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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Children Changing Careers p:17 - Kate from Grace and Bloom

grace and bloom

Welcome to part 17 of the blog series 'Children Changing Careers' - A series for parents who have pulled off a career change after having children.

This week's post features Kate from Grace and Bloom, who previously worked as a Head Nurse at a specialist equine centre.

Here is her career changing story...

Tell me about your life, background and career before children? 

I was Head nurse at a specialist equine centre giving veterinary care to Horse and donkeys! I had a degree in equine nursing and managed a team of five nurses. My job involved a lot of responsibility from everyday nursing tasks, assisting in surgeries, assisting vets on calls out on the road and then many other tasks including, cleaning, office/ reception work, doing insurance paper, customer accounts and answering calls on the phone. Each day would vary massively dependant on the number of patients we had staying in at the hospital, how many emergencies occurred, and then how many normal day to day appointments came in. On a busy day I would be nursing all day long, although we could have quiet days where I did lots of drug ordering, stock control and office work. The job included a large amount on call duties including every other night and every other weekend.

Did you return to your job/position after your maternity? 

After having Harry I returned to three days a week but still doing on call and weekend work also, when I became pregnant with Grace I decided it had become too much and had to leave. My partner John works long hours and it was getting more difficult to ensure he would be home in case I would be called out at any time and have to dash off immediately. It was quite a hard job to be doing in general and through a second pregnancy with continuous morning sickness, I decided it was time to call it a day.
I began working with my partner doing all the accounting and invoicing side of the business.

Grace and Bloom family picture

Tell me about your new career now:  

When Grace was 6 months old she beat bacterial meningitis, this unfortunately left her with a lowered immune system, which made her more prone to getting every cold out there which developed into bronchiolitis. When she was ten months old she began to get a cold and so I took her to the doctors that day, on arriving Grace went into respiratory arrest an very nearly died. I was told if I had been five minutes later the worst would have happened in the car. She was ambulanced to our local hospital but continued to deteriorate, so the decision was made to bring in a specialist team to transport her to a children’s critical care hospital. At this point they had to put her in an induced coma on full life support. We were told to expect the worse and bring relatives in to see her as they did not expect her to be coming home. To our amazement after a period of time on life support and blood transfusions she started to fight and slowly grew strong enough to come off the life support. At this point the doctors prepared us that they expected her to have obtained a level of brain damage that they were not sure of the extent of as yet.

At this point I knew our lives needed to change, I needed to be at home to support and care for Grace. She began meeting milestones the doctors did not expect and improving every day, so I had to make the decision to return to an employer or set up my own business. Due to Grace's health she is currently too weak to attend nurseries and a full time nanny we would not be able to afford. By setting up Grace and Bloom I can work from home whilst caring for Grace so it works really well for us as a family.

Talk me through an average day for you now? How much has your life changed?

My life has changed massively. I get up in the morning and get Harry ready for nursery, and John takes him on his way to work. After waving harry off I sort out Grace with her inhalers, breakfast and getting her dressed.
First of all I check the computer for new orders and sort those. Then check emails and respond to as many as I can with Grace running around me! As the Blooms boxes are a monthly subscription and only go out once a month at present my days can be pretty flexible and will change depending on where we are in the month. The week before posting date, I can be found mostly making up the custom postage boxes and preparing the packaging, so that on delivery day the flowers are posted immediately so are super fresh for our subscribers. The first week after delivery day there is a lot of admin, repeat orders and trying to keep up to date with social media!

grace and bloom flowers

What is the best and worst thing about your new career?

I’m my own boss so can work around the times that work best for us a family. As neither of the children are at school age yet we can go out on special days out in the week when places are less busy and I can work a weekend day.
If you’re having a bad day or sick there is no one else to step up and lighten the load, or do your work for you!

Is there anything you miss about your previous career/life before children?

It seems a whole lifetime ago, but my passions have changed so much in that time. I suppose I miss the teamwork and social side of working in a larger business. There were days when we laughed all day long, sometimes when working on your own its not quite the 

grace and bloom family portrait

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to do what you have done?

Just GO for it!! If your heart is in it, and you are ready for some hard work you can achieve it! For me it really helps that I have the support of my partner John to help give me confidence I need if I ever have a little wobble also, so supporting friends and family is always handy too!

grace and bloom logo

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