#1 When family means business!
This is my first ever blog post. Gulp.
I wanted to write about my attempts to run a family and a business at the same time, but I also wanted to explain the reasons behind the creation of Elephant Moon. They are all linked in one way or another, so it made sense to amalgamate them.
If I'm being honest, this blog has taken forever to complete because I've been too 'chicken' to take the plunge and post it. I don't have a huge amount of experience when it comes to social media or writing blogs as it happens. Having to press the little 'publish' button that meant real people could actually see what I'd written, was a little more terrifying than I'd anticipated.
However, like most things that involve extracting yourself from your comfort zone, a little bravery is required and a large glass of wine often helps.
So this is me - Caroline. Here I am with my kids sitting on me, while I put some figures into an Excel spreadsheet. Fun. Although I look relatively relaxed in this photo, I can say with certainty that this wasn't the case a few moments later!
This image encapsulates my day to day life perfectly. While i'm not a huge fan of the phrase 'Stay At Home Mom' (contrary to popular belief, sometimes I do actually leave the house), it's a pretty accurate description of what I do.
By day, I don't achieve much 'work' as such, although I try not to beat myself up about this too much. The constant yet completely normal interruptions that occur when you share space with small people, make it virtually impossible. If my toddler takes a good nap or can be distracted with play-doh or even better, some TV (considerably less mess), then I can sometimes sneak in a few extra minutes of work while the eldest two are at school.
However, most of the day is spent doing standard SAHM stuff; playing with kids, changing diapers, cleaning up mess, feeding people, doing laundry, cleaning up more mess - you get the gist...
Luckily for me my children LOVE getting up nice and early! The plus side to being woken up at such a revolting time of day, is that the three of them, luck permitting, are ready for bed fairly early. I spend this blissfully un-interrupted evening time, scrambling to fit in everything that I didn't do earlier. There are some evenings when I can be very productive, and then there are others when I lie, quietly catatonic on the couch.
In my past life, before children, I had a career as a science teacher in England. Shortly after our first baby arrived, my husband took a job in the USA. This meant leaving our old lives behind and making new ones in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was an exciting time!
To cut a long story short, as a family who had emigrated, we experienced some huge changes. Some were easy and some were very, very hard. These changes were the catalyst I needed to start my own business; something I'd wanted to do for a long time. The idea for Elephant Moon coupled with being my own boss, gave me the flexibility, independence and most importantly the inspiration I needed to actually do something for a reason other than myself!
On a more serious note, I've always worried excessively about the atrocities that go on in the world (I've yet to meet someone who doesn't), but after having children, I felt like I was worrying way more...to the point where certain things were regularly keeping me awake at night. The feeling of powerlessness was overwhelming, as was the reality that nothing I could do would ever be enough to make any kind of a difference.
Starting my own business has made me realize that I was wrong about this. We can all make a difference and it doesn't have to be in the form of a huge gesture! Sometimes it feels like there is immense pressure on us to leave behind some kind of legacy; to be or do something extraordinary for it to count.
Perhaps though, it's the seemingly 'ordinary' acts of help and kindness which are collectively, just as important as the 'extraordinary' ones. They are the foundations on which to build and without them, there really isn't much left to work with. Whether its something we can do within our families, at work or in our normal, everyday interactions with others, it's our duty to make the effort - with grace and without expecting anything in return.
Being a full time mother is sometimes hard, and running a business is sometimes hard. Doing the two together is bonkers but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Elephant Moon is primarily about creating really cool kids clothes which are purposeful, sustainable and ethical. But more than that, its a way for me to support my family whilst at the same time, try to do something for a cause I believe deserves our attention.
So there it is. I survived my first blog post. Thanks for reading!
*Read more about how we support Amara Conservation at https://www.elephantmoon.com/how-we-give/