I'm so pleased to introduce you all to Olga of Sofi Baby Shop! She is a fellow (super talented!) maker and creates the most beautiful baby knits. You are going to love a peek into how she manages her busy family, professional life and running a business so gracefully. Hearing how she manages her days, connects with her kids and makes time for herself and with her husband has definitely inspired me. I hope you will find inspiration too for finding more joy in your everyday moments. Here's Olga!
Hello, my name is Olga. I live and work in a beautiful small town in the North of Italy. I am a mommy of 3 (a girl of 9 and twin boys of 7 years old), minimalist, knit and crochet designer.
Becoming a mother revealed my biggest passion - create for the little ones. My first baby blankets were made for my daughter Sofia and I never stopped knitting and crocheting ever since. I make contemporary blankets, hats and nursery decor for modern families from premium quality natural fibers. My creative journey started on Etsy in 2013 and from may 2018 my products finally got their own home – www.sofibabyshop.com. Besides having a baby shop I also do translations for the elite online fashion boutique in Florence as a part-time job,
Many people think that working at home means that you are able to spend more time with your children, but it is not true! Having your own business means that you have to work more hours than you would in the office. Plus you have to take care of the house, follow up the school and do many many other things moms do every day. Before coming to Italy I used to work as an office manager and a customer service manager of a 5 stars hotel, but at the end I had to take a time management course to be able to do the “family management” without losing my mind. It took me 2 years of trials and errors to establish my daily routine that would balance it all – my work, housekeeping, having fun with and educating my children, having “me” time and time for my hobbies, and last but not less important - having life as a couple with my husband.
My day starts at 6 -7 am. At summer I go for 2 hours walk and work out on the beach while my family is still sleeping. During the rest of the year - I prepare breakfast, help kids to get ready and we take off to school. Then I go for a walk with my mommy friends followed by little work out at home. Shower, coffee and I am ready to work. This is my favorite time of the day when I “charge” myself for a long, full day.
Getting exercise in the morning helps to wake up, gives so many positive emotions and is a great way to kick-off the day and get ready for anything you have to handle that day. I work until lunchtime, then prepare and have lunch with my husband. It is very important for a couple's life to have time on your own, even just an hour a day makes a great difference! I work until 4 pm, then go to pick up my kids at school. I do not do it every day - luckily our grandparents are young, living nearby and are VERY helpful. Usually, I go just to talk to the teachers (3 kids = 3 classes), following up with school events and activities with other parents, do pediatrician visits when necessary etc. Other days, grandparents pick up the kids to have a snack in their house, go to sports or play together until 6 pm.
When children come back home I do the dinner and they help me. Each has a home task to do – one is a chef and helps to cook, then a “waiter” comes in - sets the table and helps me to serve the dishes. And we also have a housekeeper who helps me to keep our house tidy. This helps me to teach my kids to be more autonomous, respect work of others, and gives a great opportunity to spend a bit of time individually with each of my children. We all have busy lives and I realized that doing simple homework together helps to create strong boundaries and those little moments that make our life complete. During the dinner, we speak about how the day went for everyone and after dinner, we have an hour of showering&co and fun time – watching a cartoon altogether or reading a story (each day one child picks the story for reading).
After kids go to bed at 9 p.m., I work one or two hours more, and then watch a movie with my husband till midnight
Having a crazy busy timetable makes it hard to find time to squeeze all you want inside a day. My secret? Besides having my daily routine I divided my weekdays into batches :)
On Sunday I plan my “family” week- do weekly meal plan and do grocery shopping for almost all week, go through “family” appointments and events we have the upcoming week and adjust my working schedule accordingly. On Sundays I also do ironing and prepare clothes for everyone for the whole upcoming week. Monday – is admin day for my work: I plan and schedule the business tasks for all the days of the week, Friday is our favorite day of the week as after school my kids go to have PJ party at their grandparents house, and me and my husband go out on a date or go out with our friends. Saturday – is a family fun day! Saturday morning we go to the park, do some shopping or short getaways. In the afternoon we do school homework for Monday. And in the evening we cook a dinner together – it is our pizza night!
The boys work with dough to form rounds, me and Sofia do the toppings, my husband sets the table and does the drinks for us and for kids. Usually, we make 6-8 small pizzas with different toppings each, bake first 2 and then cook the rest while we are at the table. Pizza is tastier when it's just out of the oven :)
Besides pizza nights, our favorite family activities are the cinema or Luna Park, camping on Adriatic sea during the 3 summer months with grandparents (I am going back and forth: 1 week sea, 1 week- back home to work), going to Cote d'Azur (France) for New Years every year. These are just few to name. My personal favorite is visiting the Sea Turtles Hospital located in 15 min walk from the beach we stay at during summer. Each kid picks up a “turtle friend” for the season and when the turtle gets well, we participate in its release back into the sea. Besides being able to see these incredible animals so closely every day, it gives me the opportunity to teach my children to be more responsible and better humans - explain the importance to live in harmony with the nature that surrounds us, respect it and that even small things like recycling and not leaving rubbish around can make a big difference. The volunteers of the Hospital made a sea turtle sculpture out of the plastic bottles and fishing nets found in the sea to remind that these are the main causes why these beautiful animals end up in the hospital.
Releasing a turtle in the sea is just an unforgettable and amazing experience! There are no words to describe how the children's eyes are shining when they carry together with volunteers (sometimes there are 10- 20 kids) the turtle in a big piece of fabric from the hospital straight to the beach, then into the water, and see the turtle swim away. I always cry (just can't help it :) ) We do this every year since my boys turned 2 and I am so happy that I and my kids can have this experience together!
Every family has different rhythm and lifestyle, we all live in different places and face different reality every day, but I believe that the quote “Mama is happy – everyone is happy” is true for every family. Mama is the person who glues it all together even when she feels like she's falling apart. It took me a while to realize how true this is! When you feel serene and happy inside, it illuminates the life of all the family and gives the sense of security to the children. So taking care of your health, having “me” time and just enjoying life is VERY important! You can start with something small... After twins were born the only “me” time I could afford for months was just 2 minutes on my own while taking coffee in the morning. It was only two minutes... but I could relax, gain strength to hit off the day and feel at least for a while that I have everything under control. This helped me to find my serenity. As you see, it can be something so small to turn things around :)
My creative work gave me an opportunity to meet extraordinary people from all over the world. On Instagram I started to get messages from moms from all the parts of the world and I realized how similar we are and how much we can learn from each other! It gave me an idea to start a blog – a place where we can talk to each other about parenting and daily finds, ask and answer questions, be inspired, meet new people and support each other. That's how Behind my Stitches was born. There I talk about simple daily life as a mom, inspirations, and parenting, sharing saving time tips and mommy hacks, ask questions, experimenting in the kitchen, hosting guests and much more.
Feel free to visit me and say hi on Instagram (@sofibabyshop, @olga_zhudro) or on my blog. I would love to meet you!