The Work and Family Show – Feb 21st and 22nd

work and family

21st & 22nd February 2014 – ExCeL London

I am often asked “How do you manage a business, working from home full time and a family?” and more frequently, “How can I?”. The first ever Work and Family Show which has been sponsored by My Family Care and Sky Broadband Shield has been set up to help working parents with that all important work/life balance.

Sadly I am unable to go because I love the idea of this show and would enjoy the opportunity to see it first hand and report back directly about how it went however for those who are able to attend it could very well be one of the best personal and professional decisions you will ever make.

The show is all about giving you the information you need to take those first steps into self-employment or for those already experienced in working for themselves, additional opportunities and invaluable information.

The Work & Family Show will include the following dedicated areas:

  • Recruitment & Employers – Work Opportunities (sponsored by
  • Career Advice & Personal Development – Education & Advice
  • Image, Style & Media Resources – Personal Branding & Development
  • Family Services, Enablers & Networking – Support Systems
  • Franchise, Self-Employment & Start Up Business – Going it Alone

Tickets are available from from just £12, and people coming to the neighbouring Baby Show will have free entrance*.

Opening times:

Friday 21st February: 9.30am – 5pm (trade and press entry from 8.30am on Friday for a networking breakfast)

Saturday 22nd February: 10am – 5pm

Treating Maternity Leave as a Sabbatical by Erica Douglas

Last year I was invited on BBC Radio Scotland to talk about maternity leave.  I was the one who’d taken extended leave (almost five years in total!), a decision I don’t regret at all.

The discussion began relatively balanced before becoming more pro work at the end.  Callers were predominantly promoting a quick return to work, citing the usual reasons from financial need to social reasons.

On reflection of the debate I began to think that the benefits of taking a period out from work weren’t promoted enough.  We seem to have the same debate over and over again about whether it’s right to return to work as soon as possible or become a stay at home mum.  One aspect that is overlooked is that maternity leave can be an opportunity to take stock, reassess your life and take it in a different direction.  Maternity leave brings a chance to study, retrain and even start your own business, mums who do this have become known as ‘mumpreneurs’.

It’s all to easy for us as women and mothers to complain about glass ceilings and inequality in the workplace.  I’m not for a second saying that these don’t exist (it’s clear they do) or indeed that it’s right (it’s not) but I don’t see why we don’t focus more on what we are given – a decent period of time out where we can change our paths and opt out of the unfairness and inequality.

Most mums take at least six months out these days and although that period can be physically and emotionally tiresome I personally still felt that mentally I had space for other things – so much so I ended up starting my blog and doing some part time study.  As my daughter has grown up I’ve managed to gain an HNC (now working towards a degree) and even start, fail and succeed in business.

It’s been a long and often disappointing and exasperating road but a lot more fulfilling than some of the alternatives.  I’d encourage more women to embrace maternity leave and use it to their advantage.  We don’t have to settle for the low-paid, part-time, temporary and often dull work that society offers us.  If you count up how much you’d earn from a job like that and take off your expenses you may find that starting even the smallest venture could be more lucrative and a hundred times more fulfilling.

Over the five years I’ve been a stay at home mum (albeit with a few part-time jobs) I’ve learned that if you really want to make it happen and you’re willing to sacrifice and put the hard work in that anything is possible and the pay off at the end is huge!

Move from Mum to Mumpreneur in a Month with our FREE e course.

Erica Douglas is mum to Erin, 5, and lives outside Edinburgh. She runs the blog and is the author of The Complete Mum Blogger eBook and the Mum Blogger e-Course. Erica won the 2010 ‘Best Start Up’ award at the Business Mums Awards. She is someone I follow closely as 1) she makes a lot of sense, knows what she’s talking about and gives great business advice, and 2) because she has a wicked sense of humour! Not one to miss, so read on and don’t forget that you can also find Erica on Twitter.

Nicki x