AN inspiring mum from Colne is hopeful that her success story will encourage others to follow their dreams.
Kayleigh James (24), who has just launched her own graphic design business Bit Graphic, wants to break the social stigma she feels is currently attached to working mums.
The Blackburn College graduate, who was previously a graphic designer and technician at Lostock Hall, gave birth to little Anabelle Barlow nine months ago.
While she has not received direct criticism herself, she feels that some parents are scared of putting their professional ideas into action, due to a general consensus that mums should stay at home with their young children.
But for Kayleigh, it was the very fact that she fell pregnant that motivated her to set up Bit Graphic at her home in Calder Street, with the help and support of her family and partner Scott Barlow (25). Bit Graphic specialises in designing logos and brands for new and existing businesses.
While she admits it has been hectic, Kayleigh is delighted that she is able to get the best of both worlds, and would encourage any mum with a blossoming idea to do the same.
The former Edge End High School pupil, who was awarded a loan from The Prince’s Trust to help her set up her business, said: “Nobody has said anything to me, but the basic idea is ‘Are you not a new mum? Is it not a bit soon?’
“My thought is, I fell pregnant, and if it hadn’t been for that, I might not be set up now.
“I was doing it for my little family. It is do-able.
“If you have got a lot of support it does really help. And if you have got an idea, see it through.
“Being self-employed has meant that I have still been able to see Anabelle so much, and I have not missed anything in the first nine months of her life.
“If you really want something, it is possible to work in the evenings, and be a mum during the day.
“I have a good feeling about it all. I am optimistic about the business.”
Having spoken to Kayleigh about the pressures of being a working mum, the Colne Times got in touch with www.workingmums.co.uk, a website dedicated to connecting mums with potential employers. They also feel that mums who work face harsh criticism, and believe that it is a stereotype that needs to be destroyed.
Editor Mandy Garner said: “Mums who work, particularly with young children, often come up against negative comments. For many there is no alternative and such attitudes are not helpful.
“There are many reasons mums work. One important one is that they might derive a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of their own identity from their job.
“Another is that women who take a career break often face tremendous problems returning to work years later and end up doing a job for which they are vastly overqualified.
“Research also shows that women who work are actually less likely to be depressed than those who stay at home. A mother’s happiness is a crucial part of how she parents.
“Being a parent is challenging whether you stay at home or return to work. Mums need support for the decisions they make rather than constant attempts to make them feel bad.”
Kayleigh is now hopeful of expanding her Bit Graphic clientele, and aims to have a permanent professional base in East Lancashire in the foreseeable future. See www.bitgraphic.co.uk for more information.