Ask the Village: How Can I Fit In Self-Care?

We all know that looking after ourselves is really important – especially when you are also looking after children. However, we can also agree that this is incredibly difficult to do when you’ve just had a baby.

We asked our Villagers how they fit in tiny bits of self-care when they were looking after their newborns. Here’s what they had to say.

Self-care isn’t about grand gestures

“I think seeing self-care’ as tiny moments each day can help. It doesn’t have to be big grand gestures such as going to get your hair done or going out with friends but it can be having a slice of your favourite cake with a coffee, buying yourself the latest best settler to read during those early days mammoth feeds, or getting into a new box set on Netflix. Treating yourself to a moment of happiness every day can be a great way to care for yourself.”

“Small and often if possible! Mine was a guilty pleasure watching First Dates Hotel during lengthy afternoon feeds! And making sure there was always some chocolate in the house!”

“My self-care in the early days was eating yummy snacks in the middle of the night while feeding and catching up on trash tv – i.e. Love Island!”

Be creative

“Around 5/6 weeks I managed to get my hair cut! Husband wore baby in a stretchy wrap sling – they walked with me to the (very local) salon then he pottered around the village shops with her until she woke wanting milk….which was conveniently just as the hairdryer was turned off!”

“Hairdryer and the bouncer each morning while I have a shower!”

Lower your expectations

“For me 2nd time around, the very early days were very much about ‘take me as you find me‘. If people came to me I didn’t make anyone a cuppa but they were welcome to help themselves. My challenge every day was to get my big son to school and collect him and make sure I ate! Anything else was a bonus. In setting my bar pretty low I felt good about anything else I managed.”

“Trying to get out of the house once a day. Not immediately but once my husband had gone back to work and I had an almost three-year-old and a newborn I had to get us all out to blow the cobwebs out. The day was so much easier if I could.”

Use technology

I fully utilised my smartphone during all of those hours of breastfeeding. I found online parenting groups and social media. They were my lifeline to the outside world when I couldn’t physically leave the house!”

“When my eldest was a baby I quite liked watching lectures on interesting topics on the internet. It helped avoid the feeling that my brain was atrophying.”

Audiobooks and fresh air. I’d have my baby in a sling, put earphones in and walk for hours getting my fix of fiction! And lots of cake.”

Prioritise yourself

Not feeling guilty at taking 10 minutes for yourself when someone else (hubby in my case) has the baby and she starts fussing. Took me weeks to not feel like I was subjecting him to a screamy kid and that she needed me and having a shower/bath wasn’t as important.”

“I think if you can, it’s important to have at least one break a week from the children. I like leaving the children with my husband and going to a yoga class or religious service by myself.”

How do you fit in time for yourself? Share your ideas in the comments.

Working Parents: Lorette

Lorette runs the Slingababy school, training baby-carrying educators at various levels across the UK as well as abroad. She has two children. 

I have 2 children: a son born in 2010 and a daughter born in 2015. Their father and I separated when my son was nearly 3. He now lives 2 hours’ drive away and looks after his 2 older children from a previous relationship (on a 50/50 time split with their mother). This makes matching our timetables a bit of a jigsaw.

I started Slingababy before we separated and it grew from strength to strength which helped me with gaining independence when my situation changed. I felt compelled to start the school. There was something missing in the baby-carrying industry and I had a feeling I could bring it to life. A very dear friend encouraged me to take the plunge and I carry her words with me to this day: “give it a try. If it’s shit, nobody will come. If it’s not, it will be worth it.”

My typical schedule over a fortnight is as follows: Monday1: family time, maybe a little admin, Tuesday1: family time, Wednesday1: admin with my daughter in childcare, Thursday1: travelling or prepping my space for a course, alongside some family time, Friday1 to Monday2: teaching, Tuesday2: family time, Wednesday2: admin with my daughter in childcare, Thursday2 to Sunday2: family time, maybe a little admin, sometimes a 1 day course.

For the last year and a half, I had the privilege of bringing my children and a helper with me when I was teaching away from home. This is about to change and the children will now stay with their father. For a local course, my daughter goes in childcare and my son entertains himself.

I love what I do. Being my own boss means that I create all the rules. With trial and error, I found my perfect balance. I spend all my time either loving my job or loving being with my children. I feel blessed.

Sometimes the strain of the relentlessness is too much. Sometimes I would like to be able to lean onto another adult. Luckily, my father had prepared me for life’s challenges with his wisdom: “when you don’t like things that you can’t change or can’t leave, just get on with it” I have found strength in this way of looking at difficult times whilst also repeating the parenting mantra of “this too shall pass”

To parents looking for flexible working, I would say: define your goals. Reassess your priorities. Reassess your need for material things. Take the plunge. Tweak what you resent until you’re working within a frame you appreciate. Enjoy life. Oh! And come do my course, I’m full of more wisdom collected over the years! Joke apart, I do want to branch out into organisation courses as it’s another passion of mine. That course, when ready to launch, will be a game-changer for many.

View all posts in this series. Are you a working parent? We’d love to hear your story – please get in touch to talk.

Working Parents: Lucy

Lucy is a life coach and hypnotherapist and also teaches antenatal preparation classes. She has two children.

I am married (it took us 17 years of being together before we got round to it! We finally tied the knot 6 years ago); and we have two children aged 9 and 7, a girl and a boy. I was a teacher for 16 years before I left to become self-employed. I worked with children with SEN, particularly Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It was great work, really interesting and inspiring. I loved working with the children – and staff – to help to develop their coping skills, resilience and self-esteem. It was really fascinating looking at how we learn, and how to develop emotional skills as well as academic.

When I was pregnant with our first child I was certain that I wanted to continue working as I am very passionate about the work I do; I was also aware of wanting to not miss out on my own child’s early years. My husband had started his own company, along with two other people, a few years before. The business had taken off far better than we had ever imagined, so we worked out that I would return to work part-time after my maternity leave, and my husband would also go part-time. We were incredibly fortunate to be in that position.

Returning to work was not as great as I had imagined, however. Teaching is not as family-friendly as a lot of people think; by the time our second child was born (I had a miscarriage in between them too), after lots of other internal difficulties that the school went through, I decided to accept voluntary redundancy.

This was an incredibly tough decision. I had trained as a hypnobirthing teacher during my first maternity leave and had been teaching hypnobirthing classes in the evenings at the same time as returning part time to my teaching career, but I still wasn’t sure I could make it on my own as a completely self-employed person. I was passionate about what I was doing – I had been so terrified of giving birth when I was pregnant, and learning hypnobirthing had completely changed how I viewed birth and also a lot of the negative thinking I had been prone to beforehand. It completely changed my experience of childbirth, and even though things really didn’t go to plan on the day I felt confident, empowered and really happy with the decisions we had made.

I realised that a lot of what I had learned through hypnobirthing had so much relevance to the work I had previously been doing, in supporting others to develop their coping skills. I decided to train as a hypnotherapist to complement my hypnobirthing work. Over the past 7 years, I have been on the most wonderful journey as the various parts of my business have grown and developed. I have done a lot of work with parenting and early years development, plus mindfulness training for children, and eventually have settled on my passion of supporting mainly women through changes in their lives; I work with my clients to help them find balance within the crazy hectic rollercoaster that is many women’s experience of juggling work, life and family.

I work part-time but that is spread throughout the week. I read a wonderful quote recently, that describes entrepreneurs as the only people to work an 80 hour week in order to avoid working the standard 40 hour week! This is so true, so I have to work hard to apply what I teach to clients – to find that balance between everything. I have ‘responsibility’ for the children on 3 days a week, and my husband takes responsibility for the other two.

Things are a little easier now they are both in school – we home-educated them for 3 years before they decided they were ready to give school a go. I usually have a really great balance between seeing clients, the inevitable admin work, my family and ‘me’ stuff – I love climbing, running, yoga, walking my dogs and working in the garden. Things are easily sent out of kilter when we hit those busy periods when too much stuff is going on all at once. It is particularly hard when my husband works away as we have no family support at all. I have come to accept those times and let some things slide in order to cope; I have also learned how to ask for and accept help from friends!

My children really take an interest in what I do. We talk a lot about the things I do to help others, and I teach them useful tools to cope with anxiety and stress too. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds, of course, my own kids see me more as ‘Mum’ than ‘therapist/ life coach’. I do notice them using the strategies and language that I have taught them though, they are generally pretty good at problem-solving. I decided to start writing a sort of ‘family life’ book to guide families through helpful ways of communicating with each other, and the kids were so enthusiastic when I talked to them about it that they decided to co-write it with me. Watch this space!

The best thing about my situation is that I know my boss appreciates me because I am my own boss! I choose what to prioritise and when, and I have the flexibility to be there if my kids need me. I take time off through the holidays and really enjoy that family time. I love being able to share these ways of thinking with other women and inspire them to make changes to empower themselves and enjoy life. I also love the baby cuddles I get with my birth work! Seeing couples move from apprehension or downright fear to confidence and empowerment, and hearing the amazing birth stories they share is indescribable. I feel so fortunate to be able to do the work that I do.

The most difficult thing has to be the lack of support we have had right from starting our family. I really believe that we’re not supposed to bring our children up in isolation, as the saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. I have worked hard to find the support I need to get through the tough times, although I do also recognise the huge personal growth this has provided for me and feel really positive about the way everything has worked out. In terms of work, the most difficult thing is the huge fluctuation in monthly income; it seems so random, it can make financial planning much more interesting.

I would advise all parents who want more flexibility in their work to really work out what they want and how to make it happen. You make your own destiny, no one is going to provide all the answers for you! Collaborate with your partner, work out any financial issues – and remember that this will often be short-term solutions as your young children soon grow into older children. Ask for what help you need; go to your boss with solutions, not problems. Be confident, be brave – you won’t get these years again and it is a privilege to be able to enjoy them. And remember, in financial terms if you haven’t got it you simply can’t spend it – this mantra allowed us to really cut back on outgoings.

How To Prepare For A Child When You’re Living With A Disability

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Preparing for a baby is a big job; there are so many details to think about and plan for that it can be a bit overwhelming, even if you have help. For individuals who are living with a disability, adding these plans to everyday struggles can be extremely stressful, and that stress can lead to anxiety or even depression.

It’s important, then, to consider your specific needs and think of the best ways you can make things go smoothly throughout the entire process. Think about details like handling the infant carrier, changing the baby’s diaper, cleaning, and putting the baby down in a crib or bassinet. Depending on your abilities and ease of mobility, these may be things that you’ll need to do a little differently than everyone else. As long as it’s comfortable for both you and baby, that’s all that matters.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the arrival of your baby.

Garner support

One of the best ways to help things go smoothly is to garner support from friends and family. Having help during the first few weeks of parenthood will do you a world of good and will allow you to be at your best. You might ask someone to act as a pet-sitter while you’re in the hospital or have someone pick up dinner to bring over on your first night home. There are many different ways your loved ones can be of assistance, so don’t be afraid to ask.


It’s a good idea to practice as much as you can before the baby arrives. Whether it’s figuring out the carseat, learning how to quickly open up the stroller while also holding a diaper bag (and possibly the baby), or making up bottles, practicing now will help build your confidence for when the time comes.

Prepare your home

Getting your home ready for a new baby entails quite a bit of work, so planning ahead will help you feel prepared. Aside from setting up a nursery or area where the baby will sleep and can be changed, you’ll need to think about what your new schedule will be like. Having a newborn in the home changes everything, so making things as easy as possible is key. This might mean setting up a bottle station where you can prepare and clean them, or having an area near your bed that can hold tissues, a portable changing station, extra wipes, a water bottle (especially if you’re breastfeeding, as you’ll need to stay hydrated), and a baby monitor. Having all those things within reach will really come in handy when you’re up in the middle of the night for feedings.

Install a carbon monoxide detector if your home doesn’t already have one, and check all the smoke alarms to make sure they’re in good working order. Secure any large pieces of furniture – dressers, bookshelves, etc. – to the wall to prevent tipping. You may also think about the way furniture is arranged, especially if you require a wheelchair or other equipment. It’s possible to make your mobility a priority and keep things safe for the baby at the same time, but it might take a little planning. For some great tips on how to get started with babyproofing, head over to

Make a packing list

Part of being prepared is knowing what you’ll need both at the hospital and for the trip home. Get familiar with the car seat and install it before your due date so you won’t have to worry about it. Make a packing list and include any medications or equipment you might need while you’re away, and do the same for your spouse or partner if they’ll be staying with you. Read on here for a baby checklist that will help you prepare.

Talking to other parents who are living with a disability is a great way to find support when you need it most, so look online for support groups or discussion boards, and keep communication open with your partner so that the two of you will be on the same page.

Rachael’s story: reflecting on the fourth trimester

Obviously supporting new mums’ wellbeing is a high priority and something the Cheshire Parenting Collective team is passionate about as well as focusing on the newborn. When I signed up for the Fourth Trimester course I thought it would be helpful as I had no idea what to expect with a newborn baby. My gorgeous baby girl Charlotte was a little late so when I first attended the course she was only a week old. Some people think this was bonkers but it was the perfect time to go as my husband was still on paternity leave and could support us getting out of the house.

After the first session, I was hooked for more. The sessions were light and informal, babies take the lead – so if you need to feed or change this is encouraged. There is also a lot of discussion rather than being preached at and the group as a whole was very supportive. We had plenty of laughs and even shed a few tears at times. For me, the hardest part of having a newborn was when she was 3 weeks old. Everything suddenly became extremely overwhelming. Charlotte had bad reflux, wind, struggled to settle, screamed a lot and I was so sleep deprived. Also, my husband had just gone back to work and breastfeeding was extremely painful. This course has firstly encouraged me to get out of the house and drive early with a newborn. Something I think is positive and now I am extremely confident with getting out of the house and all the equipment.

The sleep session was very helpful as it gave me lots of tools to try and eventually some of them worked and we both got some sleep. Also with breastfeeding during the feeding session it was picked up that we had thrush. This completely explained the issues we were having with feeding and we promptly got treated. What I found most helpful was that there was a lot of focus on your wellbeing too. In the first session, Ellie was very open about baby blues and I never expected it to hit me. But it did and thanks to this course when it did I recognised it quickly and got help straight away before things got worse. Mine was only very mild but I definitely think it could have got much worse.

Focusing on yourself is not something that comes naturally with a newborn but thanks to how much self-care was encouraged I think I have managed to address things quickly. She is now a healthy, happy and very responsive 2 month old. Reflecting on our fourth trimester now, the course was definitely one of the most helpful things we did.

Read These 5 Books If You’ve Got A Wild Toddler

Jenny Neill from Connect Emotional Education shares five books that can help you to better understand your tiny human. *this blog post contains affiliate links – if you use our links to buy the books mentioned here, we receive a small commission.

You’ve got through the pregnancy part, the birth bit, the first year (woohoo!) and now you’re into your little one’s second year (how did that happen!). You might have a two-year-old and be reading this – you’ve got even further along – but with increased age comes greater challenges.

The baby books didn’t tell us that they would develop their own personalities and preferences and, shock horror, not do everything we ask them to do in a timely manner. I went into our local bookshop to see what books there were available on parenting a toddler – there were around 10. Online shopping offers an even more bewildering range, so how do you know which one to choose?

The following five books are ones that I have read or are highly recommended by Cheshire Parenting Collective community members. Check out Cheshire Parenting Collective’s online catalogue if you’d like to borrow one. If you are wondering how to fit reading in while parenting a toddler and juggling one hundred other things, then audio books might be the way forward!

So much has been discovered about the human brain in the last twenty or so years. That’s why you will find most of these books talking about parenting in relation to what we know about child development and how our brains develop over time.

ToddlerCalm: A guide for calmer toddlers and happier parents by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

ToddlerCalm is a comprehensive guide to some of the common challenges that toddlers and toddler parents face. The basis of the approach is firmly rooted in helping parents understand child neuropsychology and broader child psychology thus giving realistic expectations of what we can expect from our toddlers and not just what we think they should be doing.

Using the CRUCIAL (Control, Rhythm, Understanding, Communication, Individual, Avoiding, Love) approach the book works towards helping parents to form their own action plan for their own parenting concerns. Above all, I know that it has been reassuring for many parents to know that their child is acting in a developmentally appropriate way as well as having some strategies for how to deal with typical
toddler behaviour.

Amazon link: ToddlerCalm: A guide for calmer toddlers and happier parents

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson

The tagline to this book is ’12 proven strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind’. This is a great book that will help throughout your parenting journey. There isn’t lots it that is toddler specific but the simple way that Drs Siegel and Bryson explain the emotions in the brain is, in my opinion, the crucial part of the book which makes lots of toddler behaviour fall into place.

A short video explanation by Dr Siegel can be found here:

It’s a very accessible book with pictures and scenarios of how you might react and what a better response might be. I know lots of parents find this useful.

Amazon link: The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

Discipline Without Damage: How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up by Dr Vanessa Lapointe

This is another book that combines scientific research with the author’s clinical experience as a child and family psychologist to offer parents a practical resource with effective strategies. It shows parents why connection and communication are so important when helping to guide our children and offers advice on how parents can regulate their children’s behaviours in constructive ways.

The book is highly regarded by Dr Lapointe’s fellow parenting authors.

Amazon link: Discipline Without Damage: How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This book has been around for a while and is a classic when helping parents to understand effective communication with children. It has been adapted into teenage-specific and young child-specific versions. The young child book (How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King) deals with children from 2 – 7 years and starts with a great quote from Peggy O’Mara, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice,” which is so true and is the premise of all the books.

It provides parents with a toolkit of communication strategies such as ‘acknowledge feelings with words’. It is then organised into chapters based on common, everyday challenges faced by parents of young children.

Amazon link: How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk

The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today that Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow by Dr Laura Jana

This is quite a new book but deserves a mention. I was lucky enough to see Dr Laura Jana talk at a conference last year. She is a paediatrician who runs a large daycare centre in the US so she really knows about young children. Her book is such an interesting one: it borrows from the business world (to consider the skills that children will need to grow to be able to participate in adult life) and combines the science of wellbeing with parenting.

I include it in this list as I think it might really speak to some parents who are firmly embedded in the business world whilst also needing a guide on how to adjust to their relatively new role of parent. It takes a skills-based approach to parenting,
looking at the key skills (or Qi skills as they are called in the book) that children need to develop to become well-rounded individuals and then examining what this looks like in early childhood. It’s a very comprehensive book, offering lots of practical examples of ways that you can support your child.

Amazon link: The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today that Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow

One thing that all the books in this list have in common is that they are taking a long-term view of each child’s development, helping to lay foundations for lifelong communication, problem-solving and relationship building that will support our children into adulthood.

When you’re dealing with a ‘wild’ toddler it is easy to slip into thinking that you are somehow ‘failing’ as a parent, which can lead to resorting to stricter or harsher ways of communicating. Taking a long-term approach and arming yourself with a range of strategies can really help to get through those tough, toddler times.  Research and strategies from most of these books form the basis of the Understanding Your Toddler workshop that I designed and deliver on behalf of Cheshire Parenting Collective.

Working Parents: Hayley

Hayley is self-employed and runs Fiddlebeads. She has six children aged 16 months to 19 years.

At Fiddlebeads we handcraft fiddle, teething and sensory necklaces and accesories, which are made from wooden and/or silicone beads and natural wooden teethers. They are absolutely perfect for babies, toddlers, children and to adulthood and cater for a range of needs including fiddling, teething, sensory or just a stunning, handmade, safe statement piece I am married to Rob, we have been together for 21 years this year and married for 5. We have 6 wonderful children Ryan 19, Olivia 16, Harry 6, Isabella 5, Madeleine 3 and William 16 months. We also have 3 fur babies Luna, Ziggy and Ted.

When Isabella was born she was a complete fiddler when feeding, she was nosy and distracted at the breast and pulled off at every noise. In the sling, she was a total hair puller so Fiddlebeads was born out of me trying to fix my own problem and find something that I would like to, wear as I am not really a massive necklace wearer (well I wasn’t before, I am now, I am never without my Fiddlebeads.)

Rob and I decided together that this we wanted to have a business at home, where we could both be, I wanted to be home for the children and Rob was a carer for his mum. We needed to be flexible for our family needs and this fit beautifully.

Work happens pretty consistently throughout the day, once the children are at school and nursery. Usually, William will nap or sometimes he is in the sling on my back and that is when I will organise what necklaces we have to make and send that day.

I am a total organiser and list lady so I make lots of lists, to do list, to post list, posted list….you see my point! We generally work until 9.30am until 3pm then collect the children and then a little more work and a post run, which is the end of the making part of the day.

Once the kids are in bed, that is usually when I try to do some marketing, social media and make sure all messages are answered. Weekends are less structured and work happens as and when but mostly when the kids are in bed.

The small children think my job is cool and love looking at all the colour combinations. They sometimes ask us to make something for them….perks of your mama being the boss! The older ones, don’t really say much but I know they like that we work from home. I think it’s also really important that we can show them what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

The best thing about my situation is the flexibility: doing something I love and making products I truly believe in. Being a work-at-home mum is really amazing and I am blessed I can be home with my small people.

Sometimes it is hard as Fiddlebeads is our only job and therefore our only income, and not having a fixed salary is sometimes challenging.  Also, our work is in our home so we never really turn off from it.

If you’re a parent looking for flexible working, I would advise you to firstly believe in your product.  Do the best you can, research thoroughly and don’t take shortcuts. Working for yourself is hard and building a good, successful business takes time and effort, don’t do something just to make a quick buck.

View all posts in this series. Are you a working parent? We’d love to hear your story – please get in touch to talk.

Working Parents: Eve

Eve is the founder of Baba+Boo, a brand of reusable nappies and online planet-friendly baby store.

I am chief everything officer. I design our products, run our website and our social media platforms. I am married with two children, a boy aged 10 and a girl who was born 14 but is just still only 8.

Before I had children I was a senior buyer at a procurement company. I loved it but it was really full-on. I realised quite soon after I had my son that I wasn’t going to make it work being a mum and carry on with the hours I did. The company was really young and I was the first to have a baby, so there was not going to be much flexibility. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter while still on maternity leave, it was the decider. It turned out I was made redundant so it worked out ok, as I got a decent package that gave me a little financial breather to decide what I wanted to do.

I have worked since I being 14, so not working and being at home was a shock to my system. I threw myself into being a mum but needed something for me. I wanted to be around the children growing up, so decided to have a go at starting a little business. My husband was all for it, he knew that I wanted to be with the children and supported me while I got the business started.

No day or week is the same. In my ideal day, I get up early and have a brew before the house awakes which is the best start. Then it is making breakfasts and getting the children off to school. 3 days a week, I go to a gym class. I love them, really gives me focus and I usually get more work done after I have done them in the morning.

As I do most things within the business, I usually have set days to do certain jobs such a product development, social media and so on. This doesn’t always pan out but I like to have a plan.

I pick the kids up and we usually have something on – guitar lessons, football, gymnastics – so I am ferrying around after school. Then it’s tea, homework, reading and bedtime. I am usually exhausted before the kids go to bed but as soon as they are asleep, I get a second wind. I’ll usually spend a couple of hours working before I go to bed. I am always usually in the middle of something at 3pm, there are never enough hours in the day.

My children love what I do. They help pack orders in the school holidays and always help me pick prints for our new collection. My son is really interested in the planet and animals, so he loves that my business is helping leave a better planet for his generation.

When they were smaller, they used to come and shut my laptop. That was really hard but I had to squeeze every last drop of work out of every minute. It is so much easier now they are bigger.

Being able to work around my family and the flexibility it brings. I love that I have been around them since they were babies. I can also work when I choose to work, so if I am not feeling it that day, I can take the day off and make up for it at weekend or when it suits me.

I am never off. Holidays are really hard to manage and I never switch off completely. You have to live and breathe your business and it is hard work. Many times, I have wanted to pack in and get a job but the grass isn’t always greener.

People think running a business is so daunting and impossible. It really isn’t, as long as it is something you feel passionate about. There is so much help and support out there for start-ups. It is hard work but being in control of your own family’s time is the best feeling, it is worth it. It just takes a spark sometimes.

View all posts in this series. Are you a working parent? We’d love to hear your story – please get in touch to talk.

Working Parents: Jenni

Jenni owns Your Birth Antenatal Classes and offers MummyNatal mindfulness-inspired birth preparation courses and birth partner workshops in Stockport, Manchester and Tameside. 

I have 2 children, my son who is 3 and a bit, and my daughter who is 18 months but already acts like a threenager! My husband, who also runs his own business, works full time while I balance running my business with further training and being with the children.

I made the decision to leave my job as a high school teacher when my daughter was just a few months old. My own experiences while I was pregnant had left me thinking there must be something more for expectant parents. I’d heard about MummyNatal from a friend and thought it sounded exactly what I wished I’d had during my own pregnancy – except there was no teacher in my area. The Natal Family ethos is all about empowering parents, allowing them space to find out what works for them and their babies, and providing an unbiased antenatal education, giving parents the chance to make fully informed choices. I wanted to bring that opportunity to other families and help them have positive birthing experiences.

At first glance my job seems simple, I teach a few classes per week and I’m with the kids the rest of the time. But the reality is there are many ‘behind the scenes’ hours of hard work that I need to balance with spending time with my children. Each day and each week is different depending on what point of my term I’m at. I’m continually researching information connected to newborn welfare, child development, maternity and postnatal care issues. As an educator, my own education is never finished, I continually reflect on my teaching, learning is never finished!

My family and friends are all very supportive of my career change. My mum takes care of the children a lot if my husband is working long hours so that I can go out to teach. The kids are great about it too, they know when they see me in my purple MummyNatal top that I’m going out to talk with other mums about their babies.

The best thing about my current job is that I am around much more for the children, so it is exactly what I need right now while they are so young. When I’m with my children I try to be mindful of really being present with them, but as I am also on call for my current and prospective clients whenever they need to get in touch, it is a balancing act to make sure everybody gets the care they deserve.

If you are thinking of changing jobs to working for yourself, I’d say it’s vital to make sure you’ve got a support network around you. Without my mum and husband, I just couldn’t do what I’m doing. Also, it’s important to think about not just what you’ll be doing, but how you’ll do it: I’ve gone from being a very social person, interacting with many different staff members and numerous children, to being with just my own 2 children, and working closely with around 10 women per class. Some people might find that difference difficult, and realise their personality isn’t suited to a more isolated type of working. It’s important to balance following your dreams with the realities of any potential job situation and its implications before making a decision.

View all posts in this series. Are you a working parent? We’d love to hear your story – please get in touch to talk.

Our ultimate parenting playlist

We recently asked our social media followers to tell us their favourite parenting songs, and we were overwhelmed by the response! It’s clear that many of us use music to help us out on tough parenting days, so we thought we would curate an Ultimate Parenting Playlist on Spotify.

On it, you’ll find tried-and-tested songs to lift your mood, make you laugh, and feel connected with other parents. Your little ones might enjoy a few, too!

You can find the playlist here – tell us in the comments which songs you would add!