    Makeup? Hairdressers? what are they?
    Thanks so much for this Annabel you make me feel ‘normal’!!xxx Oh no just managed to type this and now my 5 mth old is crying and need to pickup my litle boy in 1/2 hour, oh where do the days go???

  109. Thanks so much for this post, I thought it was just me! I felt like I could have written 90% of that myself, given that each scenario is so familiar in my house… I have failed miserably to achieve the work/life balance I so crave lately, but in the last 2 weeks, things simply had to change. Now, on days when my little girl isn’t at nursery (2 days a week), I don’t check my emails, don’t pick up my work phone and don’t work on any orders (at least not until she’s in bed). My relationship with her has gone from strength to strength as a result and for me, I need to stick to the black and white of working when I’m at work and mumming when I’m not – it’s the only way that either half of my life can thrive.
    Thanks Annabel for your honesty and bravery to step out and talk about the real stuff x

  110. Love you honesty and yes have hit the nail on the head on so many levels!! and until you have children and run a business I don’t think people realise just how demanding it is from a work level but also an emotional level!! Now, I think I have learnt to balance the work/family ratio a bit better but like you, my house is always a mess and as I look at my bedroom now I see 3 baskets of ironing!! It’ll still be there tomorrow but those extra moments you’ve gained with your babies will be invaluble. They grow up too fast!!
    You seem to do a fantastic job with coping and I think not giving yourself too much pressure by too strict a routine is definately the way forward!!
    Today I have had to deal with the childrens first day back followed by a trip to the hospital to remove a piece of plastic from my eye, cook the dinner with 1 eye patched and then finish a headband. All while Mr is away. But would we change anything – No.
    It does get a bit easier the older they get though if there’s a fragment of light at the end of the tunnel!!

  111. Helena, bless you love, welcome to the totally wiped out/work from home and am a self employed mum club! It’s the hardest job out there, but the most rewarding in every way 🙂 And haha about the cleaner ;))
    In The Tree House Stationery – so good of your to be able to make the work/Mummy split, I’m almost there. It was Leanora’s birthday today and bar a couple of tweets and a facebook update, I did not work! It was 100% Leanora time 😉 I loved it 🙂
    Annie – thanks for your sweet words lady 🙂

  112. Annabel, as well as being totally moved, I am delighted to read this heartfelt script. You have totally, utterly and completely described my life. My quest to run a business, home, children and husband and still have any energy for myself is a mission that I feel I fail at every day and now somehow you have made me feel a complete success ! There are from reading the posts many of us in the same boat, probably working right now with laptop on lap with television on low in the background for company. But as you say wouldn’t change it for anything. A happy birthday to your gorgeous girl, 1 today, how magical! Lots of love Jo – Emily&Jo

  113. A little late to responding, because I know all about the juggling. Being a working mama is never easy, we’ve got to keep doing the best we can. Love your honestly and strength to keep going. You are an inspiration, thank you x.

  114. What an absolutely fabulous post, Annabel! I’ve been following your posts for a little over a year now. I got married last year and have continued to follow wedding blogs because they’re just so darn fun to read. 🙂 Also, I quit my job in June and am officially self-employed…so this give me a bit of a glimpse into what life will be like in a few years when we add kids to the mix. I’m already doing the “no makeup/pajamas until afternoon/messy hair” thing…so I completely empathize with that! Thanks so much for your beautiful honesty. I SO look forward to continuing to follow your blog! 🙂 Warm wishes from Nashville, TN! XO

  115. I came late to this blog but would like to leave a message anyway. Thank you for being so frank…it’s hard running one’s own business I have had mine for 6 years now and at times I too go into melt down because I can’t seem to get out of this ever turning wheel that seems to go nowhere but bring me back ……I don’t have children, the dresses I make become my children as I nurture the fabric and make it grow into a wonderful wedding dress. Today is being particularly hard as cashflow is at a stand still but reading your blog was some sort of comfort as one always tends to think ‘It’s only happening to me’!!!! I don’t have family close by and friends have their own ‘stuff’ going on so it’s left to me to sort out everything to do with my business like you…and I have come to the same conclusion “Just do what you Ruddy well can”. we are lead to believe that if we are following our hearts and do the work we love everything will fall into place….hmmmmm. you are doing a miraculous job and the smiles on your children’s faces show the love, care and happiness that abounds. Keep your faith your blog is FAB.

  116. Such an honest post Annabel, thanks for sharing it. Life is such a balancing act that it was very reassuring to read your account and know that we are not alone trying to balance lots of responsibilities x

  117. Thank you for such an honest post. All we can really be is good enough. I haven’t put an entire load of washing away for weeks but I had a lovely time yesterday creating blog posts in between nursing my 5 month old and tending to the rest of my gang. Perfection is so boring don’t you think?

  118. thank God you are real:)and so sweet:)every working mom can understand on her own skin what you do and we all love to dream.
    I decided yesterday to sell my wedding dress for a good cause, a little boy who needs an operation, and a lot of money, so my dream about a wedding will go on and I will definitely read your blog while working, feeding the boys and cleaning the mess.O, an I hate doing laundry.
    But maybe as an idea, all the beautiful dresses have an after story? Or are just laying in the closet after the big day?
    kiss, Diana

  119. Hi Annabel, over the last few months I have been a regular reader of your blog, and what a treat this evening to come across your post about self employed mums working from home. I consider reading your posts as indulgent ‘me time’, I’m an addict and I love it. What quality work you produce. Keep on rocking supermum.
    Everything you have written I can relate to. When my daughter was 7 months old I started a business in the wedding sector with the theroy that I can look after my daugther during the week and work at the weekends, best of both worlds. How naive I was, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me and my family. The last 7 years have been hard, and you have summed it up so well and eloquently, my life and your life sound so similar.
    I have always wanted to work for myself and now I have a successful business I am never going back to work for someone else EVER! The early years of bringing your children up are hard enough without the added complexity of a business to run, especially in the current climate. What I would like to say to you Annabel and every working parent that has responded is: yes its hard, yes you question EVERYTHING you do, ponder over decisions for hours and days, look at other parents and business people and think ‘why do I look 10 x more tired than they do’ BUT you know what I am so much happier and satisfied than 90% of people I know. It is all worth it, no guts no glory.
    My two children are now at school, the youngest child started in September, and finally work/life balance is starting to seem a possibility. For the first few weeks I was like a fish out of water, I didn’t have to condense all my work into 2 hours snippets while my son was at Pre school, or on a play date, now the challenges have changed and I have ‘thinking time’ – yes folks time to think!!!!! and I am at stage of expansion.
    Self employed, working from home mums ROCK!!! big style. Think what fantastic inspirational people you are being for your children and peers, what brilliant work ethic you all have and perfect role models and examples you are setting your children… do I know? Because recently my 7 year old daughter was asked at school what she wants to do when she grows up, and she said, ‘work with mummy of course and be just like her’ What else could I ask for? The sweat blood and tears amount to more reward than you can ever measure.
    Whatever journey your business and family life take you on, as a working mum, remember one thing, you are the glue that holds it all together, the link in the chain that won’t be broken and may the road always rise to meet you…. you amazing bunch!!!!!!

  120. Hi Annabel, I’m catching up with your blog posts on this theme and I’m really grateful for your honesty. There should be more honestly like this around! (in case some people falsely think other people are perfect!) Believe you me, you are admiringly organised, productive, creative and gorgeous to boot – yes, even without make-up. I will keep this short as I have a shoot to go to, but let me give you a book recommendation before I go, a recommendation from a fellow fairly-new-to-running-her-own-business person. It’s a book that I have read recently; a book that has made me feel so much better, relaxed and less stressed. It’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I used it as my feel-good reading before falling asleep, and I feel so much better for it. Hope it does the same for you! Keep up the good work, you are doing absolutely fabulously! x

  121. Hello ladies! Thank you so so much for your wonderful comments- I can’t tell you how heart warming it is to read them all, months after I wrote this post!
    Katariina – thanks for your book recommendation, I shall definitely take a look at this book for whenever I have my wobble moments! 😉
    Thanks again ladies, YOU all inspire me with your heartfelt replies and encouragement 🙂

  122. I’m welling up here. This is me, me, me! I feel like I’m 1 step forward 2 steps back most of the time! Thank you.

  123. Oh thank god, I feel so much better now! I met you once at the Charlotte Balbier launch earlier this year and I was running around trying to set up whilst trying to get back home as the car was packed and I was about to head down to Devon with the kids. I thought after – god she must have thought I was a crazy babbling lady as I handed you my business card! I was probably just a bit flustered and generally trying to do too much as you have to! Thank you for sharing this and its been great reading everyones comments too. I am a mum to two year old triplets, my life had to change when they came along and I had to give up my job but it also gave me the opportunity to start my own business which I adore. I can relate to all of the above and if we meet again in the future I look forward to exchanging some mum chat before getting on to the bridal stuff. Thank you, inspiring as ever, keep up the really amazing work xxx

  124. Very refreshing to read your blog and all the comments. I have been working from home nearly 2 years now and reading your story was like reading my own. I don’t want to change it for anything in the world it’s definitely not as easy as I thought it would be! I only have one child and he will turn 3 soon and therefore start pre-school. I think (hope) that this will make things a bit easier!
    Thank you very much for sharing, it’s great to know that we are not alone out there!
    By the way, your girls are absolutely adorable!

  125. Hi Annabel, I do not have children yet, but when this happend I hope to be a great working mum as you are! I must read this posts later – there are so many.

  126. Oh Annabel.I can’t believe only now I’m stumbling into this blog,more than a year has gone since you wrote it…but maybe it’s because now I need it the most!..infact after a long time of feeling low, inadequate and lonely it was heartwarming knowing that I wasn’t alone after all. I’ve always been open about my feelings and life in general, apart from my nature it is in my culture (I’m Italian..this also might explain grammar mistakes..)but recently this openness backfired me and realise it wasn’t the right way to be..after all everybody else is “fine ” all the time and nobody really wants to hear if you are not because they don’t know how to deal with it. So you cannot imagine how refreshing was reading you: at last someone open,sincere,real,…yes, just like me.I too have (and I’m always scare to say it) a perfect life, two wonderful children and a husband that was sent from heaven and a chance to work on my passions, photography been one oh them I built a studio in my backgarden. working and looking after my family and children sounded ideal. The reality is that i’m trapped in my own frustrations of all the things I want to do and are unable to achieve. Unlike you, I have lots of time on my hands(my children are older) that’s why I feel a cheat I have so many ideas that are bursting inside my head:new website, blog etc but I’m wasting my time feeling sorry for my self looking at other people that are doing successfully what I would like to do but I’m just dreaming about it and everything’s already been done and better…You really are an inspiration to me and you deserve all the success you have achieved…and if I finally find the guts to throw myself into the so much loved vintage wedding photography…who knows..maybe one day we might even bump into each other. x

  127. Vicki, i read your reply to this post and felt compelled to send you a message.
    I spent three miserable years in the City (i always knew it didn’t feel right), i was surrounded by people who seemed to thrive in the enviroment but i felt like a fraud, like i didn’t belong and it really changed my personality.
    Luckily my now fiance and family supported me despite how awful the stress made me behave.
    All i’d say is that since then over the last three years i have changed jobs twice. The first one was such a welcome change and this second one is a step even better.
    I have no idea if this is what i really want to do, but taking the huge step of changing my job gave me the breathing space i needed, reduced my stress levels and have put me in a better place emotionally to re-evaluate where i might want to go in the future.
    What i’m trying to say is, i don’t yet have it all worked out, but i am happier and i realise it was fear of the unknown, of making a potential mistake of change that kept me prisoner in a horrible job.
    What is the worst that can really happen if you leave your job? You are there most of the time, life is too short to be that unhappy that often.
    I hope you find a way out and don’t be afraid to change it up a bit, you never know where it could lead you. xx

  128. Hi Annabel

    Thank you so much for your candid ‘tell all’. I read this post and nodded all the way through like one of those nodding dog toys you get sitting on the dashboards of cars! I have a 7 month old and have been married for just over a year and I’m slowly adjusting to balancing my time out between my immediate family, extended very close family, working from home, and friends.

    I am trying to pick up all the tips I can and I wanted to ask you when do you make time for your relationship… your husband? I understand you work in the evening as that is the only genuine undisturbed period in your day but do you feel guilty for not spending quality time with your husband? I am trying to work out how I can balance my ever- growing non-stop blog business workload with everything else, and I would love to hear your thoughts on working from home in the evening vs. quality time with your partner.

    Karen x

  129. Dear Annabel.
    I know this post is really old but I still feel the need to comment. I am spending the day in bed after a series of anxiety attacks brought on by stress. And this post was just what I needed today. There isn’t one thing in your post that I cannot relate to. I run my own business (5 years in as a photographer), work mostly from home. Have two kids (3 and 4). My husband is a sailor so he’s away 4 weekend at a time. The going to bed at 3 at Night after hours in front of the computer is SO familiar! Oh and I have a skizofrenic mother who seems to have made it her lifeplan to hurt me as much as possible. So now after 4-5 years of this I have been brought to my knees. Right now I don’t feel hopeless but I do feel kind of numb. First I need to relax, then I need to give up on THE dream and find MY dream instead. Thankyou for being so honest!

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