As your newborn grows into a tiny person, then a crazy ball of cute chaos, the thought of returning to work can seem daunting. It's definitely one of the most talked-about topics between my NCT pals. And that's what inspired this new ROOW feature. Mums and dads who are running their own businesses, climbing the corporate ladder, or experiencing the juggle of working life with being a primary baby or child-carer share their stories and their top tips to help other working parents in the same situation.
Next up are the fab gals behind Love Boo - a baby and mama toiletry brand that's always in our bathroom. Jennifer Gledhill and Corinna Labrosse met in 1994 working as writers on Top of The Pops Magazine – interviewing Backstreet Boys and Blur - and even say they named the Spice Girls - more of which later! Over to Jennifer, who's 45, from Wakefield and has two kids: Thomas, 12 and Maisy, 10.
Where did your big idea come from?
"Corinna, my business partner and I were on maternity leave with our girls (she had Poppy at the same time as I had Maisy). As beauty product addicts, we were complaining about how hard it was to find baby skincare that was natural, looked gorgeous and was effective. We wanted a nappy cream that actually worked! The idea for Love Boo came from there. But we ended up going back to our day jobs and spent a couple of years talking about the idea but not really having time to do anything about it.."
How did you launch it?
"Through trial and error. We found a directory which listed all the UK-based natural chemists and one by one, we met them to discuss our idea for a baby range. It took a long time to meet the best team to work with, and even longer to find the best packaging, design labels . After two years, we finally had a core range of products, displayed them at trade shows and thankfully, lots of retailers loved them – we’re now stocked in Harrods, John Lewis, Wholefoods and also overseas."
What's the balance of running family and corporate life?
"As any working parent will tell you, you never feel as if you have the balance sorted! And although running your own company means you never totally switch off and there’s a constant ping of emails coming through no matter if it is the weekend or 11pm at night, the benefit is that there is flexibility. Everyone who works at Love Boo is a parent - therefore we don’t even need to explain, if one of the children is ill or there’s a crisis at home then the rest of the team will take up the slack. My daughter was very ill last year and during that time, nothing else mattered, the rest of the team understood that and I just worked when I could."
What are your top tips to other working mums?
"Work really hard on not feeling guilty. It’s a trap all of us mums fall in to and as my children have grown older, I’ve realised that they don’t even remember any of the stuff I used to beat myself up about – i.e going away to trade shows etc. I’ve always tripped over myself trying to go to every school concert, play, sports event – the other day, I realised I hadn’t booked tickets to a concert my daughter was singing at and she actually said she’d be glad to not see me waving manically like a lunatic from the sidelines. That’s gratitude for you!"
How did you feel about going back to work after maternity leave - any tips?
"I was really worried. We lived in London when I had both children and I struggled with finding the right childcare when I went back to work part-time. I eventually settled on a lovely childminder for my son. When my plain-speaking mother-in-law came down from Yorkshire she said ‘I don’t trust that woman, how can you leave your child with a stranger?’ I wanted to strangle her! But as the kids get older you relax a little and think, as long as they’re happy, clothed and fed you’ve done a good job."
"There’s been lots of cringey moments. Corinna and I not having a clue about business terms or pricing means we have said lots of embarrassing things in meetings... And I once rang a web designer and told him all about our business and order levels etc only to find out he was married to the woman who owned our biggest competitor."
What's been a career high?
"That we helped name the Spice Girls?! One day, a new girl band popped in and I, Corinna and the team were given the job of coming up with nicknames for them – which is how Sporty, Scary etc came about and the rest is pop history! We moved on to become editors of other teen magazines over the years, including Sugar, TV Hits and Sneak before becoming mums and launching Love Boo."
Win! A Love Boo Ultimate Mummy Kit worth £70.00
Run Out of Womb readers can win an amazing set of the award-winning Love Boo Mummy range - including...
Soft & Creamy Body Smoother to tackle cellulite and dry skin
Miracle Oil to help treat stretch marks and uneven skin tone.
Splendidly Soothing Bath Soak to wind away your worries and soothes aches and pains
Bosom Buddy to treat breasts throughout pregnancy and nursing and beyond, keeping them perkier, moisturised and soothed.
Magic Balm, the wonder-salve to soothe breast-feeding nipples, sore lips, chapped skin and a whole host of other skin conditions.
Perineum Massage Oil to massage on to the perineum area from week 34 to help avoid stitches during birth (and great for Baby Massage too!)