As we look ahead to International Women’s Day on 8 March, it got us thinking about our journey leading up to starting Little Ankle Biters, and the challenges that many women face on a daily basis just to make things work.
Kate and I worked together in a large corporate for nine years and were always very focussed on our careers in marketing – we thoroughly enjoyed our time working on that chapter of our lives. A series of internal changes left us in a situation where we were having to suddenly commute a significant distance, and in a position where we just weren’t getting to spend time with our children during the week.
Coming to the realisation that this situation wasn’t going to work for our families, we decided to walk away from our jobs, the security of that income, and a career and company that we had both loved for the longest of times. It was without a doubt a time of mixed feelings, but largely excitement at what the future was going to hold.
Making this decision at the same time did leave us open to an opportunity to carry on working together, and suddenly we knew more than anything that we wanted to find an option that let us carry on working, doing what we love, and still be at home for our young children too. We spent time chatting it all through, and Little Ankle Biters was born. Little Ankle Biters is a website for families and carers of children. We wanted to create a place where parents could come and find everything they need for their family life, in one place. Family life is constantly busy, constantly tiring and you’re left constantly juggling lots of balls that sometimes feel like they’re on fire. Our website helps take some of the pressure off and gives access to all the fun things happening locally as well, so parents can make the most of their weekends and time off with the kiddies. On the site you’ll find things like; days out, what’s on locally, places to eat out with the kids, clubs and classes, competitions and more. Little Ankle Biters now covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, with the aim of rolling this out to other counties. We’d love to support other mums and dads in their flexible working hunt by setting them up with a county to run.
While we’re very happy in our new situation, we have so many conversations with family, friends and the support network we’ve built up running this business, where we hear the same story told through a different voice and a different scenario, but ultimately the same narrative. The women trying to do it all. The women surviving on little sleep, a good pinch of stress and a lot of caffeine. Our worlds are bursting with these brilliant people, and we take our hat off to you all.
It leaves us wondering, when did work start meaning that you needed to make a choice between your career and your family? Maybe it’s always been like this and the clout of social media just means we’re more aware of the struggles many women face now? Either way, something needs to change drastically. Women can’t be in this position and there needs to be a significant change soon so that we can work flexibly around our families, if that’s what a parent wants. Obviously, there are businesses out there doing a good job in supporting this way of working, but so many more need to get on board and realise the benefits a flexible workforce can have on their business. Families are changing, there’s no template anymore, and work conditions need to change to reflect this huge shift in our society.
If you want to find out more about the move towards work that works for all, why not give Anna Whitehouse AKA Mother Pukka and Joeli Brearley’s Pregnant then Screwed a follow. Social media is full of women sharing their experiences and giving advice to help support others, but these are two accounts we’ve loved following on our journey.
We’re surrounded by strong women whether they’re in paid employment, or doing arguably the toughest job of all; the unpaid, 24-hour relentless home mum role. What we take out of it all is that no matter what decisions we make as women we’re left compromising something. Time with our families. Time for ourselves. Time for our careers. The guilt is real and it’s palpable. It’s time for change.
So, here’s to the amazing women out there; you reading this article, the women on all walks of life, all getting to the same end point and doing it in their own incredible style. Happy International Women’s Day.
Fancy joining the Little Ankle Biters Team?
To find out more about opportunities with the Little Ankle Biters team, click here.