CARA SAYER I tell her that I love her, every day.

AGE   40 (how did I get to be that old?)

HOMETOWN   Just outside London, in the UK

@TWITTER    @snoozeshade and @snoozeshadeusa

GOOGLE+   Snoozeshade

ON THE WEB   Snooze Shade USA

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   I have one incredible daughter, Holly — she’s my miracle baby – now a big girl of 4.

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   When I was a child I read a book called The Princess and The Goblin by George MacDonald time and time again – I was delighted to find it in a box of books my parents had kept and plan to read it to my daughter when she’s a bit older. In the meantime, I found a recording of the book online and my daughter has started to listen to it and loves it already. I’m still looking forward to reading it all over again.

DAY JOB   My day (and night) job is running my business – I invented a baby product called Snooze Shade that helps babies sleep on-the-go, because I got frustrated hanging blankets over the hood of my stroller to help Holly switch off enough to sleep. The business has launched in more than 20 countries since I started in March 2010 and, like many start-ups, I work from home. My other day job is looking after my daughter when she is not in nursery.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   I’ve been married for nine years and with my husband for 12 years in total.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

Working from home is a real challenge – it’s very hard to switch off when your computer is beckoning to you in the next room. Technology is fantastic but also means that it’s harder to ignore things that go on when you have a smart phone which tells you when emails have arrived. I am trying to switch off more out-of-work hours and segregate my time better so that I have work time, daughter time and hubby time (plus some me time if I can squeeze it in) 😉

My husband works full time running his own business but he has offices to go to which I am envious of as I think it’s easier that way as you can shut the front door of home and be in work mode, and when you leave the office you can be in home mode. I am the main care provider for our daughter in that I take her to nursery and collect her and then entertain her until my husband is home when he takes over for bed and bath time. We are about to change the routine slightly in that my husband is going to start coming home earlier one day a week and collect her from nursery so I can have one uninterrupted day a week for work.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

Being a parent means you have to be a lot less selfish than before parenthood. I don’t think I have fundamentally changed since becoming a parent, other than worrying more about the state of the planet in the future as you stop thinking about just yourself but about your child’s future. It’s also made me value more my parents’ role in my life as you realize the impact that having a child has on your life.

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

Becoming parents has strengthened and challenged our relationship. We both have a very clear common goal, which is to raise our daughter in the best way we can and it’s important to be seen as a united front. We still are very much our own people, so we do also fall out as we have different parenting styles, but we tend to try to come to an agreement on the best way forward.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

My strengths are that I am very honest with my daughter and I tell her that I love her every day. I want her to feel loved and secure. My weaknesses are that I often try to do too much at the same time and sometimes the TV has been a bit too much of a babysitter when I’ve had tight deadlines. But I have also been able to be around more than if I was working out of the home so I try to see the positives.

WHAT ARE YOUR SPOUSE’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

My husband is amazing, he’s my best friend – we don’t always agree on everything but we are a team and we love nothing more than having a family cuddle. He can be tougher when it comes to discipline sometimes but there’s always a place for good cop, bad cop 😉

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my mother. She has been totally amazing throughout my life as a parent – she supported me when I went through IVF, and pushed me in my wheelchair when I was pregnant, and has been an amazing grandmother to my daughter. She has a fantastic and very special relationship with Holly that I know is part of the reason Holly is such a lovely young girl. My mother moves in to help look after Holly when I am away on business trips which is one of the reasons I can leave and not worry about her while I am away.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

My worst ever moment was when my daughter had a febrile convulsion when she was about 1 year old. I don’t think I have ever been so scared. Fortunately – although she had a complex convulsion which means that it went on for a significant amount of time – she’s been fine ever since.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

Giving birth was amazing. It was not as I had planned it – I always get sad when I hear of mothers who are sad because they didn’t have the birth they wanted. I wanted a home birth with whale music and candles – I ended up having a C-section as I developed a condition early in my pregnancy which meant I was in a wheelchair for six months and had to learn how to walk again after my daughter was born.

It wasn’t the birth I thought I would have but we had music we chose and it was a once in a lifetime experience regardless, and the most important thing was that we had a healthy baby.

Lisa Duggan

Lisa Duggan is the Founder and CEO of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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