Four mums on career change Lydia's story

Four mums on career change: Lydia's story

We all know that having children and holding down a job is a serious juggling act, but you don't have to be superwoman to make it work. Heidi Scrimgeour speaks to four mums who changed career to get the balance right

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'Becoming a mum made me realise that I was capable of so much more'

Lydia, mum to Atticus, 3, and Idris, 1

 'I worked as a food buyer for Waitrose for 18 years. It was a perfect job but I spent ten years dreaming about working for myself, although I struggled to come up with an idea that would pay the bills, and was scared of failing.

'Having children finally gave me the courage to give up a full-time, well-paid job with a final-salary pension to go it alone.

'When Atticus was born my idea for a business started coming together. Then when Idris was born two years later I decided to take a year's maternity leave, to give myself time to work through my idea and try to get the business off the ground.

'Becoming a mum made me realise that there's more to working life than earning money. I need enough to pay the bills, obviously, but after 20 years of corporate life I wasn't driven by the pay cheque anymore. I wanted to spend the time I was at work away from my children doing something that I actually loved.

'What surprised me about motherhood was how much I was capable of. You pace the floor at 4am night after night and rock your baby to sleep until you think your arms are going to fall off, but before parenthood I didn't think I had that kind of commitment.

Becoming a mum made me realise that I was capable of much more than I had recognised.

'Now I work full-time from home running Flavour for Baby, which is a dream come true. I create and share recipes and meal plans designed for weaning babies but which the whole family can eat, and which only take 30 minutes to prepare.

Food is my passion, and I love my work.

'I'm also speaking to a publisher about writing a food book, and I have plans to diversify as a freelance food consultant.

'Before I started my own business Atticus used to be at nursery full-time but now he goes four days a week for fewer hours. I work full-time hours but get to spend so much more time with the children. And I love the flexibility I have. When Atticus went through a clingy period recently I was able to collect him from nursery at lunchtime to spend more time with him.'

Lydia's secrets for success

✦ 'Save as much money as you can before starting your business. This will help you to avoid panicking about paying the bills when things don't go to plan – which is bound to happen sometimes.'

✦ 'Network. Tell all your friends and family about your business, and you'll be amazed at the help you're offered. There are a lot of very kind people out there.'

✦ 'Believe in your idea, and in your ability to make it work.'

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