Another wonderful story from someone who has switched career to do something they love and that works around family life. Sophie did Game Changers last year and has made some pretty ace changes…
Q. Tell us a bit about you and your family set up?
Hello! I’m Sophie, I’m married to Pete and I have a 16-month-old daughter Eliza. We live in a town in Surrey with our two cats (who are unexpectedly large and furry – that’s the risk you take with rescue cats!!).
Q. Tell us your story, what brought you to the point of doing Game Changers?
Before I had Eliza my job was unpredictable and involved working long hours without much flexibility. No one in the team worked part time which I hadn’t really considered until I got pregnant, but I just assumed it would be fine, I’d come back part time after I’d had the baby and to be honest, I didn’t think too much more about it (it seemed like a long way off at that point!)! Once I’d had Eliza I realised that I wanted to be doing something I really loved in the time I spent away from her and I wanted the flexibility to be able to get her up in the morning and give her breakfast, be at home with her when she gets ill and take her on playdates with her friends.
About half way through my maternity leave I had realised that I really didn’t want to go back to my old job. The pressure, the commute, the lack of flexibility and the expectation to be there as late as was needed every night just didn’t fit with having a baby at home/in nursery. I was consumed by thought of what else I could do instead of going back to my old job but I just couldn’t think of what that could be and I felt like I needed a clear plan before I really committed and told them I wasn’t going back. I saw the Game Changers course on Facebook while I was mindlessly scrolling my way through another early morning breastfeeding session! The change I was hoping to make was huge for us as a family and I felt like the course would give me a structured way to work through all the different things I needed to consider as well as meet some other mums going through a similar thing. The course was brilliant and it really helped me explore my values and strengths (something I hadn’t really sat down and considered before!) and how they might work together to create a career I would love. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and as part of the course I went and tried it for a day… and hated it!! It could have been a real negative but it actually felt great to really understand what I did and didn’t want to do, and that I had a choice in that!
Q. What has happened since, what is it that you are doing now?
The course helped me see that my values and priorities had shifted since I had Eliza and finding work that was aligned with my new life was ok and I didn’t have to go back to my old job because that’s what everyone expected me to do! I researched a lot of different options and decided to do a Digital Mums course which was 6 months of remote learning and led to a qualification in social media management. During the course I set up a campaign to support mums postnatally for the first year after having a baby. I absolutely loved writing micro blogs on Instagram and connecting with other mums. The feedback I got was really positive and I started to see there was a real gap for reliable advice and support for mums throughout that first year.
I’ve just finished the Digital Mums course and am launching a postnatal support hub called The Baby Bubble in June this year. It will give mums access to a community of other mums as well as expert advice tailored to each stage of that first year, from sleep experts helping in the 4 month sleep regression to a nutritionist running a virtual workshop on weaning.
Q. What is the best and worst part of your new situation?
The best part of our new situation is the flexibility I have and the time I get to spend with Eliza. In the early part of this year she had a chest infection followed by the flu followed by conjunctivitis! Obviously it was stressful and I had to work in the evenings to keep on top of things but being with her in the days without having to justify it to anyone else was exactly why I made the move.
One of the harder parts has been doing a lot of personal development work. I had no idea how much working for myself would involve working on my mindset. Self-doubt, fear of failure and my relationship with money have all been things I’ve had to address and find strategies to improve. Also, it can be lonely working from home on your own and sometimes you just don’t know how to move forward with something. None of my friends or family own their own business and at the beginning it felt a little isolating. After becoming part of a few Facebook groups I started chatting to other mums in similar situations and now I have a great group of friends who I can bounce work ideas off and we all share our skills and knowledge.
Q. What have you learnt along the way and is there anything you’d have done differently?
My biggest lesson has probably been that making your own rules is harder than you think! For so long I worked in a big corporation with structure and processes that I tried to transfer my ways of working to my new life and whilst some things work, others really don’t! Things like I don’t have to feel guilty if I want to have a massage on a day I have childcare! Or if something doesn’t work, I don’t have to keep going with it just because I’ve told people that’s what I’m doing, I can take the learning, change it and move on!
If I went back and did anything differently it would be to put less pressure on myself to try and do everything all at once. I only have a about 15 hours a week to work but I was trying to cram a full time job in to that space and inevitably I was dropping balls and losing sight of why I was trying to find a new way to work. I recently took time out to do a vision board to put on the wall and remind me of my ‘why’ which has helped me a lot.
Q. How does it work for you combining work and family and everything else? What is your set up like?
I work at home 3 days a week while Eliza is looked after by my parents/parent in law for two days as well as one day at nursey. We are lucky to live close to our families and they are incredibly flexible so if something comes up on one of my non-working days, they can normally help. My husband leaves the house early but tries to get back every evening to do bath and bedtime which was something he always wanted to be able to do. It’s still a juggling act and I work in the evenings more than I’d like but I know I’m in the thick of it at the moment and I’m starting to be able to put more boundaries in place to get more of a balance going forward.
Game Changers gave me the opportunity to take a step back and look at what I actually wanted from my life. Looking at what my values, beliefs and strengths were and how I could combine them to make a career I loved that also worked around my family was, for me, quite liberating. It gave me the confidence boost to take the first step and make a change that has had a really positive impact on my life.
Q. How can people get in touch or find out more?
My website is www.mamabubabump.co.uk and I’m on Instagram and Facebook as @mamabubabump. I also have a free Facebook group called The Baby Bubble which is a really friendly, supportive place to ask other mums for advice and every Thursday we have an expert answering your questions which is really popular!
You can read more about the Game Changers programme here.