How kids help your career

If I see the term “momtrepreneur” one more time I’ll kick something.

There is no word for 47-year old male executives with hospitalised fathers. They are busy too – caring and protecting while putting in the work hours.

– I’ve never once felt that being a woman has been a disadvantage, Jo Malone MBE told a small gathering I attended in Edinburgh last week. – But being a mother is, she added. – Even this morning – laying out the school uniforms and organising activities knowing I was flying to Scotland today.

Few entrepreneurs are as inspirational as Malone, who started her international brand-building career with few other things in her favour than a fine sense of smell and a formidable work ethic.

But I disagree with her sentiment. A 28-year old guy with an exciting new business might have to deal with his girlfriend’s bouts of depression. Middle-aged company owners often face the ill-health of their own parents. And what if life looks downright perfect – not a cloud on the horizon – a youngish woman with no dependants and an awesome boyfriend. An awesome boyfriend who dumps her cruelly just before her big presentation to an investor? It’s all just life. It’s all a consequence of having feelings.

Sure toddlers need their shoe-laces tied and school-leavers need their degrees funded. But they energise you too.

No woman should say: “I’ve got this great idea. I’ll just wait until my third kid has started school”. There is no perfect time to start a business. Get cracking.

Because you know those kids who take up so much of your time? Delve deep and you’ll notice that they actually work as proper motivation. You might be motivated to make serious money to help them in life. Or you might be motivated to build an exciting career to get out of toddler group hell.

Even more importantly, kids prop you up. Any business owner will say that their setbacks are very lonely moments. Reading rhymes with a 5-year old on your lap could see off your worries a lot more effectively than a visit to the pub.

Thirdly kids rejuvenate you. Of course they do. You try to learn their language, understand their loves and read their minds. They are the next generation. And they live under your roof. Focus groups don’t come cheaper than that.

Don’t ever say that kids held you back. Kids slow you down. But you hold yourself back.