Jess Nelson

All the working mum stories we’ve shared so far have told us about the benefits of returning to work from financial gains, keeping your career on track and knowing your self-worth but none have spoken about how work can tackle loneliness. I think most mothers and carers, especially those on maternity leave would relate to not having adult company for most of the day. Meet Jess, who as a single mum has overcome personal challenges and has nailed flexible working. This is her story…

Jess Nelson, Owner of Maggie J Jewellers and Mother to a 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

Tell me about what you do?
I own and manage a jewellery shop and have to be involved in every aspect of the business such as tasks like choosing the jewellery for window displays.

Tell me a bit about your routine?
School/nursery run
Open shop
Serve my lovely customers
School/nursery run
Back to shop
Close shop

Luckily as it’s my own business I am able to bring the kids into work with me. They’ve been coming to the shop with me since they were babies (I even had to breastfeed & change nappies in the back of the shop- the glamour of the working mum!)

What is work/life balance to you?
I feel I have a good work/life balance. It’s the main benefit of running my own business.

Are you able to work flexibly?
Most definitely, I currently work 2 full days and 3 half days. I am able to get cover when I need it from my mum (who co-owns the shop with me) and our part-time lady fills in too.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
For a long while, I was a single mum too. This was the biggest challenge of all, but the ability to work and distract myself was such a help. Only having kids to go home to every evening & wake up with every morning (and during the night) was so hard, so I really appreciated the adult company on the days I worked. The downside was the overwhelming pressure to be the breadwinner and be emotionally stable for the kids & the business was very challenging. I am now in a happy & healthy relationship and running my own retail business, raising two kids, and still being me…it’s just one big juggling act in the circus that is life but the most rewarding!

I think that’s the best way to describe being a working mum!

In the UK what could society/government do better to help working parents?
Due to financial strains, it is essential as I’m sure it is for most mums, that I go back to work. Although this is empowering, ‘Mum guilt’ still plays on my mind. This has got easier as the kids have been at school & nursery more, which I wouldn’t have been able to do without the government funding of 15hr free child care. Although there is more that can be done without this I would have struggled to afford a good work/life balance.


Author: Kim Verbrugge

LinkedIn Consultant | LinkedIn Alumni | Helping SMEs grow their brands and make better business connections.

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