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Mirror, Mirror

27 Oct

Now that I am officially no longer self employed, I feel like I have no purpose. My worldmirror has been flipped upside down and personally, I have no idea how to deal. I didn’t think it would be this way. I thought that I would be fine, enjoy staying at home and being a mom and a wife and keeping up my house, since its been hard to do that for the last 10 years.

Now that I have no job, I am feeling down in the mouth. I was crying yesterday because of it. It is like a weight has been lifted, but then I look around and don’t recognize anything. I’m in a whole new world now. For 10 years, I was not only fulfilling a dream, but also being fulfilled by bringing people joy and for employing people from the community. Now that it is gone, I am reaching for anything to give me that fulfillment and purpose. I look in the mirror and I have no idea who I am or what I would like to do in life. I have been in an apron for so long, I have no clue how to deal without it. In the last 10 years, I have been raising my children, and running a business. I worked so hard and so much some weeks that it felt like I never saw my children. I remember putting in a 15 hour day and crying by the time I left to go home because I knew I had missed bed time and they never saw me that entire day. Those days were hard. Very hard emotionally and physically.

complaintI think what drained me the most was my strive for perfection. I know, not everything can go perfectly all the time, but I wanted it to. And when I disappointed someone, it killed me. I know for a fact that anyone who runs and owns a small business feels like their business is going under even when they get a small complaint. You go through a small panic attack and it puts your whole day out of whack. I will not miss this feeling.

So, what do I do now? What do I want? Who will hire me? I know, I just want a part time job and focus the rest of my time on my home and children and husband and writing, but what do I want to do for those 20 hours a week? Does it matter?employer Will it define me? Is it going to be embarrassing for me to see people who used to come to me for cakes, now seeing me doing something like serving them a coffee? Don’t get me wrong, I think that all jobs are important and I don’t look down on anyone, but it is quite a change of pace. Like I have to integrate myself back into society as a former business owner, as an employee not an employer. I was proud of my third baby, it’s hard to see her go, it’s hard not to go there everyday, and its hard not seeing Shanna everyday. I didn’t count on all these feelings.

I didn’t count on this depressed feeling. No job. No purpose. No money. Sadness. Rest. Rest? I have never in my life, been without a job for longer than 2 weeks. I have worked work-hard-1from the time I was 12 years old. I created my own job with a friend of walking dogs, and I babysat from 12 as well. When I was 14 I got a job as a dishwasher, then while still babysitting and going to school, I worked at a local pizza place. When I was 16 I took on a babysitting job that started at 6 am, and then I had to pick the kids up at the daycare after school and watch them until 11 pm. I was their mother for a whole year. When I was 19 I was running a bar. I was a bartender, made the schedule, ordered the food from the suppliers, cooked, served and worked the DJ booth when nobody else could. That was a lot of responsibility for a little money. I am not lazy, and now that I have no job, I feel lazy. I know, it has only been a few days, but I am hyper sensitive. I am also on a path of being super healthy and fit, and I had to peel myself out of bed at 5:07 this morning to get to the gym. I have started talking myself up….I have to. This morning I was telling myself to get up, beat the depression monster, don’t let it take over, don’t quit. I deserve better. Work for it. Get results.

Man, a lot of things run through my head everyday now, not just what has to be done at the shop, what supplies we need and who is working, what to make for supper, and what activities the kids have to do on what night.

I know this feeling should pass…..I am not sure when or how, but I know it will. It has to. I guess its one day at a time, baby steps. I had a friend talk me out of eating my feelings last night. She just texted me at the right time, and I confessed how I felt to her. I thought about it and just decided to go to bed instead of having another drink and something to eat. I went right to sleep. It was a good choice, and I hope I keep making them.

Hopefully every day gets easier. Evolution is inevitable, things will move and change, and I have to guide myself where to go and how to take myself there, it is learning how to do it that is key. Anyone know how to pick a lock? ha ha!

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Those Clenched Jaw Moments

26 May

_-91[1] (2)As you know, I own and run a bakery. I make cupcakes and specialty made cakes, I also make pies and baked goods. It is not easy to have to run a business by yourself. And, I know I don’t literally do it all by myself, I have staff, but the brunt of everything is on my shoulders. I have to manage everything and everyone. This is very tiring  and stressful. I have noticed, when trying to find new employees, they see my business and think that it is going to be so fun and easy! They can either bake or decorate cupcakes and it’s all sunshine and rainbows. This is not the case, and when they find out how hard we have to work, they are not into it at all. Complete misconception of the business. And I have to say, that these cupcake shows on tv are terrible for me! The potential employees are swayed, they have stars in their eyes when they bring a resume. No, we won’t be making gumpaste flowers for 6 hours, no, we won’t be decorating 12 cupcakes for an hour. Things have to get done, and efficiently. Timing matters in this business.

So, anyway, I put in alot of hours and a lot of energy for my business. I care about every cake that I decorate. I really do. And, when someone is disappointed in their cake, I take it personally. I know that I shouldn’t, but my stomach sinks and I feel red in the face and it really feels as if I am a complete failure at what I do. I don’t get a lot of complaints, but when I do, my world feels like it cracks a little! I am in the business of making people happy, not making people upset. Celebrations are important to everyone, and the cake matters. To a lot of people it does anyway. I have started taking my time to figure out what to do in situations like this. It really is a hard thing to work out. I don’t want to disappoint my customer, I need to pay my employees for the work they have done, and there are so many variables with cake…. it is so hard to deal with these affairs and honestly, I do not want to deal withcomplaints it….but I have to.

I have a tendency to clench my jaw. When I am stressed or upset or have something gnawing at me, my jaw becomes tight and I start holding my breath. I don’t mean to do this, it is just a habit that I don’t know how to stop. I am the person that likes everyone, I am the one that gets shy people to talk and angry people to laugh. I HATE when people are angry!

So, I know what kind of day I have had when I get home and have a sore jaw.

I know that the food industry is a pretty harsh place to be. Dealing with food, first of all, then dealing with the consumers. But I love what I do and there is more good than bad. 98% of my customers are extremely happy and I love to see their faces when picking up a cake that they ordered. Especially the kids! Those faces are priceless! I love it! I love coming home and my kids hugging me and telling me that I smell sweet, I love bringing people cupcakes when they are down, and I love the donation work that I give to the people that really need it. Everything about it fulfills me. I am very lucky to be able to do what I love, it’s just dealing with the hard long hours and the stress that takes away from that. Good and bad, there is a very fine line in the food business, and to all of those who own or run a business and have to manage everything, kudos to you! It just makes you want to have more fun on the days you have off! ha ha!

cheers

It’s All About Everyone Else

14 Aug

It has been a while since my last post. I have been very busy, with no time at all to do some serious relaxing! I am sure that every parent feels this way, and it might be even worse for business owners. I am tired. Plain and simple. Tired. I have a ton of things to do on any given day. I still have not caught up on my book work for the bakery. I am about 2 weeks behind, except for payroll, that is always done on time. I work everyday, and some days that I have off and get off work a little early, I am having to do things at home, or taking my kids places and playing or doing crafts. I have to do my rounds of visiting, getting supplies for the bakery, and keeping up with having friends and family. I know it does not sound hard, or even like work to do most of these things, but when you are stretched out in all directions, it feels like climbing a never ending mountain, Unattainable success in achieving anything. At any given moment, if I sit down and relax, I can guarantee that I would fall asleep. 

I know I have to take an hour or so to just relax and centre myself again, like hitting a reset button, but there is always something else or someone else that needs my immediate attention. Even if I did have some relaxation time, what would I do? I would just fall asleep. Maybe I should do just that. When I put the kids to bed at night, I should just lie in bed and relax. So simple, but so hard to do!

So, who needs my attention? My children, 7 & 5 years old. They are not quite independant yet and even the smallest things need my attention. My children are a little different than most as well. They are always by my side. I try to get them to go play upstairs with their toys, or to go read a book, but they never want to leave me. I know this is a blessing, because, realistically how long will this last? I love my kids, I love to cuddle them and kiss them, it has to be my favourite thing in the world. Sometimes they both want on my lap at the same time and they fight with each other on who’s arms should go around me. They push each other out of the way and most of the time I cannot handle this, but they get jealous of each other. I never want them to feel that I favour one more than the other, but I know it is inevitable. Whether you favour one over the other or not, they end up thinking or feeling that the other sibling gets more perks. I am an only child. I don’t really understand it. Anyhow, I love that they want to be near me at all times, but sometimes I need a minute. Sometimes I need an hour, or an uninterrupted bath, or pee for that matter! Ha Ha! My boys are having to learn that mommy needs privacy. Boys cannot come into the room when mommy is in the bathroom or changing, or showering etc. This is when they like to barge in or ask me questions or want to cuddle. I do what I can. I always feel guilty.

Who else needs me? My husband, but he is more self sufficient….I’m so lucky! My husband does dishes and laundry, he vacuums and cleans toilets! He makes dinner almost every night as well. He needs me emotionally. We are both pretty sensitive people and we miscommunicate. like most people. For the most part we are like one person, which is cool. I have to get out of my own mind and stop worrying about things or thinking about the business for a minute when we are talking, or he is telling me a story. The bakery is all consuming in my head. It takes over everything. It is sometimes hard to see his side of stories when I am thinking from the perspective of a boss or I am just emotionally drained. He is patient for the most part. He gets annoyed or even mad sometimes. But our relationship is successful because we both work at it and we talk and are honest with each other about absolutely everything. 

My staff and my business needs me. This is what drains me the most. Oh, people. People are different, people need to be guided at all times, there is a lot of hand holding. There is always a need to solve problems and keep everyone happy. There is sick calls, early outs, low production, excuses, reasons, etc. It isn’t always this bad, but it feels like it! I am a mediator, a mentor, a teacher, a boss, an employee, a counsellor, a therapist, a friend, a coach etc. I wear a lot of hats at work. I do my own book work, I am at the bakery very early every morning to do the baking of the cupcakes (180-240 cupcakes), I decorate them and then I decorate cakes and make the supply orders and organize the donations and meetings and such. Its very tiring.

All of this takes a lot out of me, and then I have friends and family that I visit. I just want to turn off my brain sometimes. I love my friends. I love my family. My best friends are my neighbours, they are a married couple with small kids as well. They are great and I could count on them for anything, as they could with my husband and I. I feel more secure knowing that they are right there. I now love my neighbourhood. I have made myself familiar with all of my neighbours now. I don’t worry about my children so much now. 

I still have to move and be conscious, but not only that, I care about everyone and everything that everyone is saying to me. My head is full, my body is tired. I need to relax.

Where do I relax without the need to get up and do laundry or clean? Where do I relax without feeling guilt because I am not doing anyting? Why do I always have to be doing something? 

I need to make time for me in order to take care of everything and everyone else! I just find it hard to do. It’s all about everyone else. DId I say I was tired? Ha ha! 

I am not complaining about my life at all….I am just enlightening you to how my life works. Most of the time I do not know what I am going to blog about at the time until I start typing, and even then I just realize how I actually feel when it comes out on the screen. 

I love my life, I love everyone in it, and I would not change anything, except my need to care for everyone else but myself. To find the balance would be great. That will be my next project!!

A New Year!

29 Dec

aIn March of 2013 will be our 2nd year anniversary! Whew! We did it….2 years as a small business and our doors aren’t closed! That is quite a feat in this economy! It hasn’t been easy, and it won’t be for a while either. Running your own business isn’t quite as easy as I had imagined, this is due to all of the things that were not thought of…..mostly the government! Ha! Ha! (major eye roll).

But on a lighter note, I have acquired a new staff, as I mentioned before! I still have my tried and true manager; Shanna Weinberger, and now I have hired on one of my co-op students Carissa Smith, whom I call “Rissy Pants”! She is a slip of a girl, pale in complexion, soft spoken and shy. She listens to EVERYTHING that I say! She listens and retains all the information put forth in front of her! She is so wonderful, she is eager to please and wants to do her job at a 125% level!

This is the best representative of Carissa without an actual picture of her! So cute!

This is the best representative of Carissa without an actual picture of her! So cute!

It’s pretty impressive for an 18 year old girl! And, apparently, she has come a long way! She had some schooling issues, but she put herself back in the game and is working hard to better herself and become who she wants to be.  Aw, Rissy….she could be an inspiration for all young uninspired, uncaring teens. Stand up, and do something!

Sam wears the cutest aprons imaginable! She is so Suzy Homemaker! Too adorable! She gives good hugs too!

Then we have Samantha (Sam) Hedges! She too, is loved by me! WAY too cute for her own good! Ha! Ha! I like to give everyone a nickname, Sam has a couple from me! There is Samboni, and the one she hates…. Sammy Nicky! Ha! Ha! Let me tell you, this girl is 23 years old and has her head on straight! She has an education behind her. This is why she is my baker. She knows the difference between AP flour and Cake Flour. Baking is a science, and not everyone can do it, or wants to do it! Some people are lucky to be inspired by it and like to try things….. this is Sam! She appreciates a good frosting swirl on a cupcake, she has that perfectionism that a great baker should have. She knows that not only is it the taste and texture of a great baked good, but also the visual aspect. It has too just look pretty! She does have a little OCD, which is mostly endearing! Ha! Ha! We all love her! A true kid at heart, and does not take herself too seriously! She fits right in!

These girls are my family away from my home. And when hiring people, you can`t be too careful. We work in close quarters, we have to get along! And we do! I am VERY lucky for Shanna, Carissa and Sam!

I am hoping that 2013 will open some new doors for BMaC! We have expanded our roster of baked goods now. Not only do we bake cupcakes and cakes, but we also make cookies, brownies and squares, muffins, mini loaves, etc. I am hoping to advertise in the coming year for all of these baked goods. I would also love to get into breads. That is a while yet to come though!  I would love to make bread! The bakery smells so good now, I can only imagine how good it would smell with fresh baked bread! Oh!

Dreams  will come! As long as I am focused and determined and smart…… I can do it! My children will grow up seeing their mother work hard and hopefully they will take that in and work hard when they are grown. That is how I learned…… from my mother!

So, CHEERS! Here`s to dreams, Here`s to loving what you do, and Here`s to success!

Happy New Year everyone!a1

‘Tis the Season??

29 Nov

Well, another wedding season has come and gone, and now we venture into new products! I have decided that in this business it is safest not to pigeon-hole yourself into doing just one thing. I have now expanded what we offer! Being a natural-born baker, I have decided to share with everyone all of the other yummy stuff I can make! We now make mini loaves, muffins, squares and brownies, and cookies!  We make fresh baked goodie baskets and goodie trays as well!

We have also accumulated some new staff! And with that, I have found our perfect little family! Samantha (Sam) is our new baker…..I love Sam! She is so cute and lovable, its hard not to just hug her everyday! And, she is qualified! Which is the most important! Also, I pride myself in teaching kids who take co-op at my establishment! I just hired one of my students who is from the ALC. She amazed me! She always does what is expected of her, and out of her own drive and ambition, she took the food handlers course and achieved her certificate! 18 years old at that!  I am hoping now that there will not be alot of turnaround in the staffing area for a while! I know, in this business its really hard to not get the revolving door happening, but enough already! I have my little dream team, and I want to keep it that way

As for Christmas at the little bakery! I love, love, love Christmas! I try to keep the joy going! I have a staff Christmas party every year at my home, with my family and my staff and their family! I give gifts and make dinner! It ends up being a lot of fun! And, some end up having a little too much liquid fun! But all are ensured to get home safely! I usually set up about 3 Christmas trees in my home…..which is alot, I know, especially for the little home that I do have! But, alas, there is no stopping me! ha! ha!

 

Sometimes Mr. Bah Humbug shows up in the form of anxiety and stress….which is usually over money! That is no fun at all! When I start thinking like this, I get really tired and grumpy, and nobody wants a grumpy cupcake lady! So, I look at my family and give thanks for having them in my life, and for helping me through everything just by saying “mommy”, or wanting a hug or a kiss, or depending on me to kiss their boo-boo! It makes it all worth it, it helps me be strong, even when I feel that I can’t anymore. And believe me, there are days!

Every year the business gets a little better, every year, I know more…its all a learning process!

This Christmas, I am out more, I am networking now, and involving myself in community functions! I joined a woman’s networking group, which is awesome, alot of the ladies are sooooo fabulous! And I did a christmas gift show last weekend. I will be at Sarnia’s winter artwalk as well! It will be fun! I hope to get the word out about my little piece of Sarnia small business!

Cheers! To good health, wonderful family, and great friends!