Working Parents: Hayley

Hayley is self-employed and runs Fiddlebeads. She has six children aged 16 months to 19 years.

At Fiddlebeads we handcraft fiddle, teething and sensory necklaces and accesories, which are made from wooden and/or silicone beads and natural wooden teethers. They are absolutely perfect for babies, toddlers, children and to adulthood and cater for a range of needs including fiddling, teething, sensory or just a stunning, handmade, safe statement piece I am married to Rob, we have been together for 21 years this year and married for 5. We have 6 wonderful children Ryan 19, Olivia 16, Harry 6, Isabella 5, Madeleine 3 and William 16 months. We also have 3 fur babies Luna, Ziggy and Ted.

When Isabella was born she was a complete fiddler when feeding, she was nosy and distracted at the breast and pulled off at every noise. In the sling, she was a total hair puller so Fiddlebeads was born out of me trying to fix my own problem and find something that I would like to, wear as I am not really a massive necklace wearer (well I wasn’t before, I am now, I am never without my Fiddlebeads.)

Rob and I decided together that this we wanted to have a business at home, where we could both be, I wanted to be home for the children and Rob was a carer for his mum. We needed to be flexible for our family needs and this fit beautifully.

Work happens pretty consistently throughout the day, once the children are at school and nursery. Usually, William will nap or sometimes he is in the sling on my back and that is when I will organise what necklaces we have to make and send that day.

I am a total organiser and list lady so I make lots of lists, to do list, to post list, posted list….you see my point! We generally work until 9.30am until 3pm then collect the children and then a little more work and a post run, which is the end of the making part of the day.

Once the kids are in bed, that is usually when I try to do some marketing, social media and make sure all messages are answered. Weekends are less structured and work happens as and when but mostly when the kids are in bed.

The small children think my job is cool and love looking at all the colour combinations. They sometimes ask us to make something for them….perks of your mama being the boss! The older ones, don’t really say much but I know they like that we work from home. I think it’s also really important that we can show them what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

The best thing about my situation is the flexibility: doing something I love and making products I truly believe in. Being a work-at-home mum is really amazing and I am blessed I can be home with my small people.

Sometimes it is hard as Fiddlebeads is our only job and therefore our only income, and not having a fixed salary is sometimes challenging.  Also, our work is in our home so we never really turn off from it.

If you’re a parent looking for flexible working, I would advise you to firstly believe in your product.  Do the best you can, research thoroughly and don’t take shortcuts. Working for yourself is hard and building a good, successful business takes time and effort, don’t do something just to make a quick buck.

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