What was your vision/hope for flexible work as a mum, and what different avenues did you try to get there?
Once I became a mum, I didn’t want to go back to the hospitality trade that I’d left, so I tried various avenues of work. I had a baby business; I tried my hand at telesales, but this wasn’t for me as I had no confidence; and lastly I did, and occasionally still do, mystery visits/shopping, but the assignments I was given weren’t always compatible with being a mum because of timings and locations.
I wanted a job that would fit around my life as a busy mum and not interfere with my children’s and household day-to-day living. A friend told me about a fantastic course she was just completing and that she’d already found work from. Work that fit into her busy daily life as a mum of three. The next thing I knew, I’d embarked on the Digital Mums journey myself and it was genuinely the best thing I could have done.
How did you find trying to edge yourself back into the workplace as a mum before you came across Digital Mums?
I started my own business but had no confidence to push it forward to the next stage. I’d lost my way and forgot what I was good at, so I played it safe and shut the business and started voluntary work at my son’s pre-school. I enjoyed ‘helping out’ but it didn’t fulfil me. It did help me get back into chatting to new people and being in different situations, though.
Why do you think the reality of finding flexible work for mums seems to be so hard?
I don’t think employers have seen the potential that flexible working mums can bring their business. For most, flexible working seems to be an alien concept. However, I think smaller companies are waking up to this ‘new’ type of work as it opens up a new pool of talent for them and gives them an edge over bigger businesses. I also don’t think employers advertise flexible work positions. Most people seem to just fall into these roles and it happens organically. I think a lot of mums like the idea of flexible working, but don’t actually realise that it’s out there. Digital Mums’ #WorkThatWorks campaign and Mother Pukka’s #Flexappeal campaign will I’m sure spread the word so much further and create a much bigger awareness of the benefits flexible working can bring mums and businesses.
Now that you’ve finally found work that works, can you tell us a bit about some of the benefits you’ve been experiencing?
I am loving the fact that my home life is not being affected by my work – that is the beauty of flexible working. I can manage to fit in work around the daily chores, kids clubs and family life. The summer holidays was my first big test, and I have to say I was a little worried about how I was going to juggle everything. But we got through it rather smoothly and had a great summer work wise and family wise. A win-win situation – it really is #WorkThatWorks.
What would you say to other mums who are looking to find work that works for them?
Don’t give up. Don’t get despondent. Flexible work is out there. Get chatting and networking with other mums and dads, anyone you come across. Join some breakfast meetings – all areas have them and they are great places to network and talk about what you can offer local businesses. And finally, social media is obviously a fantastic place to promote your skills and pitch for flexible work. It really will happen.
Flexible working still requires a bit of juggling – what would be your tips for success?
My top tip for flexible working is: be flexible! Both for work and family. If your child isn’t letting you do some work then take them out and go back to the work later. Utilise your time to your best when working, prioritise your workload and be productive. I found getting up before my household worked for me, as I managed to get a vast amount done without any interruptions. I then felt as though I could enjoy the day with the children during the summer holidays. Now that they’re back at school, I obviously use the school day to work as well as when they’re at their clubs (different environments bring different inspirations) so it doesn’t impact on their day-to-day at home.
If there was only one thing you could say to a mum who is frustrated and looking to find flexible work it would be…
To join up to one of the Digital Mums courses. Not only will you learn how to manage social media campaigns and channels, their training will give you the confidence to promote yourself – or Do The Hustle as they call it! – and it’s a natural springboard to finding work.
If you could sum up your experience of flexible working in five words so far it would be:
Freedom, Diverse, Fun, Adventure, Fulfilling.
Anything else you would like to add….
I wanted a job that would fit around my life as a busy mum, and not interfere with my children’s and household day-to-day living. Completing the Digital Mums Community Manager Course really has made a difference to my life. I am more confident. I have more self esteem. I’m loving working and every day is different. I’m constantly learning. I’m now setting up my own Social Media business, M3MSocialMedia, to help local companies with their social media platforms, so watch this space! I’m also launching my new website later this year in conjunction with the campaign I carried out during my Digital Mums training. The cliche of ‘I’m happier and so therefore my home life is happier’ is really true for me. Everyone should have access to #WorkThatWorks – work and family life can co-exist!
**To show your support for the #WorkThatWorks movement, visit the dedicated campaign page here. **
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