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By Ellie Barker

It was all going so well.  You chose the career path you thought was for you.

You got the grades, and then the job.


The career advice you’ve been seeking all these years from colleagues and mentors has told you everything you need to know, and you know exactly where you are heading.

Only, now you are a parent and everything has changed.

Ellie Barker has been speaking with three mothers who swapped their jobs to suit family life, now reaping the rewards.

Abigail Rogers

  • Was an Account Manager.

  • Now a Chiropractor and mum to Reuben, 7 + Poppy, 5.

Why did you feel the need to change?

I was working long hours, sometimes travelling in an environment where the focus was all about making the client happy. Both my parents worked hard when I was young and often weren’t around after school and I did not want to repeat that pattern.

The catalyst was when a close friend was really unwell and it put everything into perspective. So I looked for a career where I could get more job satisfaction and work flexibly.

What are the advantages now?

I work from home, which is really flexible with zero commute. I can take the kids to school and still start work just after 9.00am. I get a lot more washing done! I try to jiggle it all around so I can attend some school trips and events of which there are so many.

Every patient is different. There is no better job satisfaction than making someone better.

Is there anything you miss about your old job?

Sometimes I miss wearing heels and smart clothes. I also miss the water cooler chats, office banter and working as part of a team.

My previous roles also had the added benefit of holiday pay and pension, plus a guaranteed salary at the end of the month. But that said, I still feel very grateful to have changed paths and have never regretted it.

What is your advice for other women wanting to become mothers who want to carry on working, only not in their work now?

Change! Go with your gut instinct, work out a plan and go for it. It is so much easier studying, retraining or starting a business BEFORE little ones become the focus.

Realise that it’s always going to be hard juggling wanting to be the best mum as well as giving everything to your work too but it will get easier, I think (!) as the kids get older. Keep your eye on the end goal.

Retraining takes time (5 and a half years in my case).

Trinske Driscoll-Antonides

  • Was a Product Manager for Herman Miller

  • Now UK Agent for HKliving & STBR + Mum to Kirsten, 9 + Ilse 6

You loved your job before, why did you feel the need to change?

After the arrival of our eldest daughter, I continued to work on a 4-day week basis, but when our second daughter arrived, this wasn’t sustainable.

My job was too demanding alongside my husband’s career without the backup of parents who could help out.

We were completely reliant on childcare that was not flexible. It became too stressful, so something had to give.

I still wanted to work though, so I decided to set up my own business. I started off with my own web shop selling home accessories by Dutch brands.

I have always had an interest in interior design and I know the Dutch market very well as I am from Holland! I later changed it from retail to wholesale.

What are the advantages now?

I was able to start my business very slowly. It was more about self-development at first than financial gain. However now I work full-time and I earn more money than I have ever done before.

Working for myself meant I could combine it much more easily with looking after the girls when they were very young and it still gives me greater flexibility today.

Is there anything you miss about your old job?

I absolutely could not work for somebody else again. I could not give up the freedom to make my own decisions and the flexibility. I’m building my up my business for myself.

The only downside is I never completely switch off.

What would your advice be to others in a similar position?

Believe in yourself, be open-minded and don’t be afraid to ask for or listen to advice. There are more opportunities than you think.

If I ever needed to find a different way of earning a living, I would find something to build a business on and do it all again.

Karen Waddell

  • Was Commercial Manager for BAE Systems

  • Now Sports Massage + Remedial Therapist and Mum of 3.

Why did you change?

I carried on in my old job until my youngest was 4 years old. My eldest and youngest were changing and starting schools and I wanted to be available for them.

I had spent the previous year taking my eldest to lots of hospital appointments. I felt I wasn’t doing the greatest job at home or work.

I feel released! I answer to myself, and my clients only. I can work flexibly around appointments, the odd spa day and be there for my children when I am needed.

My working hours are 9am-3pm and 3 evenings a week. I work from home and I don’t travel long distances. I love my job and the feedback from my amazing clients. I really feel I make a difference.

Do you miss anything about your old job?

Three years down the line, I am very pleased with my decision. I do miss the regular salary and office banter, but wouldn’t go back.

So what would you say to other women in a similar position as you were?

Do what suits you. It worked for me to return to work when my children were very small (returning to a job you know is relatively easy). I took voluntary redundancy so I had some money behind me to retrain and find out what I really wanted to do.

Mothers offer so much in the workplace. They are much more time efficient and much more focussed, but this is often not appreciated by employers.

Returning to work part-time worked initially but it was clear promotion wasn’t easily obtained when you weren’t full-time.

Would you like to swap your 9 to 5 to start working for yourself? Find out how, here.