Four mums on career change: Sarah's story
Heidi Scrimgeour speaks to four mums who changed career to get their work and home life balance right
'I'm more involved in the children's school life, and in the local community too'
Sarah, mum to Lily, 7 and Thea, 4
'I spent ten years working in marketing for blue-chip companies before I had a baby. I worked very long hours and spent a lot of time entertaining clients, but once I became a mum I started craving a much more creative work life. I also wanted to spend more time with my daughters than my career allowed.
'While on maternity leave after Lily was born I spent a lot more time in the garden and slowly started redesigning it. That's when I realised garden design was what I really enjoyed. I returned to work part-time and took a garden design course online.
'Before I had children I didn't think of doing this for a living but after my second baby I negotiated redundancy. That gave me breathing space to spend a year developing my business idea. I finally launched Sarah Kay Garden Design when the girls were five and two.
'I've created a rooftop vegetable garden at their school and as part of the Chelsea Fringe, which happens at the same time as the Chelsea Flower Show, I ran a local gardening festival, during which we built a wildlife garden in the playground. It was a real community event; the children made bird feeders, and local people brought in plants from their own gardens.
'I've taken a significant pay cut but it's worth it because I'm not paying for childcare and we don't have that stressful existence where you have to cram everything into the weekends. I can drop off and collect the children from school almost every day, and am much more involved in their school life.
'I'm more involved in the local community too. I know my neighbours and other local business-owners, which would never have happened if I'd stayed in my previous career.'
Sarah's secrets for success
✦ 'To allow for uninterrupted thinking, make sure your workspace is well away from the kitchen, washing machine or children's rooms.'
✦ 'Tell people in the local community – hairdressers, café owners, parents in the playground – what you do for a living. You just never know where new business will come from.'
✦ 'Organise your days into blocks of time for family, housework, work and me-time, so you're not trying to do it all at once.'