I had dreamed of becoming a mum for years and honestly felt so much joy when my son Henry was born. He is 14 months old now and every day feels like such a blessing (yes, even when I’m incredibly sleep deprived and smeared in peanut butter!).   

Meeting other mums

I felt so lucky to have met so many incredible women in the groups I was attending. Namely, my Basking Babies massage class where I met other first-time mums with the same worries and questions that I had - when will he sleep through the night? Why hasn’t he pooed today? Is he gaining enough weight?

Then simmering in the background, there were always the questions about myself - what kind of mum will I be? Where does ‘mum’ end and Laura begin? Will I ever feel like myself again? Can I make it through another day feeling this exhausted?  

The friendships I forged with the other women around me made me feel so empowered and strong, like I could do anything, and that I was a good mum, despite doubting myself multiple times a day!  Those first few months feel like such a blur of happy memories of lukewarm teas, sensory classes, baby massage, and hastily eaten sandwiches surrounded by prams in coffee shops.  

The feeling of work dread

But I remember experiencing an encroaching feeling of dread as gradually more and more of the women around me started to return to work. It was like I was on borrowed time, watching the calendar countdown to the day I'd have to leave my baby boy and start the next chapter in my mama juggle.   

Prior to having Henry, I had been a social worker working with children with disabilities in London boroughs for over a decade. It was a career I had absolutely loved and felt confident in. Nearly all of my friends had also been social workers too, so it had become an intrinsic part of my identity over the years. I wasn’t quite sure who I would be if I wasn’t a social worker.   

Then my son was born, and everything changed. 

Suddenly, I was a mummy and I had the most important job in the world. So truthfully, being a social worker just didn’t feel that important to me anymore.   

The thought of returning to a 9-5 office job with a long commute to London started to fill me with anxiety. The mum-guilt felt real enough just when I went to the supermarket alone! The idea of leaving him for long hours several days a week just wasn’t something I wanted to ever contemplate. It didn’t matter that so many other parents told me how good it would be for Henry to go to nursery, it just didn't feel right for us.   

Suddenly, I was faced with the kinds of decisions I had never given a moment's thought about - nursery or childminder, full-time or part-time work, leaving work altogether!  

A change of heart

Ultimately, after a lot of discussion with my husband, we made the decision that felt totally right for us, which was that I wouldn’t return to my job as a social worker, at least for the time being. Despite it feeling like this was absolutely the right decision for my family, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of loss for the career that I'd worked so hard for and the identity I had developed through my work. 

It took some time to accept the choice I had made and the financial impact it would have on us as a family.   

I realise how extremely fortunate I was that an opportunity came up in Basking Babies to start my own business and become my own boss. It literally felt like I could have it all - a fulfilling career with financial independence, whilst not sacrificing any time with Henry.   


I was very fortunate that things really worked out for me in the end. My husband’s shift pattern matched up with the days that I taught my classes and so he was able to take over care responsibility for Henry on those days. This meant that we avoided having to put him in a nursery placement before we felt truly ready (and before I felt Henry was ready).   

Work-life balance

I’ve now been running my business since April, and I absolutely love it. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I get to be a mum to my gorgeous son and be present for all the important moments, while also having a fulfilling career doing something I am completely in love with and brings me so much joy.   


Henry is starting at nursery in the autumn, with a few of his other friends whom we've met in our classes over the last year. I still feel apprehensive about it, but I also feel that now is the right time for him to be in a setting where his social skills and communication are going to come on in leaps and bounds. I also feel positive about the nursery, which I really like and have heard good things about in my local community. I still don’t feel that anyone can take care of him the way that I can, but I'm loving the idea of having a bit of time back for me - time to run my beautiful business and feel like I have a bit more control over my life (wishful thinking?)

I’ll let you know how we get on!   


About the author


Laura Burchett

Franchise owner & instructor at Basking Babies Basildon, Canvey & Wickford.