Heaven sent: Take time out from trials
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.”
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.