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Why Working Moms Are Turning To Starting Their Own Businesses

by Emma Griffiths

Emma Griffiths is the founder of the brand My Cariad, making ethically-made dresses, perfect for swirling around in.

Until you’re in it, you’ve no idea what it entails. No, I’m not talking about Glastonbury (though 100% this also applies) I’m talking about being a working Mom. Expensive childcare, the minefield of tax-free childcare, zipping off as soon as 5.30 pm hits to avoid late pick-up fees, not to mention the GUILT of dropping off your sobbing little one as you go off to get an overpriced coffee and sit in a badly lit, cold office with people who judge you for clock watching/working from home/taking time off as your baby has a cold AGAIN. It’s tough.

Charities such as Pregnant Then Screwed and Mother Pukka’s ‘Flex Appeal’ are working to improve lives for working parents, pushing for affordable childcare and better flexible working options, but as the Government's recent announcement of a ‘letter-writing campaign to get mothers back to work’ suggests, the powers that be are not quite getting it.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom, it was ingrained in my bones as the eldest of four kids to nurture and care for those younger than me, but when it eventually happened and I was blessed with tiny Lennon, I wasn’t prepared to traverse the maze of working motherhood and the barriers it created. Fashion is glamorous but isn’t known for paying the big bucks and a daily expensive commute into London would mean after childcare costs I would barely break even monthly, so what was the point?

Like many others before me, I took a plunge into the unknown and started my own business. It’s reported that one in three women are now looking to quit or change their jobs, so it’s no wonder that when you google "mom quits job to launch own business" you get a myriad of stories of moms who have done just that. There’s even an award for mompreneur of the year, but why?

For me, it was almost a no-brainer. I’d be out of pocket and emotionally stressed going back to work and Lennon was also a terrible sleeper (I’ve no idea how Moms of bad sleepers go into work and function, I bow down to you) so the thought of going back to my old job, full of inflexibility and a long commute, filled me with dread. I’d been having thoughts about starting an ethical dress brand for a while, I’m a midi dress obsessive and I knew the fashion industry as it stands was in dire need of a change, so in an effort to make something for me and my, at the time three-month-old, I took the plunge and we haven’t looked back since.

Of course, it’s not come without its own set of challenges, meetings with a sleeping baby on my chest, fear of it not working out and late nights picking fabrics and looking at swatches. We’ve got a long way to go, my business is only in its infancy and I’m equal parts excited and terrified to see where it takes us, but looking at Lenny’s little grin as we sit down for a babychino on a Wednesday morning he’s the biggest drive for me to make my business succeed.