When I was 30 weeks pregnant I founded The Modern Nursery. I really struggled to find contemporary items for our babies nursery that fitted with my style, and me, and I was about to take maternity leave from my career in the fashion industry at Burberry so it seemed like the right thing to do.
I had a vision that all nurseries would be modern spaces with beautiful, hand picked contemporary items but the reality of what the high-street offers is very different. I started to come across lots of talented small businesses on social media and decided to build a site that brought all of those up-and-coming, as well as established brands, together under one roof – a one stop shop to build a modern nursery.
I started to come across lots of talented small businesses on social media and decided to build a site that brought together up-and-coming and established brands
Since then it has grown into a very social community. We interact with our peers and customers through blogging, vlogging, YouTube and Pinterest, and we are always chatting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The business has grown more than I imagined in the last six months and I recently left my job at Burberry to expand it further.
Another reason to set up The Modern Nursery was because the reality of parenting, working 38 hours a week, coughing up for a huge childcare bill, and getting on a train every day did not appeal to me. Running my own business means I can manage my own time. If I want to meet my mum friends for lunch, or take Alba on a day trip, I can. I write Instagram posts and emails as I go, and work every evening as soon as she falls asleep, often until the early hours. I do believe you can achieve a good work/life balance but I think there will always be sacrifices.
I make a to-do list every Sunday and tick it off as I go. I try not to add to the list otherwise it becomes unachievable and then I just beat myself up about how much I didn’t do, instead of praising myself for how much I did
Up until last year my husband and I were living in Hackney but we decided to swap city life in London for suburbia, forfeiting cafe culture for a serious upgrade in space. Soon after that we had our daughter, Alba, who is now nine months old. Where we live is quiet, and green, and I love it. I’m also loving a slower pace of life, especially now I’m a mum. We have good friends nearby and for me there is nothing more important than having a strong community around you when you have kids.
Being a working mum is a balancing act and I think the most important thing is to be realistic. I make a to do list every Sunday night and tick it off as I go. I try my hardest not to add to the list otherwise it becomes unachievable and then I just beat myself up about how much I didn’t do, instead of praising myself for how much I did do. There is huge pressure on us all to have it all, and we give ourselves a really hard time. I believe in setting a goal, no matter how big or small, getting it done, and then giving myself credit for it.
I think it is also about being realistic with Alba, not expecting her to let me work for hours on end in the day. I can get away with one hour in the morning while she plays. Then I work for another hour in the afternoon when she naps and I work every night as soon as she goes to sleep. I answer questions on social media throughout the day on my phone, although I try really hard to limit it otherwise you end up doing a shit job of being a mother and a shit job of running a business. In the end it’s about balance, focus and realistic expectations.
Alba wakes at 6.30am and I bring her into our bed. We pretend to still be asleep for as long as possible but by about 7.15am she usually wins and we get up. We eat breakfast together and listen to podcasts. I am currently listening to “StartUp” by Gimlet Media which I love and really motivates me to crack on with whatever I have looming workwise. I work for an hour (in my PJs) while she plays, then when she goes down for her morning nap I get ready. By 11.30am we get out and start our day. We do a mix of different things (swimming, music classes, soft play, catching up with friends) and we tend to eat lunch out where I check my emails. We are usually home by mid-afternoon.
When you become a mum you have to make friends all over again. It’s like dating. You go along to a baby class or a networking event, and you spy the mums in the room you think you might get on with
I have no childcare but my husband is amazing. If I’m really busy and need to work on a Saturday or Sunday, he will take Alba out for the afternoon. I’m still breastfeeding but she doesn’t feed much in the day so I can work for up to six hours if needs must. My husband loves his time with her and I’m less stressed because I’ve ticked lots off things off the list (!) so it’s win win.
My mum lives quite far away but she tries really hard to come up and help, she often babysits when I going to Mother’s Meetings, an amazing network of women running their own businesses and juggling the wonderful world of motherhood. It’s funny when you become a mum because you have to make friends all over again. It’s like dating. You go along to a baby class, a coffee meet-up, or a networking event and you spy the mums in the room who you think you might get on with. It’s funny but true.
As a family one of the things we love to do together is walk. This is where we often talk out big business plans, or life goals, or just what we want for dinner that night. Some of my favourite conversations with my husband have taken place on these walks.
For more about Laura and The Modern Nursery visit themodernnursery.com