Following our last post in which Osyth answered Bethany’s questions, we have swapped seats and it’s Osyth’s turn to ask Bethany five questions.
You’ve always thought that business and babies should be more compatible, allowing women to go further in their careers without jeopardising the need for a work/life balance suitable for mothers. Now you’re in a position where you’ve launched your own business and had babies. From this standpoint you must feel very keenly the commitment to both camps, family and work – do you see that as liberating or more difficult than working for someone else?
It’s sometimes quite hard to judge as it feels like a lifetime ago that I was working for someone else. Camille was born less than two years ago but I struggle to remember my life before she came along! I guess I have mixed feelings about the subject. On the one hand, I feel sad that women in my position feel they have to choose one or the other, and I feel very strongly that we should be doing more to challenge the status quo and make every workplace more compatible with family life. Mother Pukka’s excellent Flex Appeal campaign is making great strides in this area. Also, I must admit there are times when I just feel a bit ground down by the constant juggling of work and babies and yearn for the days when I could don a smart suit and go kick arse in the office for the day without worrying about anyone else.
But mostly I love family life, and I feel very privileged to have found a way of working that allows me to spend time with my babies – and my sister too! – in a flexible way that means I can be there for them when I need to be. I still get mum guilt though, and constantly feel like I should be doing more with the kids, especially when CBeebies does the babysitting yet again while I jump on a very important call!
At the moment, Julien [your husband] is a SAHD. How did you find it as a family transitioning into different roles?
Wow, that was much harder than I expected! I always knew I was a bit of a control freak but after spending a year doing everything my way, Julien gave up work for a bit to allow me to focus on Bimble and I really struggled to let go and allow him to figure out his own way of doing things.
For his part, I think he struggled with the feeling of being constantly busy but never actually getting anything done. When you are used to ticking things off the to do list and feeling that sense of achievement at the end of the day it takes some adjustment. I had to convince him that all he needed to do was to keep the little one alive, anything else was a bonus!
Since baby Ludo arrived in December he has started work again, but we are lucky he works from home most of the time, so now we juggle things between us, though I do most of the childcare during the day. So I am back to fitting work into nap-times and evenings, but we are muddling through, I love spending more time with him and I’m grateful that he’s been so supportive of my work on Bimble.
What one single thing would make all your hard work on Bimble worth it?
Membership for Babington House and a regular ‘meeting’ at the spa! That’s (sort of) a joke. I think the only thing that really matters to me is to get to a point where Bimble can support both our families without an extra income. That’s the dream, and when we get there all our hard work will be worthwhile!
You had an idea for a dream concept store in Covent Garden. Talk me through it.
So your child’s first pair of shoes is a big deal right? I would love to have a store where you could take your child to be fitted for their first shoes, but the entire store is designed to be the most amazing experience for toddlers. All the furniture is toddler-sized, loads of gorgeous toys and games, and a juice/babyccino bar. Maybe even a DJ and baby dance floor so customers can try out the dancing potential of all the shoes. And of course a photo booth so you can go home with a souvenir photo of your day.
What would you like for your birthday?
For my birthday, I would really like an uninterrupted night’s sleep and a lie-in until 9am. That would be lovely.
Only joking. What’s your inspiration? (Life, business, motherhood or all three!)
Motherhood, without a doubt. Or more broadly family, I guess. What really drove me to set up Bimble with you was the opportunity to spend more time with my babies, with you (and some of our other family members) and to build something for the future that the next generation may benefit from. And really, sisterhood keeps me inspired when things are tough – I can’t imagine doing this without you, and even though you’re on the other side of the world Bimble keeps us close, and for that I am truly grateful.
Also, I really love shoes!
If you want to read some of our interviews from last year, here is a selection of our favourites:
Also, check out the excellent Mother Pukka to find out more about her Flex Appeal campaign: motherpukka.co.uk