This is part of a series of interviews on our Professional Parents Network People profile page so you can learn from other’s experiences of how they balance family and work. Would you like to share your story? Please Contact us
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Introducing Laila Borrie from Under the Peacock Tree who is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands though originally from India and her partner is from the UK. They have lived in The Netherlands for around 8 years. Her daughter, Inara, is 5, same age as my eldest – we met via Delft Mama (an organisation for international mothers) when we were pregnant with our daughters.
I’ve really enjoyed seeing Laila’s gorgeous bright artwork grace my screen in Facebook and pleased to be able to share a little about her life balancing her work with her family.
Tell us a little about how you got started?
I started this company in January of this year. I have been making art since I was a teenager, first digital and then I moved on to painting and drawing. A few years ago I started making hand painted birthday and greeting cards for special occasions and received a lot of compliments about them. Then a friend of mine commissioned a pair of paintings for her daughter’s room last last year and I decided to take that further and sell my art to decorate and brighten up people’s houses.
I’d describe myself and my business as…
…a mixed media artist selling original art pieces, prints, hand painted wooden letters, boxes and and other assorted things of a whimsical nature
What’s the story behind your business name?
Well I wanted a whimsical name and I love colours and the emotional responses they evoke. So something with my favourite shades – blues, purples, greens. Well the colours in a peacock’s tail. Its also India’s national bird. Under the peacock tree sounded whimsical and magical and I imagine it with branches full of peacock feathers and flowers in those colours. I should probably make a painting of that!
What was your life like before you became a parent?
Life before children for me was full of spontaneity and freedom. I worked as a freelance graphic designer so I could work at my own schedule. My partner and I did a lot of traveling and just taking life as it comes with very little planing or thought about the future.
How does this compare to life now?
The biggest change was the lack of spontaneity and freedom. With kids everything must be structured and planned otherwise its easy for things to quickly disintegrate to chaos. This has actually been very good for me because structure and organizing was never something I paid much attention to before I had my daughter.
How many hours a week do you work?
3 days or 24 hours a week
Your favourite products or services that you offer?
Any professional qualifications or training you’d like to mention?
Masters in Communications with a focus on new media, PR and Journalism
Something unexpected about becoming a parent?
Putting somebody else’s needs before my own.
Something unexpected about starting a business?
Never finding the time to get what I want done each day
What kind of work does your partner do?
He works in a field called serious games that includes virtual reality and simulation projects
Is your partner supportive of your business?
Yes otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do it.
Describe your office….
My dinning table at the moment although it will change once we move to a bigger house!
What is a typical day like…
Typical day starts at 7 and involves getting my daughter along with all things needed like lunch and snack etc ready for school. My partner drops her off and then I work from till about 10.30 online updating social media websites, answering emails and doing marketing and promotion work. After this I usually paint till about 2 pm with a break in between for lunch. If its my daughters day at BSO (after school care where she goes twice a week) I will usually continue working on my art, if not I will collect my daughter from school and once at home we will have a snack and talk about her day at school. Then I take her to one of her extra curricular classes Once home I get dinner going and my partner who will be home by about this time does the bath and then we all sit down to eat. After this she has a little quite time playing with her toys or with a game on the ipad and then its time for her bedtime ritual which is a little chat about the day and a song. By this time its about 8:00 pm and so my partner and I can have a little bit of a evening together!
Your tips for family work balance?
Make a schedule and stick to it. Work time is work time. Don’t try to work and get on with household chores and arrange a play date all at the same time.