My maternity leave has ended up being a lot longer than expected
Meet the fab mum, who turned redundancy into a positive, by channeling her creativity into her wonderful children’s party blog. We chat crafting, cakes and career changes with, Tamsin Ryan.
My maternity leave has ended up being a lot longer than expected…
During the first couple of months of maternity leave I was in two minds about going back to work. I was loving the time discovering my new baby and part of me thought I would never be able to leave her with anyone else, but I also knew I’d need to be doing something for myself and eventually earn some money too! I was also worried about how it might impact my career if I were to have a really big break from work; would I struggle to get a similar level role in the future?
A month or so later, the decision was somewhat taken out of my hands. My boss contacted me to let me know they were making me redundant. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. The part of me that didn’t want to go back to work was thrilled that I was now going to be paid not to return. But on the other hand, I was panicking about how difficult it would be to find a new role as a new mum, with the flexibility I would need to fit around childcare. Even just the thought of job searching and interviewing filled me with utter panic.
I was still coming to terms with the idea of being made redundant, when a few weeks later covid hit and the prospect of finding a new job and suitable child care options seemed hopeless. It wasn’t even worth thinking about until things had blown over.
I put my worries aside for the time being and got on with enjoying being a mum. I have to say that fortunately covid had very little impact on our day to day life. The weather that summer was amazing and my daughter and I spent most of the time in the garden playing in the paddling pool. Added to which, my husband was at home almost 24/7; he really couldn’t have asked for a better paternity leave. So for that, we were very lucky.
Life started to return to normal
As time went on and life started to return to some kind of normality, I started to feel the need to do something for myself and to potentially find a means of earning again. However, after all this time with my baby, my feelings about returning to work had drastically changed. As an older mum (I had my daughter at 40), I’d already had almost a 20 year career before becoming a mum. So I started to think that perhaps I didn’t need to worry about having a career now, perhaps I could be content with the one I’d already had. What I really wanted was to find something that I enjoyed, that made me a happier and better mum, and something with huge amounts of flexibility (doesn’t everyone!)! I’d obviously need it to earn me some income, but I didn’t need to be making the salary I had before and quite frankly I wasn’t prepared to put in the kind of hours that would involve. I’d come to accept and am really happy with the idea of having a much ‘smaller’ job, with less responsibility, because I want to know that at the end of the day I can come home to my daughter and not be the one holding everything together at the office, or be the person answering emails over the weekend; someone else can have a turn at that now.
I had a change of heart
So, where did that leave me…. I’ve always loved to make things and during covid I got pretty carried away making clothes and toys for my little girl. This progressed to baking cakes, making birthday gifts and crafting decorations for her first and second birthdays. I thought about whether I could sell some of the things I was making, but I was worried that the pressure to create all the time would take away the enjoyment of it! This led me to the idea of writing a blog where I could share my creations and suggestions to help other parents and caregivers to throw parties for their children, whether they needed inspiration for a party theme, eco friendly ideas for party bag fillers or novel ways to create fancy dress costumes.
My new project
I spent a few months researching and gathering ideas and then drafted some initial blog posts. I didn’t exactly have any budget for creating my blog, so I needed to do as much of the legwork as I could myself. I designed my own logo in Procreate (an app for iPads that costs about £10) and created social accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Finding free images to use was quite tricky, but I hope going forward I’ll be able to create much of my own content, it‘s just very time consuming! I purchased a domain (www.icecreamandjelly.com), organised web hosting and the website template through Squarespace. Designing the website was a bit fiddly at first, particularly to ensure that I was trying to follow all the SEO guidelines. It’s been a huge learning process, however, so far I’ve managed to put over 20 blog posts live. I even have a form to sign up to a newsletter (when I have time to write one!) and a carousel of testimonials on the home page. I’m pretty pleased with it so far, but it’s very early days and there’s a whole lot more I’d like to do. I have lists of other blog posts I’d like to write and so many creative projects I want to complete, so I can share them in the blog, it’s just a case of finding the time!
My new future
My hope is that the blog will eventually become a one stop shop for children’s party planning!
Check out Tamsin’s fantastic blog here for perfect party inspiration