Free time, downtime, ‘me’ time – call it what you like, we all need it! However being the passionate professional and busy business owner that I am, I do struggle to get enough rest, step away from the devices and generally enjoy some peace and quiet on a regular basis.
In between seeing patients in my busy digestive health clinic and of course dealing with all the ‘ins and outs’ of my Just For Tummies business, and answering questions on the Facebook group, Tummy Talk, there’s rarely a moment when no one needs anything from me, nothing is due, or there’s no expectation for me to be available to answer questions or discuss business plans.
When I do manage to carve out a small window of time to take a break from it all, I make ‘family time’ a priority. With an ever-growing lists of things to accomplish not only in my professional life, but also in and around the home, it’s easy to let time with my family slip. I grew up with many happy family memories and I want to continue the legacy. As a child, one thing that was sacrosanct in my family was that we all ate together at the dinner table. No trays on laps in front of the TV! We didn’t eat gourmet meals every evening, but my mum made sure we all ate nutritious home-cooked food, and the many small moments that we shared around that table formed the cornerstone of the strong family bond that we still have today.
Many of you will know that Just For Tummies is very much a family business. My husband, Kevin is in charge of business operations, my son, Colin is the go-to man for all things IT, and his wife, Angelika has been a godsend in answering my often last-minute requests for a photo montage to accompany a blog piece or a product update.
So we do see quite a lot of each other – in a business capacity. Because of this, it’s easy to fall into that trap of thinking ‘we see each other all the time, we can do it another time’, but once you fall out of a routine, it’s much harder to schedule it back in, so however hard it seems, we make a concerted effort to do something fun, something non-work-related, as a family on a regular basis. We all like fishing and when the weather is good, we like nothing better than heading out to a lake, not a million miles from home, to do a spot of fishing together.
For the recent celebrations of the Queen’s 90th Birthday, we all headed out to the local street party. Most of the neighbours contributed in some way. We supplied the cakes, a couple of raffle prizes, and Kevin was the ‘DJ Funkmaster’ responsible for the music. We all chipped in and hired a bouncy castle for the children and trimmed the street with flags, bunting and balloons. It was a great to get together with the neighbours, old and new, and many whom we just normally say ‘hi’ to in passing. We sat at tables laden with food, drinking, laughing and putting the world to rights. It was really rather moving when we all sang ‘God Save The Queen’ – adults and children too. It kind of brought us all together. However, for a bit of diversity, we then sang to the Sex Pistols’ version of ‘God Save the Queen’. I’m sure Her Majesty wouldn’t have minded!
The coming weeks and months promise to be as busy as ever, if not the busiest they’ve ever been, so we have made sure that there are a few things to look forward to. We’ll all be gathering with my dad for Father’s Day; we’re also off to the local Summer Fayre, which is always a great chance to catch up with the community. We also have tickets for Rod Stewart and the Splendour festival at Wollaton Hall; we even have a week off coming up soon, so Kevin and I can go away for a few days. I need to catch up on some reading, and episodes of ‘Outlander’ and ‘The Americans’. It would also be lovely to get my hair done, have a facial, have a manicure, or just go to a café with Kevin for a coffee – where we can be Kevin and Linda, not Mr. & Mrs. Tummies.
My family, and a few very close friends and associates are the people I depend on – the people who know me better than anyone else. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses; we appreciate each other’s differences and we are all there to support one other through the good times and the bad. As with most families, it’s not all plain sailing – we have our disagreements – but spending time as a family is a wise investment although invariably we end up talking about business. We just can’t help it! However, when we take time to ‘spread our wings’ a bit, we go back to the business with more energy, and better equipped to take on the ‘go, go, go’ lifestyle all over again.