I often get the question..."how do you run your business and be with your kids too?" and I thought this was a perfect time to answer that question as it's back to school time! I think that there is always good and bad to every situation, and Karim and I both have our own businesses and therefore have a fairly flexible schedule. We both do our best to spend as much time with the kids as we can, but I found that when we tried to work and play it's really not fair to the kids because it's not really quality time. I remember the first time that I realized it, I was carving pumpkins outside with Sander and suddenly it came to my attention that I was giving him my full attention for the first time in a long time, previously I had always been trying to work and play and never really giving him my full attention (I usually got frustrated and couldn't play well and I'm certain it was no fun for him). It was a little like a slap in the face...and I knew we had to work this out because it was so much more fun to really be present when I was playing with him! This is just about when we decided to move the store from our guest house into town and open the main street store (but that's another story).

My husband is an artist, and his studio is on our property but in a separate building, which helps. I, on the other hand, go into town to my shop. We split up our time so that six days a week we switch off getting up in the morning with the kids (we are both not morning people), getting them ready for school and then it's off to work for both of us, then at 3:00 the person who got to sleep in is on duty, we always have dinner together at the table but the night person has shower, brush teeth and bedtime duty as well. And then we switch off for the next day. This is perfect as each of us has time for with the kids alone to play and go to the beach or whatever and then the next day I get to concentrate on work. We both go to the schools so that we know what's going on there for each of them. The schedule is pretty clear-cut and you always know what you are doing and we can both schedule our working time. Sunday is always a family day and whatever we do it's always together! It's pretty simple but works really well, no resentment, no guilt and we can both get our work done.

I think that even if one person is going off to work it's nice to give them that scheduled time to be with the kids in a daily way, brushing teeth, making breakfast, etc. and how nice, even if one parent is the designated 'at home' person, to respect each others time and just give each other that time alone. I am convinced it makes me a better parent because when I am with my kids I am totally there and not trying to get to my computer to answer emails.