How Flexible working led me to create an entrepreneurial community with childcare
I work from home.
What do you think of when you read that?
What does ‘working from home’ mean to you- sitting in your PJs watching daytime TV, sending the odd email to ‘appear’ as if you’re working?!
Probably not if you do work from home full time like me.
It’s actually the opposite to that. Maybe if you do it every now and again it feels like a treat, but while it has many great benefits- no commuting, no strict hours, being able to make doctors appointments without drama, the school pick up etc, it also requires sheer self-discipline, boundary-setting and will power to actually turn off and not work all the time. When your lounge doubles as your office, and your laptop is sitting there saying ‘open me’ – how do you make full time flexible working work?
For me, the hardest thing is the loneliness – after all, solitary confinement is dished out as a punishment in prison, so being home alone all day can mean you end up feeling a bit crazy and babbling like a crazy person when you do make human contact- whether that’s the postman or your other half when they *finally* get home!
It was March 2018 when I returned to work when my son Leo was 7 months old (he’s now almost 2!) I soon realised I had literally no social life- working during the day and on mum duties in the evenings along with some late work calls with my US colleagues
. I felt totally disconnected. I strongly believe flexible working is the future- there is no need for us to be tied to a certain desk/office/hours any more. We can be trusted to get the job done. After all- if you don’t, it’s soon very clear. I know in myself I have a strong work ethic and need for integrity so I know I will get the job done. *But* I was missing the social element of being in an office. That’s when I came up with the idea for Mumming… it’s about being a great mum and following your dreams- whether that’s freelancing, setting up a business or pursuing a hobby
My flexible working job for Skype is literally a dream come true for me. But as a WFH Mum, I do battle against some typical stereotypes like the above. So what does flexible working look like for me?
Here is a day in the life of me- a remote-working mum:
(I picked a more interesting day- sometimes I do just stay home all day and work!)
6:50am- Alarm goes off and drag myself out of bed- really want to master waking up more energetically but not there yet!
7:00 - Leo wakes up and starts calling out for us.
7:05-7:50 – Normal morning rush getting ready to take him to the childminder. My husband Nick normally gives him breakfast whilst I quickly get dressed.
8am- Drop him off at the childminder who lives just around the corner. Deal with the regular tantrum when we have to walk past the playground without going in.
8:15-9:00am – Back home and now have a chance to do hair and make up quickly before logging in to check work emails and ping my colleagues over Skype. Deal with anything urgent.
9:30-10:15am- Head to the train to go into central London for a Mothers Meeting event run by the amazing Jenny Scott. Work whilst on the train hotspotting on my phone. By the time I arrive I’ve cleared important emails and finished a couple of other tasks. (Doesn’t always work well but today it did!) Realise I left my umbrella that I’ve had for years on the tube- doh!
10:30am – Arrive at the venue slightly rain-logged in Bethnal Green and chat with some lovely mums whilst we wait for the event to kick off. It’s in a really nice venue that has the feel of a historic town hall building with high ceilings, stained glass and wooden rows of seats. Pretty much everyone is sporting either a Baby Zen Yoyo (the super lightweight pushchair of choice for London mums!) or a baby sling. I feel a little ‘naked’ having come childless! Talk to another mum about this and she’s feeling the same way… even more so having had 3 children and being her first time out in the day without any of them since she can remember!
11-12pm – The event consists of a panel of 5 different speakers sharing about everything from leadership as mums, public speaking skills, self-care, business start-up learnings as well as set times for ‘mingling’ when we are sent off with different coloured name badges to find others with the same colour. It sounds cheesy but actually was fun and everyone super easy going.
12:45pm – I have a work call set up for 1:30pm so quickly relocate to the café are next door within the hotel… it’s a lush room full of plants and funky lights (see photo!) Think how lucky I am all I need is WIFI and a laptop!
1-5pm – Work from the café- have a really proper good coffee (love my coffee) as well as lunch. It comes to £18 which isn’t cheap, but I always think it’s the price for sanity… I need to get out and talk to people! Most places I want to work from won’t be the sort of place you could bring a packed lunch, and I never have anything decent in the fridge to make a packed lunch with!
5:30pm- Catch the train home from Waterloo – manage to score a seat which is amazing during rush hour!
6:30pm -Get soaking wet on the walk back from the train station. Arrive home just the same time as my husband and son as he does the pick-up on Mondays. Have a mini-play with Leo before he goes up for bath time. He’s going through a phase of only wanting me so after a tantrum with my husband trying to bath time, I go up to help and he immediately stops the crocodile tears- my hair stays wet! Get into comfy baggy sweat pants and hoodie, put Leo to bed with a couple of books and nice sleepy hug.
7:30pm- After sneaking out of Leo’s room Mission Impossible style, have the dinner my lovely husband prepared whilst I was sorting Leo out- just a veggie burger from the freezer and veggies.
8pm – Log back in to get a bit more work done. There is the never-ending to-do list both for my day job and my new business.
10pm- Head up to bed after a bit more work
11pm – Get in bed still checking Instagram & emails and replying to messages… another bad habit I know I need to disconnect a bit more.