Wednesday 13 November 2019

'I didn't want to work for someone else'

Mum-of-two Siobhan O'Neill (32) set up Panda Play café so other stay-at-home mums would have somewhere to meet up and let the kids play without fear of disapproving glances from other customers.

She says: "My situation is a little different to some other mumtrepreneurs in that my daughter Alanna (3) is in full time Montessori and my son Hugo (eight months) has a nanny three mornings a week.

"I've two Dublin Panda Play Cafés and I'm planning a third but setting up a new business means I've to be in there, overseeing, and can't work from home.

"My income barely pays for childcare, but it's an idea I believe in and want to run with it.

"I came up with it after living in London where there were lots of businesses that offered a play facility for babies, where mums could go.

"When I moved back to Ireland I thought there was an opportunity to open something similar.

"Since starting the business in January last year we've had over 50,000 visitors through our doors.

"It was during a 3am breastfeed that I realised, despite enjoying my work in archaeology, I didn't want to work for someone else again.

"I think it's a pity that men don't get the same opportunity to take a career break and reassess what they do."

Irish Independent

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