I think the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur and a mother is ‘working from home’, the reason for that is several fold*.
- As women we carry a lot of guilt and shame, I don’t know why this is and if it’s inbuilt – but we’re guilty if we work, we’re guilty if we don’t work and we’re guilty if we don’t fulfil the 1950’s housewife stereo type
- When you’re working from said ‘home office’ every where you look when you have children under 10 there is a job to do which you are responsible for
- General Cleaning (extracting impaled lego from your own foot – without swearing)
- Not to mention just getting the children to school on time without popping a blood vessel when you say ‘clean your teeth’, ‘put your shoes on’, ‘it’s 2 degrees outside, put a coat on’ 50 times, on repeat – every single day
- In my experience women do not compartmentalize as well as men. I’ve taken a straw pole of women I know with primary school age children, and a lot of (not all) men, will put work before family every time, yet a mother will always know how close it is to pick up and what the fall out is if you’re late.**
Another challenge for women who have had a corporate career to being at home full time post maternity leave is losing your sense of self. I commend the women who are content and find this role is fulfilling. This has not been my experience and I have definitely struggled with a lack of financial independence and level of personal freedom, however due to the cost of childcare in the UK it made no sense for me to go back to work until I/we got the boys to school.
I will say that although it has impacted me the most, it has enabled our family to thrive. My husband travels a lot for work, due to me being at home we don’t have the same debates about who has a more important meeting in the same way we did when there was just one child and were both in full time employment. This means the boys have had consistency.
Also if I hadn’t stayed at home and undertaken an Art & Design foundation I would not have found my true passion in creating, I would not have founded this business and when you create something that aspires to make such great impact in style, sustainability and as a positive mouthpiece for mental health - there is definitely a silver lining.
I am super grateful to come across the #BackHerBusiness campaign as it allows women like myself who have a dream to next level things without putting more strain on the family unit. This NatWest collaboration with Crowdfunder UK aims to close the entrepreneurial gender gap.
‘Back Her Business lets you showcase your business ideas, and gives everyone the chance to back women-led businesses through crowdfunded donations.
But backing isn’t just about funding. It’s about believing in the person behind the idea. So through Back Her Business, we support women [like you] with coaching, mentoring and collaboration to help you succeed.
The #backherbusiness campaign has come with two weeks of support and has been a great learning curve with perfect timing. Having launched at the end of September after my youngest started Reception, I am now more than ever ready to next level this business. To do that I am fully committed to the stretch target of £7,500 as it not only enables me to create employment for others, it allows this business to move into a space which is 100% about the business and not about splitting my attention between home and work.
For all of you who have already backed this business, thank you so much. This breathes life into a project so very close to my heart.
*Please note as a preface, I am basing this on my own relationship which is husband and wife, because that is my experience and I am sure every family relationship no matter what it’s make-up has its own challenges.
**This has been my experience, the feasibility of career breaks for men and even ability to take more than two weeks paternity has changed dramatically since the birth of our eldest. This offers so much reward for both parties as parents and I fully applaud it.