Flo and Archie are nearly nine months old. It’s an age since I last wrote my blog and in the few months since I last posted, my whole world has changed. Archie is crawling, standing up, knocking things over, eating paper, climbing out of his moses basket when he’s meant to be sleeping, smearing cauliflower cheese in his eye, choking on rice cakes and generally making mischief. He has also developed a tickly spot and has a Terry Thomas-esque gap between his two front teeth. I gather this (the tooth gap not the tickly spot) is a marker of good luck so I shall be rubbing his lovely teeth on my Euromillions ticket every Friday. Flo is determinedly sitting still, not crawling and not being a pudding kind of girl (which must be some kind of rogue gene).
Evie is settled and happy at school although it appears she was forced to sign the Official Secrets Act on her first day as she seems pathologically unable to share with us a single detail of what she does there all day every day. While I rack myself with guilt about sending her to after school club at four years old so I can selfishly earn a living, she berates me for coming to pick her up too early. And so I relax - guilt assuaged. Homework has entered our world – homework, for four year olds, who knew? I begin with intentions of gentle, liberal encouragement , only to morph accidentally just days in into an Amy Chua-style Tiger Mother, yelling that her ‘H’ isn’t straight enough and that the only way to get good at something is to practice it over and over as she writes Jones for the 100th time - so motivating and inspiring for the young mind. Captain Von Trapp would be so proud, I really must polish my whistle and shine those jackboots.
So just a month or so ago, my fledgling wee solo PR outfit stumbled and blinked into the daylight, coughing and spluttering with fear and trepidation. I invented a name, wrote a business plan, built a little website, printed some jazzy business cards, got an accountant, and sent out a flurry of emails to people who knew me before my brain fell out or who met me since and were still prepared to talk to me. Then in a very quiet voice, I practised saying: “I’ve got three children and I run my own business”, just to see how it felt.
Next I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers and hoped that a little bit of business might trickle my way, easing me gently back into the world of work. But the trickle didn’t happen - because I won the first few things I pitched for and KA-BOOM, suddenly I feel like I might just have a one woman empire-in-the-making, with clients, campaigns and work coming out of my ears. It’s all happened so quickly that I’m still catching my breath but it feels good to be chasing deadlines and talking to journalists again. Of course the biggest shock to the system working for and by myself rather than in the comforting bosom of a big London PR agency is that I no longer have lots of lovely people to do what I ask. As I build my own media lists for the first time in about a hundred years, I hear the distant strains of account execs past saying: “I told you it took two hours, not ten minutes, now stop bloody nagging”.
Mornings and evenings are frantic getting everyone up, dressed, changed, fed, watered and transported to their various destinations but when I’m back sitting at my desk, planning my working day, and the house is quiet, I take a minute to sit back and think: “Well here I am - mother of three and running my own business”. I think it in a loud voice this time. And it does feel good, and quite grown up and RIDICULOUSLY exciting.