Someone once told me that becoming a mother is like discovering the existence of a strange new room in the house where you already live.
I thought this was a great description because it’s more precise than the shorthand most people use for life with a newborn: Everything changes.
Because a lot of things do change, of course, but for new mothers, some of the starkest differences are also the most influential ones — the giving up the dream job and staying at home to raise the children. Which, as it turns out, also make us stop and think about our future career.
When I first starting talking about returning to study with my husband, who is never short of a motivational gem, he said: ‘You are never too old to set another goal and dream.’
I answered back that I was definitely not too old, but could I handle being a new mother and studying? I knew I wanted to further my career and being a stay at home mum with my own business would be handy… but could I do both?
Every day I am reading stories of stay at home mums who are finding ways to work from home, run a business and still contribute to the household income. They have gone back to school, finished degrees and have turned themselves into self-made millionaires.
Some of these include the incredible Carolyn Creswell who is the founder of Carman’s Fine Foods. She started with only $1,000 in her pocket, at the tender age of 18 and is now Australia’s number one selling muesli brand on our major supermarket shelves.
Another is Naomi Simson, a mother of two, she is founder and CEO of Red Balloon – an online experimental gift retailer, offering more than 2000 unique experiences ranging from extreme off road buggy thrills to chocolate tours, across Australia and New Zealand. Starting the business from home, Naomi’s online venture has achieved mammoth success. Since launching in 2001, Red Balloon has become a multi-million dollar business today.
Then, of course there is Shaw Tye, the inventor behind Sleepy Wings – an innovative infant slumber wear jacket. The mother of two designed the jacket, worn when a baby is due for sleep, helping little ones from overheating while safely wrapped, preventing them from startling and scratching their delicate skin.
This growing trend in ‘mumtrepreneurs’ or ‘mumpreneurs’, as they are called, is being fuelled by the amazing advancements in online learning, which is making it easier for first time parents, or any parent for that matter, to further their education and start doing something they always wanted to do.
Many parents take up an online learning course through a desire for a career change, but for some, online learning is an opportunity to study something completely outside of their daily life — for mothers that means taking a break from baby for 30 minutes while they sleep.
It gives your mind something to think about, it helps your see the future and even gives you a positive spring in your step — finally, you are taking the chance to do something for yourself, plus raising a child. Hey, you are pretty amazing.
As a result of this returning to study, you can start working from home, being your own boss and are able to balance family life. These are very attractive propositions for new mothers wanting to financially contribute to the household without giving up the kids. It’s a win, win.
There are huge benefits to online learning for parents because it breaks down the barriers that many people put between themselves and studying. It also helps overcome practical problems that can make studying for a degree a challenge, or simply impossible. Even if you’re living in the most remote of locations, you could still be studying for a degree.
Returning to study needn’t mean moving back in with your olds and living on two-minute noodles either. The online world means you can maintain family commitments and make the course fit around you. Often there’s no need to go into an actual campus.
Plus everyone is doing it. Seriously, everyone. A ninety-nine year-old grandmother made news for getting her business diploma 75 years after graduating. Study is no longer reserved for twenty-somethings. Whether you’re in your thirties or eighties, it’s never been more acceptable to go back to school. If your nan can do it, you can do it.
An added bonus is that continued study throughout your career has the potential to show your future boss you’re not one to get stuck in a rut. It shows you’re open to learning and growing your skills, which is an awesome asset.
There are hundreds of inspiration stories of mums who have dug a little deeper into their education to start their own business and turn it into a success, just take Jody Allen for instance. Who would have thought that six years ago a little Stay At Home Mum blog could have turned into a viral sensation.
It just goes to show that with heart, soul and a bit of elbow grease, that anyone can do it.