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Parenting

25th Aug 2015

How I make it work: Kate Flynn, co-owner of Small & Me and secondary school art teacher

Sophie White

Kate Flynn is the co-owner of Small & Me, a jewellery brand tailor-made for mums – the stylish pieces are safe for babies to chew on and are great for teething tikes. Kate is also a secondary school art teacher. She is mum to baby Patrick (10 months) and lives in Dublin with her husband, Nick. 

What time do you wake up every morning?

Our son wakes us up every morning at 7 am. We all get up then; I change Patrick and Nick gets ready for work.

What’s breakfast time like in your house?

Nick works on the other side of the city (we live in Ranelagh, and he works in Santry), so he likes to leave early so he can avoid the traffic. He makes us a smoothie in the Nutribullet and then heads off to work. He is normally gone by 7.25. Patrick and I have breakfast together. I often make a pot of porridge for both of us, when it has cooled I top it with some chopped up fruit.

How long do you spend on yourself in the morning?

Not that long as Patrick is now crawling, and he likes to explore, so about ten minutes! I have a quick shower and get dressed. At work, I normally wear a silk dress from Uniqlo and during the school holidays I’m in jeans and a smock top. As Patrick is teething I always wear one of our necklaces and a bangle, they are great for keeping him busy. I am always being asked where I got them by strangers which I get such a kick out of!

Tell us about your greatest weekly indulgence:

It is not weekly, but I like to have a massage whenever I get a chance.

Who makes dinner/does the bulk of the cooking in your house?

I do, I love cooking and find it is one of the times I truly relax. We recently started planning our weekly meals which has made cooking even more enjoyable. Over breakfast on Sunday morning we browse our cookbooks and plan what we are going to eat, then it’s down to Ranelagh to buy everything we need, this means there is no stress midweek thinking what to cook, and you can really enjoy the process. We have never eaten so well, and we have saved a lot of money as there is much less waste.

What time do you finish work? How do you spend your evening?

During term time, I finish at 4 pm. I come home and relieve my minder, and then I normally play with Patrick and answer some emails. Bedtime routine starts at 5.45 when I feed Patrick his dinner and give him a bath. Nick is normally home in time for feeding Patrick his last bottle and putting him to sleep. I go down and make our dinner while Nick is doing this, and we eat about 7 pm. Now that Patrick is sleeping through the night we have our evenings to ourselves, we watch box sets or read our books. A couple of nights a week one of us will exercise, Nick plays five-a-side football, and I head to a yoga class with a friend.

How do you manage ‘the Juggle’?

We have quite a unique living arrangement as we live with my parents in a Victorian house we divided up, with two separate living areas. My mum is disabled so we actually share childcare/carer. Michaela is wonderful, and none of us could do without her. It works well for us all living together as my parents help out if I need to stay late in work for a parent-teacher meeting so Michaela can go home. During the school holidays, Michaela helps my mum more and during term time she looks after Patrick.

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As it is the school holidays at the moment, I spend more time on Small & me, and my minder might look after Patrick for a couple of hours so I can give it my whole attention. We are developing a new product at the moment, so I am busy talking to manufacturers. As our business is based around parents I find that it fits very well with my life. I recently wrote a blog post about taking a baby away on a city break which was based on my own experience of taking our son to Paris. It is always going to be hard setting up a business and especially so with a new baby around but the fact that our brand is related to my life as a mum really makes it easier.

What’s your favourite thing to do as a family at the weekend?

If we are in Dublin our favourite thing to do is to have friends over for brunch; I make a mean Eggs Royale. When we had a baby we had to rethink how we socialised with friends as we just couldn’t go out at night as much as we used to, cooking for friends is really enjoyable, and everybody loves seeing Patrick.

What’s your favourite holiday destination, at home and abroad?

Our family has a cottage by the beach in Sligo. My husband is from Sligo, and we both love the outdoors so we love going there. We even took our honeymoon there (we got married last month!). We like to be outside; gardening, swimming and walking on the beach. I look forward to taking Patrick there regularly as I think it’s important for children to have some real freedom to explore and sometimes this can be hard in a city like Dublin.

What was the last book you read?

Donna Leon’s Suffer the Children. Leon’s books are my dream read when I’m looking to unwind, a complex murder, descriptions of delicious food and all set in the beautiful surrounds of Venice. Anyone who likes a good detective should check these out.

What advice would you give a new mum?

I truly believe that the biggest negative impact you can have on your child is you and your partners’ stress and anxiety levels. I make choices on what will make parenting easy for me and Nick. I make lots of homemade food for Patrick, but I also don’t worry about giving him good quality packets of baby food if we are out and about as it is so much easier. I try and be as calm and relaxed around our son as possible and don’t stress about the little things. We all want to be the perfect mum but if that means being very anxious and worried all the time your child is going to react to that. Give yourself a break and take the easy option!

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L-R:‘Mama liked the roses’ necklace, €35; ‘Dear mama’ bangle (top), €10; ‘Superwoman’ bangle (bottom), €18;  ;‘Treat your mother right’ necklace, €30.

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