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'I set up my own business to get flexible hours'

"I returned to work five months after the twins were born. The boys went to a creche called Popcorn and I cannot compliment enough the wonderful care and kindness they received.

"At the time, I was a senior retail buyer and was travelling internationally. So it really helped that when I was overseas and thousands of miles from home, I knew that they were in the best possible environment and were being extremely well cared for.

"When they were due to start school, I decided to take a long hard look at my life and after months of soul searching, decided to give up my retail career even though I had a lifelong passion for it. For the next few months, I enjoyed spending uninterrupted quality time with the children.


"But once they settled into a routine at school the longing to work returned. However, I needed more flexibility. I needed to generate an income so I set up The Sweet Treat Company, which has become a successful business. Running your own company brings its own pressures, but, on the flipside, you are solely in charge of your daily schedule and I could adapt to the boys' routine.

"I cannot emphasise enough the importance of choosing childcare wisely. Working mothers need to avoid feeling guilty as children always pick up on these vibes. So, instead I think it is important for women to channel their energy into finding alternative employment or a change in career direction. That's what I did and it has worked for our family."

>Arlene Harris