Heaven sent: Take time out from tri­als

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Cover Story -

Baker, en­tre­pre­neur, and mother of three Bar­bara He­garty is one very busy woman.

Co-owner of the hugely suc­cess­ful Heaven’s Cakes Bak­ery, which has been run­ning for 20 years at the English Mar­ket in Cork (and in the West Cork town of Ban­don for about five years), the Ger­man na­tive jug­gles the de­mands of a thriv­ing busi­ness with mother­ing Tim, 9, Anna, 8, and Ben, 5.

“Al­though the busi­ness is run­ning for some 20 years, it’s still very hands on,” says the 40-year-old.

Her typ­i­cal week runs as fol­lows: “Chil­dren and of­fice work, chil­dren and bak­ing, chil­dren and sell­ing.”

On Mon­days and Tues­days she has a 7.30am start, get­ting the kids ready for school and check­ing in on the com­pany’s two bak­eries.

Wed­nes­days and Thurs­days start at 6am. She tries to take a day off on Fri­day “when pos­si­ble”, but it’s back to early morn­ings on Satur­days with a 5.30am kick-off get­ting de­liv­er­ies sorted and set­ting up at the lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­ket.

Her bak­ery day gen­er­ally fin­ishes shortly be­fore 2pm when she be­gins the school col­lec­tions af­ter which she fo­cuses on the sec­ond part of her work­ing day — car­ing for her young chil­dren.

“It’s is quite a de­mand­ing week,” she ac­knowl­edges. “I have felt tired and fa­tigued at times.”

But she be­lieves in be­ing proac­tive. “You have to be healthy. You have to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to be able to do this.

“I don’t smoke or drink, though I would oc­ca­sion­ally have a so­cial glass of wine but I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t live a very healthy life; the early starts, jug­gling a de­mand­ing busi­ness with time for one’s chil­dren, hus­band, and for one­self.”

Her se­cret, she says, is to “work on the prin­ci­ple of first thing’s first and pri­ori­tise down­wards”.

“You can­not put your arms around the world; you have to ac­cept that there are some things you can­not do. My fam­ily and busi­ness are a pri­or­ity — it’s not a pri­or­ity, for ex­am­ple to go on sev­eral hol­i­days a year.”

A very good sup­port sys­tem is cru­cial. “My fam­ily in Ger­many are very sup­port­ive in terms of emo­tional sup­port and my in­laws in Ire­land are hugely sup­port­ive in terms of phys­i­cal and emo­tional sup­port.”

De­spite their own busy lives, her in-laws are al­ways on hand to help out with child­care, too.

A healthy diet of home­cooked food and reg­u­lar bed­times are other cru­cial el­e­ments of her de­mand­ing life­style.

“I gen­er­ally get to bed be­tween 10pm and 11pm, al­though there are times when I stay up over­think­ing things, and then I end up with just four hours’ sleep and none the wiser, she says.

“I go through spurts where things are calm, but I also have times when things are like a ru­n­away train.

“When things are more than I can han­dle, I take a deep breath and say, this too shall pass.”

Pic­ture: De­nis Mini­hane

FRESH TODAY: Bar­bara He­garty, co-owner of Heaven’s Cakes Bak­ery, Ban­don and English Mar­ket, Cork, man­ages her busy sched­ule by pri­ori­tis­ing her busi­ness and fam­ily.

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