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.