I can’t help but notice the rise of mums pursuing entrepreneurial careers in recent years. I know there are a lot of mums drawn to starting their own business to create true flexibility as a working mum. I get it, there’s nothing more enticing than being your own boss and calling all the shots.
In recent months I have connected with many mum entrepreneurs online. Most of them make it look easy and many of them seem to have ‘overnight success’.
I’ve learnt though that there are challenges that go with running your own business. Working late nights and long hours, financial management, marketing, customer liaison, upskilling (it’s unlikely you’ll have all the skills and knowledge required to start a business and this can also be a source of overwhelm).
The boundaries between work and family are blurred, especially if you are passionate about your business. Often the amount of time and effort spent on a start-up business doesn’t translate into financial rewards for quite some time either, which can be frustrating and disappointing.
If you want to become a mum entrepreneur there are many great online resources and organisations to support you. You might even return to your corporate career until your business is financially able to support you (this is called a side hustle).
During my second pregnancy I did an online business course as a backup plan, at a time when my corporate career options were very uncertain.
There are still many mums who feel called back to their corporate career, whether they have started a business or not.
The point is there are many options available to you to become a working mum. There is no shame or judgement in any of these options. It’s about what’s right for you and your family.
Within 6 months of becoming a mum myself, my corporate career was calling me back.
At this point, you may even be wondering what a career is and whether you have one or want one. To quote one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, “A career is something that you build over the years with energy, passion and commitment … Careers are huge investments. Careers require ambition, strategy and hustle. Your career is a relationship with the world.”
In my experience there were so many great reasons to return to my corporate career, particularly compared with starting a business.
You will receive a guaranteed salary on a regular basis. This makes family budgeting much easier, knowing what your income will be for the week, month, year. I enjoyed not having to worry about cashflow on my return to work and being able to plan family holidays, weekends away or splurge on takeaway and date nights.
Although there may be some variance, you’ll have set start and finish times and set days for work. You may even be lucky enough to find an employer who supports flexible start and finish times. When you know your work hours you also know your family/home/leisure hours and can make plans. Setting and maintaining work life boundaries that you are comfortable with is critical to living your desired lifestyle.
All of the time and effort you have invested in your career before becoming a mum is utilised when you return to your corporate career. By returning you are also further investing in your career, which is likely to lead to promotion and advancement long term.
Human beings are social creatures and most offices have been designed with this in mind to maximise productivity and interaction. Many new mums thrive on adult interaction and conversation at work (office politics and conflicting personalities aside). Being a stay at home mum and even a solo entrepreneur can be lonely and isolating on a daily basis, if you don’t make the effort to connect with other adults.
Call me shallow, but one of my favourite things about returning to work was having a great excuse to don pretty dresses and other items from my corporate wardrobe. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and looking for gorgeous clothes check these out.
The novelty of wearing my pyjamas or comfy clothes all day everyday on maternity leave wore thin after a few months. Of course, after you return to your corporate career you can still do this on the weekends anyway.
Of course there are also other reasons you may feel called to return to your corporate career. I’d love to hear what they are in the comments!
If your corporate career is calling you back check out my FREE return to work cheatsheet. It’s designed to have you feeling prepared, confident and empowered for your return to work. It covers the most common fears about returning to work and strategies and actions to overcome them.