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The reality of ‘mat leave’ and owning your own business - Elly Simmons


Elly Simmons, is the director of Herringbone Kitchens, a family run, progressive and exciting bespoke kitchen design and manufacturer based in Canterbury. She officially joined her husband William in 2016 to revamp the marketing strategy and make it the social media success it is today. Elly is a mother to 4-year-old Freddie two-week-old Finnley.


The reality of being a business owner and having a family can often be tricky business, especially when it comes to maternity leave - is there even such a thing as mat leave when you own your own business?!


Elly gave birth to her second baby just two weeks ago and is already back at working behind the scenes for the business she owns with her husband during nap times and the school run.


It is a far cry from her first maternity leave when she worked in women’s rights public sector and maternity reforms. This time around she cannot hand in her work phone and go fully into the baby bubble, here she shares the realities of what maternity leave looks like when your business is your third baby.


The first thing she talks about is changing your mindset and see it as a positive thing “With a standard maternity leave you’re able to take up to 12 months off in the UK and with Freddie, my first I added on holiday so had a lovely 13 months to get used to being a mum. That time I worked for the council in women’s rights however, now I own and run my own business it’s a whole new ball game and to be honest so is being a second time mum. I’ve felt more confident and genuinely feel ready to work behind the scenes. I see it as a positive opportunity to be fortunate to have cuddles, work from your phone and enjoy the moments that matter the most”.


As every parent will know with a baby arriving your whole routine is thrown up in the air however, it does settle down. “I’ve had to think about it as a new 9-5, so being able to work during nap times and in-between the school run works well most days. It's about getting used to the new normal and using time sufficiently to ensure that when the baby is awake full attention is given to him to avoid any guilt building up. I had super mum guilt with my first but learnt how to manage it, but with baby Finnley I’m learning to balance both.”


Parents and mums in particular are most definitely multitaskers and as Elly says “What can’t be done from a phone with one hand? The backbone of any business is often known as ‘behind the scenes’. Right now I am working on organising the team Christmas party, running the social media channels, working on the company’s marketing initiatives, launching two huge defining partnerships in just two months, edit next year’s brochures and ensure
payroll is on time.”


“It is a lot but I’m incredibly lucky that we have an understanding team. Herringbone Kitchens is a family run business so everyone is very understanding and considerate about the new arrival. A strong team who can pick up pieces and really pull through when needed is so important and a real asset to making this work.”