By Sophie Devonshire (Bb London Founder).
At Babes with Babies London we’re constantly on the lookout for things that make motherhood feel good. Sometimes (rather often) that’s fashion. Sometimes it’s pampering treats. Sometimes it’s fantastically helpful advice.
We are also very aware that motherhood often feels good when mums are able to have choice about how they balance work and looking after their children. So, we offer our team a radically flexible work/life ‘weave’ option (see more on Babes with Babies London’s flexible working policy here). And we do everything we can to help our customers and friends explore the different childcare options. We love coming across great nanny agencies (Eden Nannies for example) and smart online options like the brilliant ‘findababysitter.co.uk’.
Above all we’re fervent supporters of organisations that work with the government to make childcare affordable and accessible for all. As a small business owner who cares about stimulating a growing British economy, I believe this makes fundamental sense; I can’t bear the idea of super-smart women who want to work a little (or a lot) and are trapped and unable to do so. As a feminist, it frustrates me. As a human being, it makes me sad.
Last night I was at no. 11 Downing Street for an interesting event with two childcare charities who are merging this year. The Daycare Trust and the Family & Parenting Institute are sensibly putting all their firepower together to fight this important battle.
Anand, the CEO has been talking calmly and lucidly in the media this week about the controversial childcare reforms & Elizabeth Truss expressed an interesting point of view on ‘wanting to ban the word ‘juggling’ ‘ – her aspiration was to make a balance accepted as the norm. The immediately-likeable Maggie Darling is doing some sterling work in supporting this critical initative. But the stars of the evening were two amazing mums from Liverpool (such a beautiful accent) talking about how their involvement with the Daycare Trust had turned their life around, and how they were on a mission to let everyone know. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk to them but they were incredible, honest and inspirational. Their frustration was that there were lots of women who didn’t know their options. Last night I spoke to someone from the York Family Information Service who expressed the same point of view; there are more options than you think & there are people who genuinely want to help mums who are exploring how they can get back to work. I suggested that he should change the name from Service to Support – small naming changes help indicate that they are on your side. (Always good when you’ve had a couple of glasses of wine to tell complete strangers how to improve their business…. such fun).
Anyhow, this prompted me to think that I’d really like to see parenting-related companies on a bit of a mission to ‘spread the news’ about childcare information. So we should probably lead the way. A recent survey said that 79% of new mums with kids under 18 use social media. So it’s a great way to encourage people to spread the word. There are more options than you think. See above for our nanny & childcare info top tips + if you’d like to work from home please do checkout WorkingMums who we think are fabulous. We have recruited through them in the past though and normally get thousands of applications. Note: If you’re applying for something, always make sure you write a cover letter which conveys your personality and why you want (and are suited) to the job. Don’t assume that experience is always the only criteria; we certainly believe attitude = aptitude is incredibly powerful as an employee. And if you want to take a job outside the home and are struggling to find childcare options, check out the Daycare Trust’s childcare guide and ask, ask, ask around. There are a myriad of options and it would be a shame to miss out through not knowing. We’ll continue to bring you work/life balance and childcare tips through our Twitter account too so please do get in touch with us if you have any more ideas and tips for how to make brilliant childcare choices more available for everyone.
Because childcare is complicated enough even when it is available…
Links for finding out more childcare options:
- WorkingMums: Jobs where you can work flexibly/from home.
- The Babes with Babies London flexible way of working.
- The Daycare Trust’s childcare guide
- Find your Family Information service
- Look for childcare options though ‘findababysitter.co.uk’.
- Follow Babes with Babies London on Twitter.