Ollie learns about the freelancing mums revolution

Ollie learns how mums are having the best of both worlds by being self-employed and looking after families – and is surprised to find that their numbers have grown significantly in only a few years…

Ollie tried to make more imaginative menu choices when his daughter Alice, armed with a small notebook and a red crayon, came to take his imaginary order in her imaginary restaurant.

He had spent almost 40 minutes entertaining the five-year-old in this way, and had now started to amuse himself by creating outrageous food combination as part of his order.

Sipping from an impossibly small cup, which was in any event empty, he said: “I’ll have lobster thermidor and chips with baked beans and chocolate ice cream,” he announced.

Alice looked at him and pursed her lips. “No chips,” she said. “You’ll get fat.”

“OK, just the beans then. And another cup of tea,” he said, and she trotted off to her imaginary kitchen to prepare the order.

Ollie turned to his wife Lizzie. “That’s all I need. A ban on non-existent chips from a judgemental café owner,” he said.

Lizzie frowned at him. “She’s not wrong though, is she?” she wanted to know. “And anyway, who knows how she might end up making a living. This could be the first in an international chain of restaurants.”

“Not if it won’t serve chips,” said Ollie glumly.

“The thing is, Ollie,” she said, “there’s a bit of a revolution going on. I’m part of it, and so might Alice be one day. Did you know that self-employed mums now account for one in seven of all self-employed people in the UK. Apparently, that’s getting on for 600,000 of us doing two jobs – looking after families AND earning a living at the same time; and it’s a number that’s doubled since 2008.”

“Where do you get all of this information?” her husband wanted to know.

“Because I read stuff. When you’re watching Aston Villa, or some other gang of overpaid young men, playing soccer on TV, I look into things that really matter.”
“Aston Villa matters,” he protested.

“Not to people who aren’t interested in soccer. Anyway, I read a report about from the Association of Independent Professionals & the Self Employed and Kingston University. That’s where I got the numbers from. More importantly, more than 40% of the highly-skilled and professional self-employed.

“Being self-employed on my blog generates a little income, and I still get to spend time with the family – and look after you. Including washing your Aston Villa team shirt. It’s liberating.”

“Washing a football shirt is liberating?”

“No, spending time at home and working for a living offers me the best of both worlds. That’s the liberating part, and I’m in charge; master of my own destiny! And my commute is much easier than yours.”

Ollie acknowledged that she was in charge, but only to himself. Alice returned carrying another tiny plastic cup. She held it out to him, announcing “Tea. Can’t do beans. Café’s closed.” With that she turned on her heel and skipped away to find something else to play with.

“She’ll not be self-employed long if that’s what she calls customer service,” said Ollie. “I was looking forward to those beans.”

Lizzie shook her head. “Enough. Go and see if she wants to play football. You could pretend to be Aston Villa. That would be a certain home win, playing against a five-year-old-girl…,” she winked.