My business partner and I have been working together for two years, but separately, in separate kitchens. We have recently merged and have a licensed kitchen in her basement. Problem: five, yes, 5 kids between us. We can't get any work done. Kitchen is still new, kids are excited, then they want to get into fridge all day, then end up fighting. Hers are ages 4,5 and 10. Mine are ages 2 and 9. Big gaps there. Spend day picking up messes, yelling for kids to take shoes off, etc. Older girls are great and even like to help. The 4,5 and 2 year olds are going to be the death of our business!!!
My 2 year old goes to daycare 2-3 days per week and hers stay at home and have never been in any type of daycare and would not acclamate well at this stage of their lives. Everyone is adjusting to new routine and it is not going smoothly. We are considering hiring a "sitter" to come to the house 1-2 days per week to watch all kids.
Any and all comments, suggestions and ideas are so very welcome!
We love what we do, which is custom-order, larger, fondant, 3-d and detailed cakes, and do not want to give up our dream, but our dream is quickly becoming a nightmare!!!
Please help us keep it together!
it's worth the investment and peace of mind you ca check on them any time!
You poor thing.......
But now why are you procrastinating? For your own piece of mind, do yourselves a favor and get the help. I would even suggest away from the kitchen. It will be hard enough on the kids to try to adapt when they will know mommy is close by.
Are you doing enough business so that your profit won't be ate up by the expense of daycare/babysitting?
Get a sitter...a college student who's out for the summer, or even a pair of high school students (because there are so many kids to keep track of). You can probably find a sitter pretty easily on Craigslist, or advertise looking for one there. A mom with one kid who could bring her child with her might be a good solution, if you wanted someone who wasn't too expensive and had experience with their own child.
You could have the sitter watch the kids at your home, while you and the other mom work in the kitchen at her home...the older kids will be able to keep an eye out and make sure nothing odd is happening with the sitter.
If you can afford it, go with the sitter. I don't like to be one of "those" people, but your kids aren't supposed to be in the kitchen anyway while any baking is going on. Chances are they will become quite bored with the whole process before long. Maybe when school starts up again things will run more smoothly. Consider putting them in a Mother's Day Out program through a church nearby. There are plenty of those in TN!!
I have a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old. I am looking at hiring a Mothers Helper (aka high schooler) to watch the kids and keep them entertained. Get them juice and snacks....change diapers. All while I'm in the next room. I can get work done and she can make a little extra money on the side.
All great advice. I think we can swing the sitter in-house for a few days per week. That may be our best option. As for the nanny.... financially, we're just not there yet.
Thank you all for the wonderful opinions and please, any other words of wisdom, are more than welcome. We need input from anyone who has survived!!
I have 5 children - very close in age, and when they were younger, I didn't have the problems you are having.
Obviously, since the children aren't cooperating, the first option would be to hire a sitter. The second option is putting up a baby gate to keep them out of the basement (I'm assuming it has an entrance inside, not outside) and provide some activities for them to do upstairs (movie and popcorn, let them ice and decorate cookies or cupcakes, coloring books/crayons, etc.) I recommend starting them out on a routine when you don't actually have work to do. Just set them up with an activity and leave the room - but stay close by to monitor the situation and see how they behave. It might take a few of these "training sessions" to keep the kids out of your hair - but it's necessary for your business, and for their safety as well - 5 kids running around a kitchen? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
The children will only be as cooperative as you train them to be Ever watch those super nanny shows?
I really appreciate everyone who took the time to help me with my dilema. I am taking notes and ready to give the the "old college try."
Keep your fingers crossed and the ideas coming!
I'm just glad I survived and now my kids are grown up, for the most part. But what part of TN are you in? I'm in West TN.
Bless your heart, i remember those days...it's tough.
The only choice you have is to hire a sitter.
And I think since you are working at her place, I'd have the sitter and the kids at your place, or you still won't be able to get anything done, it's just the price of doing business.....not really much of an overhead really, compared to others you would have if you had to rent a storefront.
Got any rope?
or duct tape?
Sitter seems like the way to go. I only have one and I can't get anything done while he's home, can't imagine 5 running around!
pay the 9 & 10 year olds to watch the other three.
also good training for them later on.
Got any rope?
LOL!!! You crack me up! Almost spit coffee all over my keyboard.
I like the paying the older siblings idea. that way they are close in the house so you can help if you need to, and also they are less ecpensive than a regular sitter.
Perhaps you could hire a regular sitter 2 days and pay the older ones 2 other days. That way you have 4 clear days at about the same price.
Also I had a mothers helper, but she was 12-13. Not really old enough to be left alone with the little ones, bit old enough to be responsible. She also was less than a regular sitter.
I have tried this summer to get up early (bummer) and do the work before the kids a really roused and ready. So by 10 when they are "Soooo Booored" I can tell them 1 hour til lunch, the 12 we can go to the pool if you LEAVE ME ALONE! Of course I hae 2 and they are 9 & 7.
Best wished to ya....summer will be over soon....
I really can't believe the response and support from all of you. Thank you so very much!!!
Actually, we have tried using the older ones, but that isn't working out very well either. The two middle ones just don't want to listen to their older sister telling them what to do. So......
We have set up an area for them to play games, work puzzles, etc, and they have full reign of a wonderful outside play area. But I think the "newness" still has to wear off of the bakery and then there are only a few more weeks of summer vacation here and all three of the older ones will be in school and we'll just left w/ the little guys ages 4 and 2 1/2.
They are the easy ones!!!!
We live in upper East Tennessee, near the Virgina and North Carolina borders. Pretty rural area.
Just for the record, we tried rope, duct tape, royal icing and industrial strength plastic film wrap. NOTHING WORKS!!! Slippery little suckers, aren't they???
Thanks again and please, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, oh and if you have any extra prozac, please send it Fed Ex!!!!!!
Could you have your nine year old take care of her 4 & 5yr old and her 10 yr old take care of your 2yr old? Give them activities to do at different times so they aren't all together at the same time.
Trust me the newness wears off! My 15 year old cries how she can't get fired. "Working for mom S*CKS!" she says!
Way back when, when I first started out of my home, my son was 2. I'd lay a dining room chair across the door opening from the dining room to the kitchen. He'd stand, lifting his little leg, trying to climb over the chair, crying 'coz he wanted in the kitchen. Tuff. Mommy was working and he could go play.
Today, and being an off-site caterer, the work is hard, hot, and exhausting. NONE of my kids are really interested in working for mom.
As my youngest told my son, when he returned from the Marines, and when I offered to let him help me on events for extra money until he found a job, she told him, "John .... you may know what it's like to be a Marine ... but you've got NO IDEA what it's like to work for mom!" So this former 2 year old little boy who tried desparately to get into my kitchen, and now as a former Marine, he's just not interested in working that hard!
pay the 9 & 10 year olds to watch the other three.
also good training for them later on.
I agree with this... My 11 year old is almost certified in child care
Paying them will help you... lay the law down that the meaning of childcare is to keep the younger ones busy and out of your hair
I'm the odd man out on this. 9 & 10 is too young to seriously babysit kids that little on an ongoing basis. Once in a blue moon for an hour maybe. I mean even if they were all 10--five ten year old's watching each other or something? I don't think so. Five children need some good supervision while Mom's are busy churning out the cakes.
The whole point is to not have to lay down the law. If you lay down the law you gotta be ready to back that up so you're right back in the bowl of kid soup there and now your best help is in trouble. Yeah no the dynamic is all wrong I think.
Hire somebody is my advice.
And what part of Tennessee are you all in?
edited to say: oh oh oh oops you said upper East 10 --gotcha!
edited one more time to say: try piping gel!!!
I have to say that I agree with you. I think an older, more mature sitter will be our best bet. In fact, spoke with my sitter for my 2 year old and she is more than willing to take my 9 year old a day or two a week for the summer months. She keeps several teacher's kids and could use the extra money, and after dealing w/ this crisis, I could use the extra help!!
I want my 9 year old to enjoy her summer too, even if it is half over here. They only get a 10 week break for vacation.
Thanks again to all!!!!! Love to get your advice and will keep listening.
If the sitter doesn't work out maybe you could split the work so that one of you has the kids and the other is working?
I don't think a 9 and 10 year old are mature enough to handle that kind of work! Heck...I don't think I was mature enough and I was 25 when I had my first child!
Hire someone to watch the kids. Yes it is a huge sacrifice.
Also, could you do some of the work at night when kiddos are in bed?
I have done a ton of arts and crafts for shows and it was ALWAYS after my little darlings were out. I am still that way. I do most of my decorating at night because as old as my kids are they are still underfoot, dragging friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, a DIL and grandchild, etc.
Most of my gum paste work is done late at night. It is the only time I get peace and quiet.