Be a working mum – and stay with your toddler

Ways to be a working mum that don’t involve childcare and commuting.

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Here’s how other mums managed to work and stay with their child at the same time.

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Start your own baby business

When her son, Sam, now 2, was born, Julie White, 37, from Milton Keynes, set up her own company selling baby items at mum-and-baby tea parties. “It was great,” she says. “I got to meet lots of other mothers and I was my own boss, so I was totally flexible and could spend all day with Sam.”

Her venture took off when she appeared on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. She was offered investment to expand her business – Truly, Madly, Baby – which enabled her to employ other mums to host parties to sell her stock. “It’s satisfying to know that my company enables loads of other mothers to earn a living from home.”

For Val Briggs, 35, from Norwich, inspiration was found in cloth nappies. “I found a good cloth nappy when I had my son Tom, now 6, and saw it could be a business opportunit

“I wrote a business plan for the bank, and I took a business start-up course. A small grant enabled me to buy stock. Tom’s at school and my daughter, Jess, 3, goes to nursery most mornings, so I can get on with work. It can be hard to switch off, but I have a separate office space so I can shut the door when I need to.”

Become a childminder

By registering as a childminder while still pregnant, Cheryl Robinson, 26, from Hertfordshire, was able to start earning when her daughter, Shannon, nearly 6, was just a few months old. Cheryl now has a new baby Gwen-Rose, 12 weeks, and is already childminding at home five afternoons a week. “I love being my own boss, it’s great for my kids to have company and it pays well, too.”

Set up a baby class

Trish Cummings, 36, from London, has three children, Alex, 17, Pip, 4, and Peter, 1. She used to work in PR and when she enrolled in a baby sign-language class with her daughter, Pip, she had no idea how much it would affect her life.

“I wasn’t looking for a job, but I fell in love with the ‘Sing and Sign’ classes. When the opportunity arose to buy a franchise, I just had to do it. I work term time only and although it doesn’t pay hugely well, I love having my own income and it’s incredibly rewarding. I bring Peter along to my classes, which is a great way for new mums to see what they can achieve.”

Become an Avon lady

“I started selling Avon products when Jess started pre-school as a way of earning extra cash, but I was also looking for a chance to run my own business,” says Charlie Marston, 34, from Warwickshire and mum to Jess, 4, and Oliver, 2 months. “I do my rounds while Jess is at school, and Oliver comes with me. It’s been a great way to get to know everyone in the village.”

Write a children’s book

This option won’t give you an immediate or regular income, and there’s no guarantee your work will get published! However, it’s a great way to keep your mind ticking over when you’re at home with your toddler, or after work when you want to do something for yourself.

When her children, Molly, now 9, and Ella, now 6, were young, Jenny Valentine, 36, from Powys in Wales, spent her evenings writing. She’s now just had her first children’s book, Finding Violet Park, published by HarperCollins.

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“I’ve always been interested in words, but becoming a mum made me work harder at it – suddenly my time was limited and I didn’t want to waste it. I wrote my first book after work, when the children were in bed, and at the weekends. It’s lovely to be able to show them that you can be creative and still pay the bills.

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