There’s a strange contradiction when you give up employment to set up a business of your own. You want to spend more time with your family, and yet you still have to do work at some point. Finding the right balance for your family can be a very tricky task.

Two boys hold hands as they walk to pre-school through falling snow.
My oldest taking his little brother to nursery for the first time.

A Safe Pair of Hands

If you’re lucky you might have family nearby, Grandparents who are happy to look after your little ones for a morning here and there so you can work. Some very fortunate souls even have a regular arrangement of a day or two a week. Guaranteed work time where you know your children are having fun, being lovingly cared for and building family memories that will last a lifetime.

But what if you aren’t so lucky?

There are all sorts of options, working while your baby naps, swapping childcare with a friend, hiring a local teen for a few hours, hiring a professional nanny, or using a childminder or nursery. Of course they all come with different amounts of flexibility and different price tags.

Mum Guilt Gets Us All!

Whatever you choose to do, it’s easy to feel guilty. Either you feel like you’re constantly ignoring your children while you write “one last email”, or you worry that work doesn’t have your full attention. Maybe you feel like you should be caring for your baby yourself and not using childcare at all.

The truth is, children don’t need your undivided attention 24 hours a day. A bit of independent play or some time to socialise with friends is good for them! I know my two year old would far rather be at nursery, digging in the sand and getting covered in glitter, than stuck at home with me. He made that obvious when he cried because he didn’t want to leave at the end of his first day!

I believe that the best thing for your family as a whole, is also the best thing for the individuals in your family. I could probably find research saying that home is the best environment for small children, but what if staying at home all the time harms Mum’s mental health? Or if the family can’t afford to eat? It has to be better for a child to go to good quality childcare and have happy parents, who aren’t worrying about paying for basic essentials. Your situation might not be so extreme, but the principle still applies.

The Freedom of Choice

The best thing about having your own business is the flexibility it gives you.

You can choose to work one day a week, plus a little admin time on the other days, or to only work mornings.

You can shuffle things around to allow for school plays, doctor appointments and special birthday treats without having to ask permission

You can be with them for the important moments, but that doesn’t mean you have to be with them all the time.