Welcome to the latest installment of our series Mum vs Life. Each week we’ll feature a prominent Aussie mum and take you through her day. Everyone from working mums to stay-at-home mums will relate.
This week we talk to Jenny King, crochet designer, author and mother of two. Jenny explains how she turned her hobby into a thriving business and managed to do it while raising two demanding daughters.
MY TYPICAL DAY: "I work from home..."
Get Up, go to the kettle and put on the computer on the way to the kettle. Then I’m on the computer first up to see what is happening in crochet world. What deadline is what, who from USA has contacted me while I was asleep. That determines the day now that the children have all left home unless I am teaching or pattern writing. I spend the beginning of the week growing designs: designing, swatching, drawing schematics& planning designs and then by Wednesday I’m writing patterns. All this happens at home. Thursday teaching, Friday at the shop.
I work each day until dinner time, get tea and then crochet all evening until 11 pm usually
BEING A WORKING MUM: "I always downed tools to take the kids to their activities..."
When the children were home this would still happen but the time after school and before dinner was for driving them to wherever they need to be, a mad dash across country with 3 kids in lots of directions. We always sat down to dinner at the table.And TV was never on at that time. This kept us connected.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A WORKING MUM: "I run out of time..."
There is never enough time in a day to do all the things I want to do. too many things I want to do and not enough time.
FAVOURITE TIME OF THE DAY: "I love night time when the kids are asleep..."
Late, late at night when everyone else is asleep and I get to mull over things of the day, and look at the crochet work I have done that night to assess the design, stitch or colour.
THE LAST TIME YOU LOST YOUR COOL WITH THE KIDS: "The first few days of school holidays was always hard..."
In the first few days of every school holidays. Then we would have a family meeting and rules would be made, plans sorted and expectations set. Then the next holidays it would be the same. I’d go crazy then the meeting and then settle into a routine all over again.
My children are in their twenties and at twenty something you are bulletproof. My challenge is to support them, and love them and not to let them know that I am worrying so they have that freedom and luxury of being bulletproof while they can.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO SPEND ENOUGH TIME WITH YOUR KIDS: "The housework doesn't get done..."
I don’t. The housework doesn’t get done. When they were at home they were fed well, they had clean clothes and all the attention I could give, and we would enjoy each other’s company that way. If I had a deadline I would get up earlier to knock over the computer work.
All the kids had their own laundry baskets, and ironed their own clothes as soon as they were teens. And they all could cook a meal. So work was shared.
GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER BECOMING A MUM: "We decided that I would mostly be a stay-at-home mum..."
We decided that I was to be a stay at home mum, So I had the luxury of being with my children. I did some part time work but I was the Mum on school activities, craft groups, sports trips. But I also baked for school lunches and sewed their clothes, and mine because we were living on only one wage.. Not easy but it was our choice. For example I bought furniture at garage sales, the kids and I laid all the pavers at one house, and built a deck at another.
HOW DO YOU MAKE WEEKENDS SPECIAL: "We always had sport on Saturdays...
When the kids were little we had sport on Saturdays. Sometimes 3 sporting activities in different places and all over the countryside. BUT Sunday morning there was always a group hug and chat in Mum and Dad’s bed, or on the bedroom floor wrestling the dog when they felt more comfortable. Sundays were always a catch up day.
ADVICE TO OTHER MUMS: "It all goes too fast. Savour it..."
That it all goes too fast. Savour it. Savour the peace at the end of a day knowing they are all safely tucked up in bed, too soon they are out of the house in the evenings, and in cars, and then in other countries and it all goes by in such a flash. Bath time and getting dinner was such a busy time but now I miss it.
Jenny King is Australia’s leading crochet designer, and has published more than 17 international books.
After learning to crochet a bun cover at the age of 8 and her first bikini by age 12, Jenny was crocheting bikinis commercially by age 15.
With over 30 years teaching experience in crocheting, Jenny’s obsession and passion for crocheting became a profession. She teaches Master Crochet classes for Crochet Guild of America conferences as well as across Australia.
Jenny and her business partner Leah run online store Jenny King Designs and their aim is to encourage and inspire the creative spirit in each and every customer.
Jenny has had designs published in major magazines in the U.K., United States and Australia including Vogue Knitting’s annual Crochet issue in 2012 and 2013.
Her new books include Fashions to Flaunt Crocheted with Noro Yarns and Barvarian Crochet On To Go, both published by International craft powerhouse, Annie’s.
Keep reading our Mum vs Life series here: