Since Step Up's inception two years ago, and now more than ever, as we launch the book and think ahead to our burgeoning business, there's always been one vital element in the mix: flexible working.
Both of us, Phanella with her coaching business, Alice with her work at Red magazine, and now together as we push forward with Step Up (and that's before we get on to our five amazing/crazy Step Up offspring, and sometimes overlooked husbands) we've had an unsaid agreement that our work must never rule us - that we both have the freedom and support from each other to do the school pick up if it's our turn, stand on the sidelines at sports days, and/or be present at whatever other family events life throws at us.
We know we're lucky in that sense - that we have careers that allow a good degree of flexibility. Even though we are, we shouldn't be a minority. All women deserve the right flexibly, which is why the amazing team behind Digital Mums have just gone public with their WorkThatWorks campaign.
Not only are they spearheaded change, they've also, in association with the Centre For Economics and Business Research, just this week released a body of research that includes some pretty unpalatable truths.
Here are some of the most shocking: 60 per cent of mothers with children under 18 years old do not have access to flexible work, the country is missing out on £62.5 billion per annum in wasted mum talent and that UK business, if it embraced flexible work, could benefit from a total of 66 million extra hours work per week in mobilised mum output.
After we've had a baby, many of us fixate on a perceived flexible holy grail: a three week. The truth is, with the rise of the Internet and other campaigns such as the government's Shared Parental Leave initiate, today flexible working has many different guises. If you are a mum and you're sitting at home wondering how you can make it all work, know these simple points:
1. If you want it, there is a flexible setup to suit you
2. It may take time to get there, but the WTW campaign, will drive change
3. Don't be disheartened - we've all been there. Being a working mother is hard, from whichever angle you approach things.
4. In 2014 the government introduced laws to allow everyone the legal right to request flexible working. Be brave. Be bold. Know that you deserve - and have the right - to work on your terms.