Meet Clare - Our First Guest Blogger

Clare Tully is mum to Jack (1) and two furry rascals, Atticus and Scout. She owns Jackanory  an online children's  boutique (and Moobles & Toobles stockist), and blogs at The Tully Tales  She opens her first Jackanory shop this summer in Navan. Her hobbies include picking up toys, chasing her toddler and drinking wine.
The Great Juggle - Starting a Business as a Stay-at-Home Mum

Last October, I packed in what was my dream job to stay at home with my son, Jack.  At the time, he was 7 months old, and I pined for him every day when I was at work. I felt that he needed to be with his mother, and to be honest, I just really needed to be with him too. Quitting my job was daunting, but It was absolutely the right decision. He is now 15 months old, and is a wild, hilarious little boy. Staying at home with him has been an amazing experience. I've been there for every milestone and every tantrum, every bout of illness and every scraped knee. My little boy is the best company I've ever kept, and he is my best pal.  
On June 1st, our little bubble will burst as I launch my own business. Over the last couple of months, I've had an idea that has grown into an exciting start-up. I am launching an online children's boutique called Jackanory  I've struggled to find the clothes and baby gear that I wanted for Jack locally, opting instead to shop online. Jackanory brings small independent brands, and some larger international brands, together. We support small businesses, Irish creatives, and women-owned businesses. We're a boutique for a mum, by a mum, and stock brands that we would and do use for our own family. A brick & mortar shop will open in Navan, Co. Meath, later this summer. It's been a stressful, busy few months navigating the world of small business. It's been even more stressful and busy as I've been juggling a start up while still wanting to be as present as possible for my son. 
Any working mum will tell you, there is no easy balance. The guilt is always there. I've been so, so lucky to be propped up by those willing to help and support me. My husband is my greatest cheerleader, and doesn't grumble when I'm glued to the laptop at night. My parents, and my sister, are always there to help out with Jack, or offer advice. There have been a lot of nap-time work calls with suppliers, and lots of late nights cranking away at the laptop. Three weeks ago, Jack started going to a wonderful childminder part-time. I couldn't pursue my goals, or follow my dreams, without this army of support. There is guilt, and I worry that Jack will feel the loss of his mammy being by his side constantly. I am trying so hard to be present for him when I am with him - phone down, laptop shut. I got some excellent advice once that when I feel torn, to do what I want to do, versus what I think I need to do. I remind myself of this when he tugs on my arm when I'm washing the dishes. I drop those dishes in the sink, and go sit on the floor with him, or take him outside. When the guilt strikes, I remind myself that I'm pursuing a dream, and hopefully setting an example to my son. It's a great struggle, and a great juggle - But hopefully it'll all be worth it. 

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