What issues do you face as a parent in business?

Ialso am wife to Paul Wilson and I own and run my own successful network cabling business, Precision Cabling Services, and in my spare time… hey who am I kidding?!?! Recently it has been the Easter holidays at school followed by the Royal Wedding and then May Day which has proved to be very costly to small business in a tough economic climate you can argue the benefit of the wedding; however I am not going to talk about that. During the school holidays my 6yo became sick and the doctors just said it was a bug and to wait it out and oh by the way the 2yo is likely to get it as well. Gee thanks Doctor. Well she wasn’t wrong but it has bounced around the house now since 20th April and still it lingers on. Now I got to thinking how difficult it is for an employer for a member of staff to be off sick with a child as there is no childcare available when one or all of your children are sick. As an employer I would find it hard to cope for someone to be in and out like a yoyo for a long period of time, but I’m the one who has done it. We all know that school/nursery won’t take sick children but I found grandparents run for the hills as well. So back to mum or dad. If you work in a large business the employee is not missed as much as they would be in a SME. But when there are only a 3-4 people in an office for 25-33% of the workforce to be out has a significant impact. I firmly believe that children are priority number 1; however, in my case the roof over our heads is paid for by the business which is still only young and building nicely. With all the bank holidays recently we have seen lots of projects put on hold until May. A small bonus of having my own business is that I get on really well with the boss, but I have members of my team who rely on me. The impact is not only felt in the office, but with the workload. With 25-33% less people working the workload is still the same, everyone feels the pressure. There are the deadlines to meet and usually that’s when the children need you most, appointments cancelled whilst I try to work remotely as and when possible and then be up during the night with children. There is no balance or routine as it can change in seconds when they are poorly. Then as a parent I felt that you should be caring for the children rather than working, but then I needed to get the work done. It was so different as an employee in a financial institution rather than business owner. When I was employee when you go home that’s it, but as a business owner you tend to be always thinking of the business, work to be done, projects and so on. But at the end of the day it’s the balance and routine that keeps you sane. Once you have the balance right you feel as if you are actually getting somewhere, but when the children are ill the balance goes. I have found the last few weeks a real struggle but as we seem to head towards health again (lots of wood touching here) I know the balance will return but this is one of the many challenges that face businesses and parents of today. Thankfully I have had the support of a good husband who has helped out too so that we can try and make the best of a bad situation. The support structure around a family is always important but around a business owner’s family it is even more vital to be on hand as it could be that without the business there is no family home.


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