Day in the Life of … Miriam Faulkner, TinyTalk baby signing teacher

Being a wife, Mum to Daisy (7) and Benjamin (2), cat owner (Toby, 12) and TinyTalk teacher certainly makes for a busy but interesting life! I encounter all sorts of people and get to experience all sorts of things, through both my work life and my children’s busy social lives. And, it is because of this, that no two days are the same.

However, there is one day of the week that, usually, follows the same routine and it is fondly known in our house as Ice Cream Tuesday! I love Ice Cream Tuesdays as they combine both a positive business day and a positive family day which, I think, is what many of us Mumpreneurs strive for.

Ice Cream Tuesdays start, as most days do, when my alarm goes off at 6.30. Ideally, I would jump out of bed and get the day started but the reality is that I have usually had yet another late night, so I make friends with the snooze button until about 7.00 when I am called into my son’s room via the baby monitor with a ‘Mummy, it’s morning time!’ or a ‘Mummy! WAKE UP!’ which is really sweet and makes me smile.

It is then non stop chaos as the family gets ready for school, childminder and work. My husband, Mark, leaves at about 8.00 and this is when the chaos usually steps up a notch as I fly around trying to remember book bags, packed lunches, load the car full of my TinyTalk equipment and get myself dressed. If we leave at 8.30, then that is excellent however that is a very big if!

I drive my daughter to school and, as we dash from the car to the classroom (or the office if we are really late), I am greeted by all the other parents who are generally heading home. I am considered the school time keeper – if you see Miriam’s little purple car go past you, you are very late! So it tickles me to see the panic in parents eyes, on the odd occasion when I am early (usually when my lovely Mum has come to stay), as they start running, dragging their children behind them screaming ‘It’s Miriam! We must be really late!’

With Daisy safely in school, Benjamin and I drive to the local church hall where I run my Tuesday morning TinyTalk baby signing class. This is where we meet Esther our amazing childminder. Not only is Esther a brilliant childminder (I think Benjamin is trying to get her to adopt him!) but she is also a fellow Mumpreneur! She has set up an excellent crèche facility in our town and also provides ‘pop up’ crèches for our local Children’s Centres and schools. I met Esther at the local Parent’s Forum and I count my lucky stars everyday that I did! Benjamin loves her which means that I can get on with my work knowing that he is happy, safe and about to have another fun filled day!

So, my work day begins. I unload the equipment from the car and get the class set up – foam mats in a square, covered by a bright orange throw and enclosed by chairs, display table and teas and coffee cups at the ready!

I love my TinyTalk classes! The baby classes (we do Toddlers as well, but I don’t run these at the moment) are for children from birth to about two years old. We also welcome older siblings (at no extra cost), which is lovely as they are able to really get involved in supporting their siblings signing and, I feel, it gives a boost to their confidence as well. 

We use lots of signs in the nursery rhymes and action songs that we sing in the first half of the class as well as focussing on a theme each week – family, food, bedtime etc – and then it is play/refreshment time. I love working with babies and toddlers. They are so open and honest which gives you a fantastic feeling when they respond to you with a huge smile or a gorgeous giggle! It is especially wonderful when they start to sign in class – last Ice Cream Tuesday, little M who has been coming for nearly a year, was signing hot and cold while we practiced our weather signs and little T who has been coming for about six months was signing water, it was brilliant!

Once that class is over, I have half an hour to pack up as quickly as I can, eating a sandwich as I go and then drive to my next venue where I deliver six week courses for our local Children’s Centre. To me, these classes represent the building of my business and, therefore, fill me with pride. It was a big step for me to approach the local Children’s Centre and, by them signing me up, it showed me that I was providing a really professional service that was valued in my community.

At two o’clock, the class finishes and then I have the third frenzied half hour of the day! I pack up all my equipment and drive to Esther’s to pick up Benjamin. A quick hand over when she fills me in on his day and then we are off to find a parking space at the school. And then…the best bit of my whole day! I pick up Daisy and we walk to the ice cream van that is parked outside the school to get our after school treat for the week.

Daisy is usually one of the last out of class and so we tend to find ourselves at the back of a long queue but I don’t mind this, as it means that once the excitement of choosing which ice cream is over we get to walk to the car pretty much by ourselves. We wander along, chatting about her day, about what Benjamin has done and what she plans on doing on her one night off from clubs – usually play in the garden with our neighbour’s little boy. It is a wonderful, peaceful and relaxed half an hour that I treasure!

Once we get home it is all go again getting tea ready, putting my TinyTalk equipment away (if I have the energy), feeding the cat and then it is dinner time, bath and bedtime for the children, a chat with Mark about his day, then back to work doing my reports, paperwork and checking in with my virtual office (aka facebook and twitter!) to see what everyone else has been up to during the day! I love my virtual office, probably a bit too much if I am honest, as it gives me a feeling that I am not working alone but can have a chat with colleagues and friends, bounce ideas off of them and pick up excellent advice about how to manage life as a working mum.

And so, Ice Cream Tuesday comes to an end and the busy, busy week of juggling school, clubs, my children’s social calendar, home and work life continues. When I find myself totally stressed that there aren’t enough hours in the day to ensure that everything is done and everyone is happy, I remind myself that it isn’t too much longer until that glorious day that is… Ice Cream Tuesday! :o)

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