The pressures of a working mum

I don’t know about you, but the last few weeks have been crazy for us here at Designer Baby. And it’s made me stop and think about how different things would be if I hadn’t launched this business.


For those of you who don’t know the background to DB, it’s a true family business, originally set up with the help of our beloved Grandad Dave. He knew my ambition and my dreams of setting up my own company, which started out as JJ’s Baby Boutique. He’d been with me when our first attempt at selling children’s clothing (before JJ’s) flopped – quite spectacularly in fact! But he also knew I wouldn’t give up.


I wanted to leave a legacy, be able to work around the family, and have them involved in the business in some way too.


Grandad was so proud of our first order, then we reached our 100th, and so it has grown from there into Designer Baby as you see it now. I’ll talk more about Grandad Dave again next month (you’ll see why), but for now, these past few weeks have served as a reminder for me of how fortunate I was to have the support and guidance of Grandad from the get-go. And I’ll also fill you in on some of the things we’ve been getting up to here behind the scenes at Designer Baby too.


Do you feel the pressure as a working mum?


Isn’t it strange, and quite scary, how quickly time flies? From finding out you are expecting, to your first scan, and then more confidently sharing your news. Hospital appointments and getting everything around you ready for the birth. Your due date soon comes around. And then, just as quickly as you were building up to it, it’s nearly time for your maternity leave to be over.


So many of us mums work full-time before our little ones come along. But suddenly we feel different about going back. About everything actually. We want nothing to tear us away from our newborn, and it’s heartbreaking to think of being in the office or workplace for longer during a day than we’ll get to spend with them. Sorry if that’s a bit daunting and solemn. But it’s true.


I knew straight away that I didn’t want to work for someone else when I became a mum for the first time. I wanted to be in control and be on hand should my baby (now two of them) need me, and I wanted to have the choice as to when I worked and when I spent time with them.


I have the utmost respect for mummies who go back to work full-time after baby comes along. If one thing’s for sure, it was that my brain couldn’t have coped with answering to someone else. At least if I goofed, I did it on my own terms and only I would have to pay the price for my mistakes (in other words, the embarrassment would stay between me and the family!!)


But I also know that not everyone has the same chances, the same support, the same choices. And, for that, I am truly in awe. This blog really came about because I was reading an article the other day about how working mums ‘pay the price’ for raising a family. And it played on my mind.


Working mums – do we pay a price?


Recent research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that ‘mothers face more insecure and lower-paid work after having children.’  It has been quoted that more than 15% of mums say they are ‘economically inactive’ because of caring responsibilities versus just 1.9% of dads.


Quite shocking in some ways, but then again, is it really a surprise? I’m not so sure.


Historically, it was the mother who gave up any career she may have dreamed of. She took full responsibility for raising the family, keeping the ideal home, supporting the children and her husband in times of need. And she was still expected to act gracefully, bake scrumptious cakes, and always be perfectly prim and proper at any time to go on display. Families stayed together through thick and thin, and the husband took the full burden of being the only breadwinner.


We chuckle though when we see the retro pictures of Good Housekeeping magazine and read the Housewives Guide. I mean, I do try to make an effort, but I can’t imagine living with the “law” that a good wife should be made up with hair nicely done before her husband got up for the hearty breakfast she had lovingly laid out for him. And then she stood smiling at the door as she waved him off to work!


Did that ever happen in Hull, do you think?!


Chris is lucky if we can even find the cereal box in amongst Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol figures. Or if the bacon is still in date. Let alone have me cook it all, then nicely prepare and present it for him.


Anyway, back to reality.  


More than 90% of the women surveyed who are in part-time work, stated to the ONS that they didn’t want a full-time job. And I get that completely.


I have an amazing team working with me – family members as it happens! Yes, it really is a true family business.


And there are times when I can bring the boys in to work, even involve both Jenson and Tommy in launches, promotional work, social media, and photoshoots. That was exactly how I wanted my business to be – totally family oriented.


There are also times when I start to regret bringing them in for photoshoots mind you, the latest one being a case in point!! But, despite the carnage at the time, the finished results look amazing, even if I do say so myself. And you can make your own mind up as to whether it was a success in the new Loungewear section of the website. Yes, those two cheeky monkeys are really ours, and just look at those little chubby hands!


Seriously though, starting up a new business whilst on maternity leave (with Jenson, our first born) was a heck of a challenge. My partner, Chris, also has his own business and at times like COVID and the impact BREXIT was having on Designer Baby at one point seriously made my collies wobble. But I’m still so pleased I stood my ground and we all pulled together.


Chris often pops in aswell to help with order packing, and that means it’s a McDonald’s for us all as a treat too! Now you really are seeing what goes on behind the scenes!


We’re still young and have yet to carefully consider our retirement planning and pensions. But it’s something I know we should be doing. And, something that the research highlights mothers are losing out on. Part-time roles mean part-time contributions. Another pressure us mums will face later down the line unless things change soon, so think on, my lovelies.


And in other news ….


I am so chuffed to let you know that we've been featured in Vogue! Yes, Designer Baby " A little luxury for your little one" is now in print in British Vogue. Like I said earlier, I always had big plans and ambitions, but even I am grinning like a Cheshire cat at that! Grandad Dave would be giggling away with us now.


To wrap up, I guess if there’s anything I can say about mums and work, it would be to go for your dreams. If you really can't face going back full-time or even part-time, there are plenty of opportunities to earn from home (my own opinion, by the way. No affiliate links or promotions here!!) Don't ever put yourself at risk financially, and I know I had support from all around me. But if this girl from East Yorkshire can create something for my boys, something I never take for granted, and always look at with immense pride, then I'm sure you can too. Find something that drives you towards your goals, and your 'Why' will be strong enough to make sure you succeed.


I’ve not forgotten about July’s baby, that’s coming up. And in the meantime, don’t forget, you’re never on your own,

Much love, all at Team DB xx