I love, love having my children off with me, but I do look forward to start of new school term. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had a wonderful month with my nine-year old daughter and five-year old son but it’s a real challenge to maintain my usual rate of productivity and I always fail to say not to new commissions. I think it is a trait of many self employed people. I think we often feel we need to take the work when it is there, and pet portrait artists are no exception to this. Those precious six hours a day during the school week are reduced to a meagre two hours once I’ve sorted out non-iPad activities and constant bickering!
It does make me wonder how other parents who work from home juggle the six weeks of the summer. I do wonder about getting a childminder, but I hate the thought of bundling them off to someone else. My Mum was always home for me as a child and it is part of the reason I started doing pet portraits, as even though I didnt have children then, I knew I could be at home for my kids when I had them by by an artist. The best method I have found is to try and get up fairly early, they kids see to that most of the time and work the morning and then try and do something with them in the afternoon such as a picnic or similar in the afternoon. It seems to work fairly well. If I have the energy after they have gone to bed I may attmept another hour or two! However it is exhausting!
Again I’m not complaining but with a full order book through to the end of October it’s quite a juggling act and that’s before the Christmas gift rush begins. Also my limited edition prints of ‘Double Trouble’, ‘On the Prowl’ and ‘Kauto Star’ are selling well but requiring mounting, secure packing and despatch which takes time away from the easel.
I try to catch up in the evenings, fighting off the fatigue of seven long weeks of school summer holiday parenting, but I always end up taking commissions away with me when we take a break to keep on schedule.
I don’t mind because I miss my work so much if I’m away from it more than a day and it gives my husband the perfect opportunity to bond with the kids and take over from me!